This blog entry is a bit of a departure for me, but it was prompted by two things: an on-going conversation in the early morning hours with a cousin and a conversation this morning with a friend. Both conversations were about family as it relates to Trump, who seems to consume a lot of the conversation these days.
Both of my siblings and a number of their extended family members have broken ties with me. They say it’s because I’ve chosen politics over family, but that’s not accurate. Not at all. They were George Bush supporters, and we all got along just fine. They believed (probably still do) that Barack Obama is the Antichrist, but it didn’t come up very often, and we all got along just fine. However, the election of Trump started a whole new ballgame and new conversations; they believe, incredibly enough, that Trump has been chosen by God to lead our country just as Franklin Graham (my personal choice for Antichrist) believes, while I believe that Trump is worse than stuff I might scrape off the bottom of my shoe. These family members are ‘religious’ and talk about angels and the afterlife and letting Jesus take the wheel, while I talk about my belief that Jesus just wouldn’t drive us down the road we’re currently going and with a miserable excuse for a human like Trump anywhere in the vehicle. My Jesus would rather crash the heavenly Volvo than purposely put us in this position.
I take serious issue with people who support Trump’s policies and his politics; I have a much more serious issue with people who claim to be God-fearing holier-than-thou Christians who support Trump’s policies and call it God’s will. I firmly believe these people, including the afore mentioned family members, are full of something, and it most certainly isn’t the Holy Spirit. I know that an awful lot of families have gone through this unfortunate experience, which, one would think, would send a message right there that the evils being perpetrated by this administration are unprecedented and very, very wrong. And, of course, very decidedly unChristian.
This brings me to a different group of family members, my two daughters and their families. My girls are both married with families of their own. If I could choose two men as sons, I would have chosen the two my daughters married. My daughters are both liberal minded, but that’s not all that makes them simpatico with their mom. They are both open to the discussion and tend to keep a much more open mind than I. I told my friend this morning that we taught our daughters to love everybody. Immediately I saw the Pollyanna in that statement and the fallacy; we actually taught them to stay open minded about people, and we let them choose their friends and make their own judgments. Whom they love is their business and only theirs, and the reality is that not everyone is lovable. We tried to set examples without consciously trying to set examples (if that makes sense). Our friends have always included multi ethnic, multi race, and multi gender identity individuals. I don’t think it’s an accident that their friends are also diverse in these ways. At least, I’d like to think we helped lead the way in that area. Both daughters have very big places in their hearts for the fragile, the underdogs, and those people that might not be generally accepted by everyone else. I call them quiet activists; while I go out and march and blog and just generally make noise, they make a difference quietly, one person at a time. Neither daughter suffers fools gladly, but they both have way more patience than their mom, and that serves them well. They have both tried to maintain contact with relatives with whom I no longer communicate because they value family and have an ability that I don’t to see their family members as multi-sided, an ability I no longer have. And I approve of that and admire them both so much. That’s not to say that they condone any of the beliefs they hear expressed, but they can get past at least some of it and try to work their quiet magic through social media and other outlets.
Both girls, young women of course, support their mom ferociously, and I’ve never doubted that, nor will I ever have cause to doubt it. They both approve of my activism, even seem proud of it, When I marched in Washington, I felt them there with me, as I have felt them with me on the many marches since then. Ashley attended a gay pride parade, something she feels very strongly about, with friends, and Katie, home with a sick little one at the time, encouraged my eleven-year-old granddaughter and son-in-law to march in the latest women’s march, even making our shirts so we could be loud and proud in writing as well as in voice. But they’re both still very quiet and measured about it, and I swear that’s their super power. And it’s an awesome power.
So in the Time of Trump, they have both helped to keep me sane by exhibiting a calm I can’t pull off. I’m not sure I ever could, even in pre-Trump times. The three of us share our displeasure, often horror, at the atrocities that Trump and his administration have perpetrated against the environment, the sick, the middle class, women, our rapidly declining reputation on the world stage, etc., and now, of course, the mistreatment and abuse of immigrants and their children. And the three of us will do what we can to address all of it in the attempt to make it better. My daughters will do it more quietly than their angry and noisy mother ever could. And I couldn’t be prouder of them both.
Other commentaries by Gail Barth:Gross Stupidity
Gospel of Trump
Dear Donald Trump and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens
Sing-Along with Donald Trump
What is Wrong with America...