Dear Tania: Letter #1
I am 27 year old gay man living in New York. As a passionate supporter
of Obama, I feel compelled to plead with my
pseudo-conservative/senior-citizen parents to support him as well.
(They are supposedly independent but voted for Bush and not too
confident about Obama) Considering all of the obvious issues, like,
uh, the war, foreign policy, the future of their children, global
warming, gay rights...etc. I think it would be irresponsible and
insulting for them to support John McCain. However, I don't know how
to go about this discussion or potential confrontation without getting
emotional and/or pointing out that they are old and should not be so
ignorant of the world's existence after they are gone. I am a younger
voter and new to politics. Isn't this one of those issues that can
divide a family? But is this point in time too pivotal to overlook
such a critical decision?
Obama Drama Queen
When Bush won the last election, I blubbered-and-snotted all the way to Richard's Five & Dime and bought myself a W punching bag and enough "A Village in Texas is Missing its Idiot" buttons to last me and 50 of my closest friends four years. I put the punching bag in my office, where its assassination commenced and was accomplished by lunchtime.
Big whoop. It was like (Jack, are you listening?) blowing off Algebra II and sleeping through the SAT, then crying because you have to go to Chattahoochee Tech. I'll keep thinking of a better analogy, but this one will have to do for now.
I drove home that day, ashamed of myself for my silence during the election. What had I done, besides merely cast my vote, to try to prevent this disaster? I'd never discussed politics with my friends and family, because I'm lazy and didn't want to cause a row. I'd purposely kept the subject out of my classroom, because I didn't want to be accused of using what little influence I might have inappropriately. I had taken the path of least resistance, rendered myself impotent.
I promised the steering wheel I'd do better next time.
I won't pretend I write big checks to the Democratic Party or volunteer to stuff envelopes or bake cookies, but I do make my own position clear when I have an opportunity. I try to do it respectfully and with the attitude that everyone is entitled to disagree. I do it hoping that by simply opening up the conversation rather than shutting it down--by allowing an exchange of ideas--someone might walk away from the conversation slightly changed or willing to entertain another opinion. Sometimes I'm the one entertaining it, and I'm forced to look further to make or break my own argument.
Don't be afraid of the drama, Queen! Tell your parents why and how you'd feel insulted. Make it personal. It could make a difference. Or maybe not. Get emotional. Remind them that they're old. They like to deny this. Let them cry or rant right back. And if they still vow to vote for McCain, love them anyway, and let them know you expect the same from them.
Then sit down and eat some chicken together.