On Politics, On Heartbreak

Originally posted on my personal Facebook page.

It breaks my heart to see my loved ones absorb all the hate and vitriol spewed on political television networks, where the pundits yell and call people names, all the while blindly praising the decisions of leadership, just because they have a different opinion. My only experience with this hate machine is from seeing my mother endlessly absorb Fox News day in-day out. I can only assume that far-left political media is the same.

She won’t listen to opposing viewpoints. She tells me to “Shut up” whenever I question what it is she’s preaching “the gospel of Sean Hannity.” I can hear him screaming on TV from my bedroom. She excitedly repeats this stuff on the phone with people. I’ll admit, overhearing this has made me break down and cry sometimes.

This is the main reason I refuse to talk about politics with anyone. Not because I’m one of those “disgusting liberals” or “conservative hypocrites,” but because what amounts to basically thinly veiled hate speech has torn me apart so terribly, I’ve grown to associate politics with emotional pain.

My mom used to be so wonderful – she’d equally laugh at dumb political jokes, she was friends with democrats – hell, she even went to a few local BBQ’s put on by the town’s democrats – she’d be more willing to see other opinions. But not anymore. I don’t know who she is anymore and I hate that people are encouraging this behavior.

I miss my mom. I miss how she used to be, so happy and willing to see new things. I miss introducing her to new books or movies; now all she consumes is conservative media.

I miss my other family members who also insist on absorbing hate like a sponge. I don’t feel I can talk to anyone in my family much anymore without the terrible memories I associate with politics. It hurts, to be honest.

People ask me why I’m not close with my extended family anymore and I’m embarrassed to tell them why because it makes me so sad, so I usually make something up, like “They live elsewhere and are probably busy” or usually, “I’m just not.”

Today, in an effort to get her away from all this political poison, I tried to introduce my mom to John Krasinski’s YouTube show, “Some Good News,” which reports on clips of positive things happening right now, which is something everyone needs.

Everything was fine until in Episode 2, Robert Di Niro made a cameo to report on the weather. It was just a lighthearted, comedic clip where he was on screen for about 5 seconds, standing outside and looking around, just to say “It looks pretty good.” Five words was all it took for my mom to start huffing and puffing about how he’s a “senile, old windbag.” Robert Di Niro is an outspoken democrat.

A few short years ago, one of Mom’s favorite movies was “Analyze This,” (which starred Di Niro and Billy Crystal.) I was so speechless to see that she’d turn so sharply on an actor she used to like, simply because of his personal political affiliation, I just retreated to my bedroom and only left when she wasn’t home or was asleep.

I’m publishing this openly, knowing that there are family members who will maybe read it and likely tell her and I’ll probably get yelled at.My mom won’t understand why she makes me so sad or make an effort to change. She’ll just accuse me of being a democrat, when I refuse to affiliate with either party.

I think that’s what hurts the most.