My mom and I have always been best friends. But best friends are supposed to talk about everything. And for the majority of the time we’ve been mother/daughter, I’ve felt like (minus a few personal topics) this has largely been the case with us.
But that’s changed since the 2016 election. Where I see a grotesque and perverse shift in American politics, my mom sees… something else. I’m not even able to correctly, or fairly, say what it is she sees instead, because we can’t talk about any of it.
And it’s breaking my heart.
I am one of those people who probably reads the news too much, listens to NPR too frequently… I’m writing my senators, calling congress, and creating protest art for theatremakers. I’m engaged, and I work at educating myself on topics. I’m not merely reactive. I read a variety of established news sources.
I don’t listen to Fox news.
And I’m devastated at American’s growing inability to communicate with friends, family, and neighbors... I’m devastated that I’m one of the many who can’t have a deep conversation with my own parents, because all of the issues are so polarizing and always seem to crack apart along party lines.
I’m heartbroken that I can’t talk about the things that are so important and vital to our nation with my own family, and it roils my mind because it feels like I should at least be able to reconcile some of my bafflement with the GOP by finding ways to communicate with my Republican parents, right?
But I can’t.
Because we can’t agree on Trump’s grotesqueness. We don’t seem to agree that the planet is in danger of being cooked and that this inherent climate danger jeopardizes the lives of their grandchildren. We don’t see eye to eye on the fact that basic human decency has been abandoned by the GOP for the sake of “Winning at all costs!” and that this threatens our ability to function as a nation…
So we don’t talk about any of it.
And we don’t talk about much else either.
Because I can’t push past my incredulity that they continue to support the Republican party, even though the GOP they grew up with is dead and gone and replaced by a faction of self-serving sycophants who worship the almighty dollar above all else…
Anger won’t help bridge this gap.
But I am angry. I am hurt. I am mystified.
And I can’t reconcile the mother who raised me, the mother I used to talk to about everything for hours on end, with all that the GOP has come to stand for.
So our conversations are short. Light. Safe.
And inside I’m in turmoil, trying to understand how I can see such a totally different world from the one my parents — the people who “made” me — see. Trying to understand how we can share these contrasting world-views in the same time and space, and hoping above all else, that at some point we will once again see clearly together.
Because, my GOD, if we can’t? Nothing is ever going to get better.