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I recently received a comment from my only sibling, to a FB post I had made. It was a repost of a graphic my daughter had posted, and I added the comment that it should be simple enough for even a Republican to understand...
So my brother responds and asks why I keep slamming him, and I replied that I was not targeting him in particular, and he replied that it sounded like a slam and since he's a Republican I must have been slamming him, and I said that given the facts, and 30-odd years of evidence of the utter failure of Republican policies, I thought they deserved to get slammed, and that I was NOT targeting him, since I had no idea he could see my posts.

My brother won't "friend" me on FB because of our, or should I say, MY, politics.

Please follow me below the curry-colored curly-kos if you'd like to read on.

My brother is 10 years older than I. He was my hero growing up, and through the early years of my adulthood, we were very close. He had married the proverbial girl next door, whom I had known all my life and who was now the big sister I never had. Loved him, loved her, her family, all was good. We lived close to each other for a few years, babysat each others' kids, and missed each other when that was no longer the case. We had our political differences, but they didn't become a problem until about 1980, and the annointment of St. Ronnie of Ray-Gun.

I was horrified at the rise of the "Moral Majority" and the insidiously successful Republican plan of taking over politics from the local level on up, and at the rank hypocrisy we started to see from the right, which seems to have increased exponentially since then, and I would hardly have thought that to be within the realm of possibility. I thought we had hit rock bottom THEN, with the election of the divorced non-churchgoing former union president from HollywoodLiberalLand (how the Christian "right" managed to swallow that one still...OH yeah. He flip-flopped on abortion.)

At about that time, my brother was graduating from college, which he had started after his 8 years in the military. Also graduating was my SIL, who had not completed her degree earlier, having left college after her freshman year to become a military wife, and later, mom.

She has a degree in elementary ed; my brother, of course: business.
Time to make the money.

Next few years for him were an endless quest for money money money money. Airmen fresh out of basic training didn't (and probably still don't) make a lot of money. He stressed about providing for his wife, and later, the kids. As a kid/teen, he had always been envious of those who "lived better" than our family, even though we were very comfortable, with everything we needed and much of what we wanted. He always wanted MORE. Now that he was out of school, degree and 8 years of good, successful military experience behind him, he was ready to seek financial security, and he sought it with a vengeance. Got a good job. Worked hard. Got an MBA and got a better job, and then the one he stayed at until he retired recently. Mega money.

It's not enough. He's on anti-anxiety meds, as is his second wife (his former secretary, natch, many years his junior). The condo at the beach, the McMansion on the lakefront property, the pool, the 14 cars, the cruises and the Hawaiian vacations and the jewelry and the toys...not nearly enough, apparently, to be at PEACE...( and please don't misunderstand, I know there are so many who suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., and for whom medication and other treatment are essential...I am not in any way trying to minimize their struggles, nor to say that those medications are bad or crutches or anything of the kind, OK?) It just seems odd to me that neither of them seemed to need anything like that until they were pretty solidly successful, and at about the same time, and that it's almost like their stress is related to the success/money: fear of losing it? lust for more? not sure.

Corporate welfare? Good. Health care? Creates a dependant society. Military spending? Good. Social Security? Entitlement mentality. Obscene C-suite pay? Really good thing, and they're worth that much because someone is willing to pay them that much.

And so, since the 80s, at which time I thought we had hit the bottom, we've suffered through GWBush, and Chimpy the Unelected Imbecile twice, and the Republicans have gotten more and more extreme and radical and insane and hateful and deceitful and evil, and he's supported the rightwingnuts through it all.

And through all that, he's seen me get laid off twice; my husband once. He's watched us come close to losing everything, when my husband got hit with a near-fatal illness and we were a week away from being eligible for insurance coverage (I had finally found a job, paid a whole $9/hour, which was only $9/hour less than I HAD been making before my job had been outsourced to cheap foreign labor! Yay! [Cheap foreign labor? Good.]) $130,000 of medical bills. (National Health Care? Bad.) Husband was unable to work for a year and nine days. His job was seasonal temp: no bennies, no unemployment, no STD, no LTD...nothing. No income for a year and nine days. I counted every fucking hour, and ground my teeth to near nothing in that year and nine days. Blood pressure through the roof.

He's seen the struggle to maintain the vehicles so we can keep our jobs. He's seen us go without heat so we could pay to have a new pump put in the well (couldn't afford both...) He's seen us go without heat when the furnace died in the middle of the coldest January on record, and we couldn't get financing for a new one, and had to go without prescriptions and cancel planned dental work and borrow money here and there from kind friends to get a damn furnace. He's seen me suffer with migraines because my insurance wants me to pay the difference between the generic and the name brand, and the generic doesn't work for me, and that difference in cost is half the amount of my mortgage every month (on a home that is worth less now than it was when we bought it).

Naturally, he fully embraces the Republican, "pro business" economic policies that brought our economy crashing down. He whines constantly about his taxes, and doesn't seem to have any real appreciation for what he has LEFT: it is not enough.

He acknowledges no connection between the policies he supports and the resultant suffering of so many in this country, including me and my family.

He HAS acknowledged that tax breaks for the wealthy do not create jobs; he's not stupid and he does understand supply and demand and all that... which makes me ask the same old, same old question: if he's smart enough to know the facts, and still supports the liars anyway because he benefits, does that make him evil, or insane? Or brainwashed? What other options are there??

All I know is that he's my big brother, and I love him, and I miss the close relationship we once had. But I despise everything he stands for and supports and believes in, and he will NOT have a conversation without bringing up HIS politics, and denigrating mine.

sigh

Thanks for sticking with me through this long ramble...

Originally posted to GammaRae on Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm sorry GammaRae. Family can be (13+ / 0-)

    heartbreaking.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:43:47 PM PDT

  •  Maybe forgive him? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GammaRae, Quequeg, radarlady, raster44

    for not being the brother you wanted? Accept him as he is.
    Do you want to have an enjoyable relationship with your brother or do you want to convince him youre right? be right? That choice is up to you.
    To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld you don't go to Christmas dinner with the family you want but the family you have.
    I have one really good friend who's Republican, we have an agreement not to talk politics. Other than that we enjoy each other's company

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Thu May 24, 2012 at 10:52:57 PM PDT

    •  I would be happy to have that agreement (11+ / 0-)

      He will not abide by it. Politics aside, as I said, I love him, and I am not trying to convince him I'm right...useless, anyway, I think.
      If he'd leave it alone, we'd be OK. But he pushes others' buttons, not just mine, in just about every conversation he has.
      He uses any excuse to denigrate those of other ethnic or racial groups. He belittles those who don't make as much money as he does, sometimes to their faces, and he thinks it's amusing. He puts others down constantly for their political beliefs, and he'll ask what those are, so if they differ from his, HE can try to convince YOU that HE'S right. Counter him with a different opinion, or heaven forbid, facts, and he gets defensive and belligerant.

      Belligerent??

      I never know with the - ents/-ants

      Thanks for listening

      Don't use Jesus as an excuse to be a narrow-minded, greedy, bigoted asshole.

      by GammaRae on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:13:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually you don't have to go to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DvCM, Audri, GammaRae

      Christmas dinner with the family you have.  We stopped doing that 7 years ago. You can invite the people you've chosen to be family instead. It's usually better for your mental health and your stomach lining.

      And the problem is that generally while the liberal can manage not to bring up politics, the right-wingers will agree to it, but will still make ghastly remarks about all the people they disapprove of.  Their politics colors their worldview so completely that I am surprised they don't stand up in church at Christmas services and protest the wise men bringing gold to Jesus because it's obviously welfare.

      That's how it is with my husband's family. They're fundy Christian Republicans. We're Wiccan liberals. We don't attack Christianity  but they feel it's okay to make fun of non-Christians.

      Sometimes it is better to accept reality and maintain your distance.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri May 25, 2012 at 10:46:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For sometime now (10+ / 0-)

    I have been wanting to write a Diary that I would probably call "Families, and How to Survive Them", to steal an excellent Title from John Cleese.

    I am somewhere to the Left of Karl Marx yet my newish American family are Southern Baptists, and very active in their Churches. Most of them get migraines at even the thought that a Democrat might be on the Ballot.

    Yet we co-exist, happily. We enjoy each others company and do seem to have genuine respect for our different approaches to life.

    We do have to continue the work we do, but we really can't do it with our families, except in tiny bite-size pieces. Maybe the example we set, one that confounds their view of the world is enough.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:11:12 PM PDT

  •  Too bad he has to keep bringing up his politics. (7+ / 0-)

    My aunt and her husband are super conservative, but the rest of my extended family are moderate to very liberal.  

    I recall during an emotional period of the Bush years, we got together for some holiday and we got into a huge argument.   So, we just don't talk about politics anymore, and everyone gets along great.

    It's funny how politics can divide people who otherwise get along well.   I think part of it is the tendency to see people who disagree with us as though there must be something wrong with them.   I wrote about that here:  Dumb, Nuts, or Mean.

    Congratulations on a new way of referring to whatever that thing is called:

    curry-colored curly-kos
    Wee Mama has a funny diary about that:
    So, what do you call . . . [POLL] (Update)



    Reasonable people can find a reason for anything. - paraphrasing Ben Franklin

    by Quequeg on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:20:22 PM PDT

  •  Does he deserve your affection? (12+ / 0-)

    I don't have any more to spare, but I'd go without food before I let my sister go without heat in the winter.

    •  There have been times in the past when he's (7+ / 0-)

      been extremely generous, with me and my family and my kids, and I know he and his wife have helped a family member of hers who was struggling, and a terminally ill friend, from whom he bought some collector cars for more than they were really worth, just to help the guy out...I think he thinks that my politics somehow reflect envy of his money, and although SOME additional financial security in my life would be nice *lol*that is not it at all, I've never dreamed of wealth, just...some security...not having an unexpected event worse than a couple hundred bucks spelling near-disaster...ya know? And I have not expected that to be handed to me, I've worked just as hard as he has, just not in as lucrative a field...maybe he has changed toward me because he takes it personally, which I think might be projection, since he engages in personal attacks on others all the time...how's that for armchair psychobable?

      Don't use Jesus as an excuse to be a narrow-minded, greedy, bigoted asshole.

      by GammaRae on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:41:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And I think like many rightwingers he thinks (5+ / 0-)

      somehow that would be "enabling" and discourage me from working to achieve whatever...he just does not seem to remember what it was like when he was in that kind of situation himself, he's worked so hard to put that behind him and have a different kind of life that he doesn't really register that all too many people struggle just ad he use to...he got his, they can go get theirs kind of thing...

      Don't use Jesus as an excuse to be a narrow-minded, greedy, bigoted asshole.

      by GammaRae on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:47:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republished to Personal StoryTellers (6+ / 0-)

    and Tagged.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Fri May 25, 2012 at 12:06:10 AM PDT

  •  I come from a family of ultra-libs (8+ / 0-)

    My brother and I are the most conservative of the bunch.  We have a Republican brother-in-law who long ago learned to stfu unless he wants 15 intelligent, passionate liberals giving him an ideological beat-down.

    My old man has been pro-union for as long as I can remember.  My stepmom is a retired social worker and is the local liberal crank who pens a steady stream of letters-to-the-editor of the local paper (damn, I love watching her talk politics with my bro-in-law!).  My sisters are all pro-humanity.

    My brother-in-law is wise enough to know that ruffling family feathers is the short road to the marital dog house.  Nice guy.  Smart, too.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Fri May 25, 2012 at 12:38:37 AM PDT

  •  I have many of the same issues (4+ / 0-)

    in my own house. Last time I went home, I was confronted with a strange brew of 9/11 truther garbage, oddly conservative views, Rush (on Sandra Fluke: "He was just fixated") and was asked to watch a Michael Tsarion "documentary".

    It gives a lovely light.

    by CayceP on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:59:51 AM PDT

  •  Sometimes you just can't get along. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GammaRae, Quequeg, OldDragon, DvCM

    Sometimes, much as you'd like to be close, the fact remains that he does not respect you.  (It doesn't sound like he respects himself, judging from his callous treatment of other people and his projecting his biases onto others.)  

    It's his problem, not yours.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Fri May 25, 2012 at 07:48:37 AM PDT

    •  The only part that's my problem is how do I (0+ / 0-)

      deal with the loss of what was a close and loving relationship with the only sibling I have...

      I do have a couple of biosibs on my birthmother's side, and communicate with one via FB, but we've never met, never new each other existed until a few years ago, no contact with the other one, but that's fine.

      Trying to count my blessings, which include dear friends, a job I love, a home, and all you cool kossacks here!

      Don't use Jesus as an excuse to be a narrow-minded, greedy, bigoted asshole.

      by GammaRae on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:15:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of my brothers put a continent between himself (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, GammaRae

    and the rest of the family soon after college.  It was the only way he could survive.  (I was already long gone from the family hearth.)  It's interesting that as I've gotten older I've gotten closer and closer to his viewpoint and farther and farther from the viewpoint of the elders.  It's been an interesting journey.

  •  This is why we don't do family gatherings any more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DvCM, GammaRae

    Between the holier-than-thou fundy older SiL who's writing her doctoral dissertation in Gifted Education but voted for Chimpy because Gore was too smart, and Things 2, the neice who is mean to the bone and who is a lot like Hilly in the Help, it ain't worth it.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri May 25, 2012 at 10:41:08 AM PDT

    •  The good thing, I guess, is that now that he's (0+ / 0-)

      retired, he lives halfway across the country. We don't see each other much, don't talk much unless it's to deal with issues related to our elderly mom in assisted living (about 100 miles from me). So family gatherings are few and far between. I guess it's just sad 'cos once Mom is gone, I don't think there will be much to connect us, and since he was such a huge part of my life earlier, it's still something I feel as a loss.

      Don't use Jesus as an excuse to be a narrow-minded, greedy, bigoted asshole.

      by GammaRae on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:10:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Never have had political (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GammaRae

    conversations with my siblings. My sister is a republican and I honestly don't know where my brother stands.

    It's funny that I hardly know anything about my (deceased) parents politics, even though I used to pull the levers for my mother when I was little. So maybe not talking politics is part of my family code.

    Oh, right, my father was an alcoholic, we were good at non-topics.

    "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

    by Audri on Fri May 25, 2012 at 01:18:52 PM PDT

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