December 19, 2022

From Gerald R. Lucas

Family Time

Man, it’s cold up here. I guess it could be worse, but I’m sitting in the hotel room in the lull between meals shivering. Aside from the cold, it’s a lovely day just north of Cincinnati. Tim and I took Mom to Skyline for lunch, then we opened some presents back at the house. We decided to take a few minutes downtime before meeting her and Gail at LaRosa’s for dinner.

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Oh course, Tim just brought up politics. He has an issue with Kamala Harris. As he sees it, “fucking” Joe Biden picked her solely because of her race and sex. Otherwise, she’s an idiot. That’s super rich coming from a ’rump supporter. I think he’s making stuff up, or parroting what he’s heard from his Fox “news” fools. In fact, he’s been making comments over the last couple of days about gay people, too, being out of the closet—how he believes they insist that “everyone has to know and support their sexuality.”

I think what it comes down to is that he’s a middle-aged white man that is threatened by other perspectives on life that he doesn’t share, can’t condone, or is threatened by. I really think it’s as simple as that. It’s a case of white privilege meets heteronormativity meets phallogocentrism. He said he liked how ’rump governed, and I asked for an example. He said the Supreme Court. “Seriously,” I asked? “Yes,” he replied; “I have no problem what anything they’ve done.” Me: “You wouldn’t because none of it effects you.”

And there’s the rub. He claims to support diversity as long as he controls it. Yet, he votes for people who seek to return us to the “good old days” when women were at home, gays were in the closet, and blacks lived in their own part of town. Live-and-let-live as long as they leave his shit alone. And what is his shit? Oh, just anything that enriches and empowers white men.

Maybe this is unfair, but trying to explain and discuss leads nowhere when we can’t even agree on reality. He says we’re both in our “echo chambers.” Maybe, but I think this might be a false equivalency. And on the day that the January 6th committee refers ’rump for four counts of criminal prosecution, Tim dismisses this saying, “anyone who thinks there was an insurrection or attempted coup doesn’t know what those words mean. So I looked up coup, because me no good with words: “a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics and especially the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.” Seem pretty accurate to me. Now, let’s do “insurrection”: “an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.” No? Man, knowing things is hard.

It might be a long drive tomorrow.

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After cooling off a bit, we both assumed a more sympathetic and understanding tone. I explained that these things should not get in the way of what’s important or our capacity to seek joy and connection. No one is happy these days, and while we could examine the reasons, what it seems to come down to is isolation and aggression about thangs we can’t even influence, really. Yes, we have to stay informed and engaged, but not let that interfere with our individual happiness and connections.

I offered as much to him, and he agreed. Not in so many words, but it seems as if he has been encouraged by those around him to pursue his own individual happiness, too. While we are far from the hugging reconciliation phase, I felt this was a pretty good step forward.