This morning my partner’s mom came to our room to ask me about something. She told me that my would-be brother-in-law just got an email that says the White House refused to let any ornaments on the tree that were Christian, but would allow ornaments with Muslim themes. Do the wingers not let up even on Christmas Day?
Here’s a little background: My partner’s family is primarily made up of wingers, and I don’t mean the moderate sort either. These people are real racist, anti-semetic, homophobic, hardcore, Rush Limbaugh listening, FOX News watching, tea bagger apologists. I’d like to point out that there are a small handful who are not, but for the most part they are the very people I have derided on many a blog site. Needless to say, when we’re all under the same roof for the holidays things can get tense.
Dwayne, one of my sweetie’s older brothers, is especially bad about these things. Dwayne has never been to college, works two jobs, doesn’t watch the news unless it’s FOX, gets nearly all of his opinions from Rush Limbaugh everyday, and literally lives in his parent’s basemen. Yet, he will naturally speak out against unions and health care reform. On Mother’s Day his words caused me to drop a hot pan when I was in the kitchen. He asked, “what’s next? The government’s gonna take care of our pets?”
He knows well what kind of person I am, and we have exchanged words to be sure. Usually he storms off, but when he gets going and starts losing an argument he defaults to making personal comments. He and I don’t even speak to each other if it can be avoided.
My partner’s mother is a nice woman. Jan is hardworking, disciplined, and very outspoken. She was brought up to vote Democrat in fact. Although, her politics would put her to the right of me. However, I did convince her to vote for Obama in 2008. We live in Kansas, and thus that one vote wasn’t in a swing state. Yet, I am a firm believer that voting is the responsible thing to do no matter where you are.
Well her mom was in the other room talking to Dwayne. It was noisy given the way Dwayne likes to raise his voice in anger about this or that. My sweetie was sleeping in so I closed the door and stayed in our room until she was ready to get up.
I heard a soft tap on the door. I opened it a bit. In a soft whispering noise the woman I call “mom” despite not being my mother-in-law in the legal sense asked me if I knew about an email Dwayne was talking about. In a quiet moment of explanation I felt all the joy of the season leave me for a brief moment.
I brought her over to my computer and showed her where this has been debunked. I even showed her the White House tree. I noted that there was a Christmas party, and one would think if there were Muslim ornaments upon the tree all those reporters would have seen it. I even showed her the ornaments that were sent out to be decorated that had been shown in closeups of the tree. Her response is one I’ve become used to hearing. “I didn’t think it was true, but I just had to ask. Would you print that out so I can hang it on our fridge? I just want to be able to show it’s not true.”
She went back out into the living room and told Dwayne what she had been shown. He then began with something else. This time something that strikes an even stronger chord with me. “Black people are the only ones who bitch. There was no black man that gave presents to kids. There was no black man who ever did that for anybody. The Arabs don’t bitch. The orientals don’t bitch! The Hispanics don’t bitch! It’s just the black people that bitch!” That sent a fire of anger through my body. Years ago I vowed that I would never remain silent in the face of prejudice, and I’ll hold to that vow even on Christmas Day. I stormed out in my robe ready for the battle.
Now that the moment is over I’m left with my thoughts about what just happened. I’m left wondering how this could even occur. How can someone be so angry against President Obama and against African-Americans that he can’t let go of his hate even today? How can someone be so racially insensitive and ignorant that they can’t even restrain themselves from using words that have long since been looked upon as rude on a day when children are unwrapping presents and experiencing the magical wonder of this day? How can someone be so filled with right wing fury that he can’t even show a little respect for the fact that his lesbian sister and her lover are sleeping in the next room?