I have this uncle. I must admit, I love this man dearly, though it pains me often to admit this.
He does have good qualities, such as a quick and easy laugh, a passion for raunchy jokes, an abiding love for the film, "The Jerk." He also loves me very much, and my husband and kids. He can be one of the most fun people in the world.
Jim has a dark side though. He makes Archie Bunker sound like a bleeding heart liberal and lover of all humanity. I write this just to vent a little, and to invite you to share your stories of people you love despite their horrible intolerance and bigotry.
I remember in 1991 calling my uncle just to say hi after work one day at the New Mexico legislature. Obviously I knew he was a republican, he knew I was a democrat, but we had never really engaged in a political discussion before because I think he just didn't take me seriously. At the time I was 22, and he probably regarded me as just a kid. He said, "Hey Carebear, you need to listen to this guy on the radio, Rush Limbaugh. Have you ever heard of him?" I told him no, I preferred to listen to Led Zepplin. Well he said, "You have to start listening to this guy, he makes SO much sense. I guarantee that after a week you will be a conservative." I laughed and told him not likely.
Well I listened the next day for about five minutes before deciding, like so many of us on the left, that Rush Limbaugh was a filthy, racist, sexist piece of shit, and I wasn't going to waste my time. I called Jim, and said, "What is the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg?" and he asked what...and I said, "One is a flaming Nazi gasbag, and the other is a dirigible."
Well over the years, fanned by the crazy neocon movement and hatred of the Clinton family, my uncle just got worse and worse. My husband and I relocated 1000 miles away, so we were absent for much of the decline of his humanity, but moved back a year and a half ago. He has gone from just being a flaming Nazi gasbag cheerleader to genuinely disliking everyone not WASP male.
Yesterday he picked me up from work, and it had been a very long, hard day. I was exhausted after my 12 hour shift in the NICU, and hadn't even had a break. He asked me how many of the babies we were taking care of are illegal aliens. I told him, "None of them. All children born in the United States are citizens of the United States." He said, "Well that is just wrong. We have got to stop this business of people coming over here just to deliver their babies. Did you know that more people are killed in the US every day by illegal Mexicans than have ever been killed in Iraq?"
I wanted to jump from the moving car.
No, I had not heard that statistic. Nor did I buy it. "Oh yes, every day 75 Americans are killed by illegal immigrant drunk drivers!"
"How many are killed by American drunk drivers?" I asked.
"Well that isn't the point. We have to stop those criminals from sneaking over here and taking our jobs and our social security and medicaid and using our social services."
Needless to say the conversation was taking a downward turn. I was headed for my grandmother's house, because on weekends when I work I stay with her at night and take care of her. It was a 2 mile drive, and I was really hoping for a stoplight so I could abandon ship.
He started in on people from India next, and his neurologist being from India and having to try to understand him, and don't you hate that when you call for computer help and you can't even understand the guy...as we pulled up to Grandma's I told him good night and fled the car, grateful for the silence, cold, fresh air (he smokes in the car) and absence of hate.
So Kossacks, anyone want to share? I will be here engaging and commenting, though I may be a bit hit or miss, I am at work and we are in rounds...