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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 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...

Originally posted to liberaltruthsayer on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 08:51 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips? Grouses??? (11+ / 0-)

    Subvert the dominant paradigm... visit me at

    by liberaltruthsayer on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 08:46:38 AM PST

    •  Wow, that's a tough ride LTS. It probably (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, BenGoshi, casperr, Topaz7

      won't change much, but why don't you send your uncle more info about Oxycontin boy and his 'vacations'?

    •  My favorite conservative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is a friend of my son's. A few years back, when he was in college, he came out to stay with us for a couple weeks, and I just fell in love with him. I viewed him as a charming young throwback to the fifties, with a rather dry and sarcastic sense of humor. We went for coffee, we played chess, we discussed metaphysical issues. We went camping, and whenever I go camping (which I really enjoy, I swear!) I always think of what I'd do if someone fell off a cliff or was knocked into the ocean by a rogue wave, or a bear attacked, etc. And I remember thinking that I would be torn over who to try to save, this young man or my own son. I loved him as much as my own son. The two of us argued very loudly over Clinton, and over foreign policy and domestic social spending. Most of his issues were centered on taxes and welfare; he didn't care at all about religion or sex or abortion.
      There were some shining moments: taking him on a Celtic Traditionalist cultural retreat and him carving his own staff from a fallen branch and loosening up a little, his eventual move from Texas to California and his giving up his urban cowboy look and even starting to say things like "Dude" and "Hella" that he had been mocking my sons saying for years.
      As time has gone by I rarely see him any longer. I ran into him unexpectedly at an SCA event a couple years ago, and was quite pleased that he maintained the interest in Celtic mythology and people who like to don Iron Age apparel and hang out together. He is living with a nurse now, the same one that took him to the SCA event, and I like to think that since I'm a nurse who taught him everything he knows about bronze and Iron Age Celtic culture and mythology, I did have an influence on him.
      The last time I saw him was last April. He came to my son's birthday party at a local restaurant, and very uncharacteristically he kept quiet when politics came up. I watched him closely, as nearly every person there ranted about Bush and Iraq and Katrina. He looked very sad, but he didn't say a word in Bush's defense. And for a proud Texas conservative, that was pretty telling.

  •  WASPS (5+ / 0-)

    Too bad the Native Americans didn't have an immigration quota for all those pesky Europeans. The joys of a brain unaddled by thought.

    "And tell me how does god choose whose prayers does he refuse?" Tom Waits

    by madaprn on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 08:56:32 AM PST

  •  And this is what India says to *him* -- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madaprn, Topaz7


    I had actually posted this on Al Roger's Diary, too.  And, yes, I took that pic, last May, in a town (sheesh, I forget which, now) between Mysore and Bangalore.


    We're working on many levels here. Ken Kesey

    by BenGoshi on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 09:12:13 AM PST

  •  He is Living in His Own Reality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, casperr

    I doubt that facts will cause him to change. Stick to your own beliefs and don't expect to ever convince him of anything. Better that you remain friends. I am sure he respects you, and that, in itself is the only way you can ever hope to see him change.

    This President is in a league of his own. The BUSH league!

    by Tuba Les on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 09:18:41 AM PST

  •  I've been noticing that the meme (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cecrops Tangaroa

    "illegal aliens are coming over here and raping and killing our families" is getting a lot of play these days. I've been hearing guests on various Cable shows say this, often using something very close to this exact phrase. I don't know who is pushing it, though perhaps it's our friend Rush. It's sickeining.

    I don't know how to deal with people like your uncle. I love to hear about people challenging them, repeatedly, fighting to prove them wrong. I just can't do it--certainly not with the people I love. Sometimes I'm able to interject just one solid, convincing fact that gets through. That's the best I hope for in those situations.

    •  I don't bother with social conservatives (3+ / 0-)

      but I will genuinely try to discuss things with libertarian conservatives like my young friend above. Someone made a really good comment on a local radio show last week: Conservatives can change and adopt more progressive views, but usually only when something has happened to personally affect them (like Nancy Reagan and Michael J.Fox.). Liberals don't have to be personally affected by events; they innately care about other people, the environment, and future generations.

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