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An argument I had with my father in the car while he was being kind enough to drive me to Media where I was meeting with friends to surprise my best friend with a graduation dinner has been weighing on my mind. My father is 64 years old and with me turning 31 in May, it should come as no surprise to me that we've had the same argument as we always have had since I stopped going to church, went out into the real world, and found that things I'd heard at home and church didn't jive with my experiences. Still, the argument has been bugging me and I think it's time to write it all out in hopes it will make some kind of sense, that I'll glean some kind of wisdom in hopes of either avoiding more of the same in the future, though I'm not hopeful.

To start, having a "serious discussion" is like reading a James Joyce novel. He's completely stream-of-consciousness and full of non sequiturs. You can imagine this inherent quality about my dad makes "serious discussions" difficult. My brother has had better success, mostly because he's proven to be more patient than I am, though similar political and religious points of view also aid him in those conversations. I'm the black sheep. The "evil liberal". Makes me want to buy a black cowboy hat and wear it at family functions. Heh.

Somehow, we came to the issue of climate change. I don't remember how or why and really it's not all that important as to how the discussion came about, but that it did. Before I jump down the rabbit hole again, I'll say that my usual tactic of telling him "I don't want to discuss politics" line has not been working. He'll continue to talk, even if I don't answer. Lately, though, he's found a new and very passive aggressive line or two that really gets me. If he were at least trolling me, I would be able to laugh it off, but he's not. He's serious. His response to my "don't wanna talk about it, dad" is either a variant of "You'll see" or "I guess we can't have serious discussions."

No, I won't "see" and no, we can't have serious discussions.

Why? Because in the course of this "discussion" about climate change, he revealed that he thinks global warming is a giant conspiracy by evil liberals who only want to tax everyone and take their money (because "look at Cypus")... to, I guess, do evil liberal things. Not anything new for people here, I'm sure, but just listening to it come from my father was surreal. The insanity continues to become more surreal to me. It's one thing to read it on a page while at work, it's another to experience it in person, much less from a loved one.

(Continued under the squiggle.)

Dad had Hannity on the radio, who at the time was butt-hurt over Jim Carrey's Funny or Die video and then his subsequent criticism of Fox News (which had me laughing) and he continued to go on a rant to try to belittle the actor's work because... I don't know; that's what a bully does when they have no reasonable argument to make. Nothing new there. I thought for a brief moment that my dad might have some shred of sanity left when he said aloud that Hannity was being too harsh, as he finds Jim Carrey funny. Nope. Those hopes were quickly dashed in the climate change argument that sprang forth.

I had spent some time trying to think of a way to explain climate change to my dad in a simple way that anyone could understand. Considering even I don't understand the full science behind it (and am working on changing that) as it's very complex and I haven't studied environmental science since college, I went for a simplistic analogy. My dad loves to say it's "global cooling" and therefore, global warming is proven to be part of a conspiracy. Furthermore, "what's the big deal about one or two degrees warmer?" mentality pervades the "serious discussion" as well. Again, not new arguments from a Tea Partier, but that's what I have to deal with, so I decided to use the human body as an example.

I barely was able to get into my analogy before it was shot down. I wanted to tell him that climate change was much like the fluctuations in body temperature, particularly when a human gets sick. A fever of +2 degrees isn't life threatening, but certainly uncomfortable and miserable. A fever of +4 is serious and anything higher than that it becomes life threatening. Not difficult to understand. Symptoms of a fever include chills and sweating - efforts of the body to cool itself. I figured that could be likened to the "global cooling" my dad likes to crow about. Incidentally, I think the analogy works in the opposite direction. The body gets colder, we start entering into hypothermia and we die. Basically, the point is that body temperature is important to keep at the right temperature for a person to function and thrive, much like the planet. I think the analogy is sound. I'm not trying to explain the complex science of climate change, but at this rate, with all the Rush Limbaugh fueled thinking my dad has become entirely brainwashed to, I have to begin at the very basic beginning before being able to move forward because he can't even agree that changes to an ecosystem can be devastating.

"No, no... no, that's not a good analogy," he said when I barely launched into my analogy.

"Why?" I asked.

"It's just not a good analogy." My dad was frowning and narrowing his brows. He wouldn't give me reasons why it wasn't a good analogy. If he could have at least told me why he thought it wasn't good, then we could talk about it. But no, shot right down. I was frustrated. Perhaps I should have persisted, but I just wanted to get to my friend's surprise dinner, as it was a fish and sushi place and I was hungry.

Again, I don't remember how the conversation continued. But I suppose it jumped off from his short conspiracy rant about evil liberals out to take everyone's money. I knew that was all fueled by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. I have said many times before that Rush Limbaugh and Fox News were a bunch of idiots. I may have said it again in this conversation, I don't remember. I did, however, ask him, "Who would you want to be your general practitioner who diagnosed your symptoms and prescribed medicine when you were sick: an actual doctor or Rush Limbaugh?" He refused to answer, saying it "wasn't a good question", but this time I kept pressing. He finally relented with "Not a liberal." I rolled my eyes.

Aside from the evil liberal conspiracy to steal everyone's hard earned money, he had said that it was already 'proven' that it was a hoax because of the email leak onto the internet. Nevermind that it was debunked that there was any kind of conspiracy of scientists working to withhold information about climate change. That doesn't matter in the world of the Fox News bubble. Another hurdle to jump over in this "serious discussion" that I didn't bother to address at the time.

"You must think I'm an idiot," he said to me after a short silence. I thought the "serious discussion" was over. He clearly sounded upset to me and I realized I needed to be careful in my answer because honestly, I do. I think he's a fucking idiot for being duped by these assholes, but at the same time I know well enough what a cult mentality does to an otherwise perfectly reasonable and intelligent person. (My dad's been listening to Rush since the 1990's and watching Fox News ever since he finally broke down and got cable in 2001.) But I also didn't want to hurt my father's feelings. Maybe I should have. He's a grown man that should be able to handle criticism, but I've learned that he's not good at handling it at all.

"No, I just don't understand why you listen to stupid people," I replied. My answer was received with his usual line of defense for Rush: that he has millions of listeners, as if having "millions" of listeners is somehow indicative of intelligence. I rolled my eyes and said basically said something along the lines of "So what?"

But in getting angry, as I've also learned that I have a similar temper as my dad, I turned the question on him. "You must think I'm the fucking idiot that can't make decisions for herself or reason for herself since you know I'm a liberal." My thinking was he'd give me a similar answer as I gave him. That being a father, he'd tread carefully, even if he did think I was an idiot who couldn't think for herself, he'd not say so for the sake of my feelings.

He didn't say a word in regard to my question and continued on his rants.

It had a delayed response in me. I was frustrated over the crap he was regurgitating, but then I realized: he must really think I'm stupid and fooled. It brought up old hurts in many arguments we had when I used to live there while I was in school. Namely, that paying any money toward my higher education was a "waste." I thought he had said it out of anger, as he often apologizes later for losing his temper (but only for losing his temper.) I actually got teary in the car and was glad that I had sunglasses on. I thought, maybe he wasn't listening (which isn't really any better) or anything else that the silence could have meant other than, "Yes, you're an idiot who can't think for herself and only listens what evil liberals tell you." (How ironic.)

I can assure you I've been too strong willed and independent to be told what to do. Maybe that's why I couldn't stomach hearing Rush Limbaugh in the house any longer and stopped going to church when church and politics had meshed into a political-religious Frankenstein's monster.

It's heartbreaking, really. "I guess we can't have serious discussions." No, we can't have them, dad. I thought that it was because he was so brainwashed with conspiracy theory that it would be near impossible to break through it all. I could try, but my question then becomes "What's the point?" It would be a ton of work on my part only to have the goal posts moved every time. Why should I subject myself to that? But it's more than just breaking through the conspiracy theory. If he can't respect the fact that I'm an intelligent woman and acknowledge that I am, then anything I say has no merit in his point of view. It makes "serious discussion" completely futile.

Always the one to get the last word in, my brother (the middle one of three younger brothers) came over to drop off a few things and with a tired, very deadpanned expression (not uncommon for this brother), he says, "Dad wants this back" and handed me a New York Post article. It was that Rich Lowry article twisting Dr. Hansen's work. I still have this article sitting on my desk and I'm unsure if I should respond to my dad or even give it back. Do I give up in my efforts to get through to him that we can at least agree that "if" climate change were "true" then therefore it would be bad for the earth and therefore human life? Do I just not bother and wait for the next "serious discussion" ambush? How does one even begin to cut through the layers of bullshit that decades of brainwashing has instilled in a 64 year old man? How do I do this in a respectful and persuasive manner? Is that even possible?

I'm not sure where to start or if I even want to.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My Dad Is Not A Liberal (10+ / 0-)

    But we can talk and debate.

    We often find areas of agreement you would not think possible. He worked at high levels within the DoD. He has a PhD in war. I mean literally a PhD in war. Taught at the Army War College. He thinks we are fighting wars we should not fight. Never should have engaged.

    I say the above case well we ought to be able to debate shit.

    Have a conversation.

    You could not force my dad to listen to Rush. Or Fox Noise. He likes these things called "facts." We might agree to disagree, but if you come out with "stupid" you will be called on that point.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:48:21 AM PDT

  •  Unasked, I offer this advise from one who has... (14+ / 0-)

    been there.

    There are two things you never say to someone who is firmly convinced that they are right and you are wrong and would understand that fact if only you would listen to what they had to say:  1) "I don't want to talk about it" and 2) "You're an idiot".

    In my circumstances, the reply always was "that's cause you know I'm right"

    If the objective is to convince your father he is wrong, stop trying, you will fail.  If it is to have something approaching a meaningful relationship, then engage but do not argue.  He has his point of view and you have yours.  Accept that this will never change and in your discussions try to achieve something of value.

    In your discussions, rather than starting from the positions a) He is wrong.  b) he is wrong because the people he listens to are wrong. c) I am right.  Start from the position a) what does he believe.  b) why does he believe this.  c) what does he think is the consequence of this belief.

    For example, in the climate change discussion, you could have asked why he thought liberals were faking climate science.  What their ultimate goal was and what they hoped to achieve.  When he gave the boilerplate answer of expanding government, destroying business, Tyranny, etc., you could turn to argument towards what he is really afraid of, what his real concern involves and what he really is saying.  Rather than trying to convince him his beliefs about climate change are unfounded, you could end up finding out something about himself that he is hiding behind the rightwing rhetoric.

    It has been my experience, that most Right-Wingers are frightened people.  They fear change, the "other", things that are different or difficult to understand.  They fear violence, crime or loss of power and priviledge.  The first step to overcoming Right-Wing thought is to understanding and dealing with these fears.  Then the change comes.

    Good luck.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:49:02 AM PDT

    •  Thanks. (4+ / 0-)

      I'm going to try this out and see what happens. I'm pretty positive he's afraid of something, but what that is, I'm not sure and wonder if he's even sure. I have a few suspicions what it might stem from what I've gathered from past arguments and conversations, but again, I'm speculating.

      I also need to work on not letting my frustration and temper get the best of me. lol

    •  I've tried these (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peglyn

      with my dad. But usually, there isn't any belief behind why he believes the way he does. I think he looks to people he thinks are smarter than him and parrots their opinions. My dad is not a dumb man, but he doesn't have any intellectual curiosity. I think he has to be able to want to reason out why he believes one way or another to even have this kind of conversation.

      As he gets older, he does this more. I'm a bit worried that he is losing some of his mental faculty and that might be exaggerating the parroting that he has been doing over the past several years. Of course, he could just be a lazy SOB, and if it isn't related to the Indians, Browns or the CAPS, he really has no need to think about it.

    •  Republicans are convinced that ... (0+ / 0-)

      the sole motive behind the global warming and "green" causes is to create trillions of dollars worth of make-work (i.e., useless) jobs for otherwise unemployable liberals.  At least, that's the gist of what I hear, by FAR, from those I encounter.  Those who see that man can impact the environment refuse to accept that there's any global impact, insisting that only some local areas (like Bejing's pollution) need any real attention.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:59:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a lose/lose proposition (13+ / 0-)

    because he's not trying to have a discussion, he's trying to infect you with his confirmation bias. "Liberals Are Evil" is all that drives the right wing.  It's bigotry, fear and hatred - there's nothing logical or factual about it. Circular Logic, self-feeding theories that go nowhere.  Global Warming is Bunk because, Winter.  The Carbon Tax is bad because, TAX!!  Creating incentives to move our energy consumption to renewebles and away from fossil fuels is bad because, well, (Corporate) people who've gotten rich from fossil fuels might not be as rich and other people - Liberals who invest in clean energy - might get RICH and that's bad because - GEORGE SOROS.

    Yes, it's a Cult. It's designed to be a Cult.  Your dad doesn't need a discussion, he needs Deprograming.  Their indoctrination works because they correctly note that the regular media - which isn't even remotely "Liberal", just semi-conscious - tends to treat their core beliefs as irrelevant, self-serving and insane - because they are - so these people have a natural distrust of that media, then Right-Wing media comes along and says, "See, they think you're nuts, so you have to trust us, Only We understand you, only we will be honest with you, ONLY WE will tell you the truth".

    And that truth is - "Every thing is SOMEONE ELSES fault - You are responsible for nothing, nothing is your fault, there's nothing you need to do to fix anything, you don't need to lift a finger - it's all because of those Damn Dirty Liberals, and by extension the Lazy Black People with their broken culture and entitlement mentality who can't seem to grab their boots and levitate with decades of racial scar tissue built into the fabric of their families, and the Gay's and their AGENDA to destroy the Family, and the Latinos who are trying to sneak in and steal the country like a band of Home Invaders - not that it's all racial, don't get the wrong idea or anything.  Black people (Allen West, Allen Keyes) and Gays (Ken Melman) and Latinos (Rubio, Cruz) who aren't Liberal and know their proper place are just fine.

    It's just that Liberals aren't Real Americans, that's all.

    This is what's your Dad is being told Daily, Loving Him for who he is - and ignoring what he believes - is just going to have to be enough.

    •  Yep (7+ / 0-)

      Sounds like the house I grew up in.

      I tell him that there are plenty of things we can talk about, as we have the same tastes in books, movies and music, but he just loves to "discuss" and "talk" about politics. I suppose, so long as you don't say anything to the contrary.

      The biggest indicator to me that I might be fighting a futile battle was when my aunt (his sister) told me that my parents had come to her because they were upset that their kids weren't interacting with him. That everyone (my brothers, as I had moved out by then) went to their rooms to watch TV or get on the computer instead of talking. My aunt delicately asked them if there was an hour where they could turn off the TV and use it to play a board game or something similar. The conversation turned to, "Well, it can't be 5pm because that's when  Beck is on and it can't be 9pm because that's when O'Reilly is on..."

      Needless to say, she facepalmed.

  •  Give him a copy of the DVD "An Inconvenient Truth" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    My family is all Democratic (what a blessing) although they are somewhat uber-religious - so we can talk politics but not religion.  Love and tolerate him - but you probably won't change him.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:18:14 AM PDT

  •  What i have been doing somewhat successfully.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston, SilentBrook

    Is referencing JFK liberalism; war hero, moon missions,Cuban missile crisis, civil rights, medicare, Etc.
    Basically what I say is if you are a conservative you cannot be fan of JFK cuz he is the liberal you right wingers rail against. The one point that seems to work best is the moon landings.. Also as Vyan referenced above it is a lose lose at times, unfortuantely. Pick battles wisely!!

    America, We blow stuff up!!

    by IndyinDelaware on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:22:35 AM PDT

  •  Been there (6+ / 0-)

    A couple of years ago, I had my last conversation with my father when he accused me (for the last time, but not the first) of being a traitor to the US.

    He is a Rush/Fox/RW everything consumer. He used to be smart and curious (he taught me to love the space program and to love reading and education). But now he's all right wing conspiracies and talking points. He even slid into creationism (Intelligent Design). I tried the "what would it mean for evolution to be true?" to try and tease out the fear and got nothing from him.

    Good luck. I recommend not talking at all about anything except silly, superficial topics.

    I wonder what Markos thought when he started this blog? Sure, come for the politics, but stay for the friendship and cat pics!

    by The Pollster on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:24:00 AM PDT

  •  You might ask if it's possible he could be wrong. (4+ / 0-)

    And remind him of what's at stake.

    But there's really no arguing with deniers. None whatsoever. For the reasons you give; they deny, they change the subject, they blurt non sequiturs, they refuse to reason.

    I've lost my family due to politics, and it's sad.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:29:54 AM PDT

    •  My Mom And Dad Are Not Liberal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CuriousBoston, wenchacha

      But they did this thing so cool.

      I recall my parents getting a call from the church saying I was a "problem." I said things that did'nt compute. My dad was like what did my kid say? Are you not an adult and you can't figure out how to debate a 13 year old kid?

      I took issue with the church. Never went there again. My parents were like do your owe thing.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:43:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let It Go.....He's Your Father (3+ / 0-)

    It sounds like he's looking for reassurance more than anything else.  FOX News operates from a "scare them to death & keep them scared" basis.

    My sister is into FOX & married to a Republican.  They have their viewpoints of liberals sitting on couches waiting for the welfare & food stamps to role in.  But....her own mother-in-law, another Republican w/ the same views, has to depend on SS & Medicare for her very survival plus the $200/mth each of her 4 kids chip in to keep momma afloat.

    She, a Republican, didn't save for her retirement.  

    My sister is actually an old softie, loves my gay daughter to distraction & thinks the kid walks on water.  It's just so much rhetoric.  Try "you could be right, Dad"..... then take him out to lunch.  

    Your dad obviously doesn't want you to think he's a crazy man.  Another obvious thing.....you opinion matters to this man.

    Just give him a hug.  He sounds scared.

  •  My stepfather is the same way. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston, SilentBrook

    He's a diehard dittohead to the point that even the rest of the family, who are all fundagelical teabaggers, wish he would leave it.

    Even when I point out the obvious holes in his argument, he'll look right at me and say, "I don't see that it's wrong." Brick walls have more understanding.

    Fortunately for me, reading this site every day for eight years now has given me a lot of ammunition. Plus, I lay on the sarcasm pretty thick. That drives him nuts and he doesn't have any comebacks. It won't change his mind, nothing will, but it will shut him up.

    He had a meltdown after the last election which was fun to hear about.

  •  Go Meta (5+ / 0-)

    People, especially those in close family relationships, will seldom or never change any minds by argument or discussion.  The best policy is simply to agree to disagree, and it seems you've tried to do this.

    The great divide here is between what I call "heart" people, and "head" people.  Heart people decide truth based on their emotions with their logic providing whatever rationalizations are necessary.  Head people try to understand objective truth by reasoning, with varying degrees of success, and never completely free of their own emotions.   You sound like a head person (most here in Orangeland are) and your dad a heart person (they constitute the vast majority of all religions and fill up the conservative ranks.)

    You are unlikely  to ever agree on politics because you have different means of perceiving truth.

    Heart people are always deeply insecure when they take positions which are refuted by logic, but which they equally deeply believe in their hearts (emotions).  This is why religions have started wars and burned people at the stake.

    This is why your dad can't leave it well enough alone. He seeks validation from a head person.  You.  This is true of most heart people in cognitive dissonance, their insecurity leads them to always seek the validation of logic.  

    So, go meta.  Instead of talking about the issues, talk about why you can't agree to disagree.  Take the bull my the horns.   "Why is it so important for us to keep discussing this, dad.  Why can't we just agree to disagree?"

    The honest answer would be "because you are wrong!".

    So what?  So what if you think I'm wrong?  We both believe millions of other Americans are wrong, and no doubt they are.  Just different millions for you and me.  We are only human, and what we believe are just our opinions.

    Why do we prioritize being right over expressing love for one another?

    Consider this.

    How much does it bother you that he is wrong?

    What does it matter in the grand scheme of things?  You and I and your dad are but tiny drops in an ocean.

    "A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance." -- George Orwell, 1984

    by Treats on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:44:44 AM PDT

    •  Interesting point. (4+ / 0-)

      If I am honest with myself, which I try to be, I want validation from him in that I am able to think for myself. He's said it to me time and time again that I "must" be "listening" to "someone else" for me to come to the conclusions I've come to.

      It bothers me that he's wrong in that I hate seeing both of my parents succumb to being conned by these people. That's the extent to which it bothers me. I'd be happy to agree to disagree and joke about something else. But he presses the issue or sighs with a "You'll see (that I'm right)". It used to bother me a good deal more for various personal reasons, but I've a) deprogrammed myself and b) gotten through those issues for the most part.

      I have asked him in the past why a person's race has any bearing in a discussion. For example, "That family is screwing over your uncle in their rent. You know they're Indian." I asked him, "What does it matter that they're Indian?" He got instantly angry at me and yelled at me, "I'm just giving you a fact about these people." I didn't pursue the question further. Seemed like his reason for telling me was loud and clear.

      •  Sounds like (0+ / 0-)

        You want validation from him that you've never gotten, really. He didn't want to pay for college for you - and it sounds like your the only girl with 2-3 brothers. Are you the youngest (or close to it)? He sounds like a very old-fashioned man - the type that women should be able to hold a pink-collar job then get married, and never push back against the men in her life. Does that sound anywhere in the ballpark?

        If so, you're starting from two holes piled on each other: his beliefs about women, and his beliefs about liberals. You're not really going to be able to win both battles at once, I'm afraid. You might try veering away from politics right now, and focussing on making him realize your successes in life (graduation, jobs, etc) as a single woman. Be confident - hey, they're your successes. Even if you don't have the best job/house in the world, you're supporting yourself and that's the important thing.

        Enlist the rest of your family in this (if that's possible). When they talk about their jobs, join the discussion and talk about yours. When they talk about their homes, talk about yours. (As always, use this advice as appropriate with your family).

        Once you've gotten that spadework planted, then you can approach politics with your family. Good Luck!

        Radical Right - UnAmerican and Tacky as Hell

        by efrenzy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:45:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Basically right ballpark. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          efrenzy

          I'm the oldest of four with three younger brothers. My parents are evangelical Presbyterian and if you're familiar with that branch of the Presbyterian church, then you'll understand where the whole issues with women come from.

          Fortunately, the oldest of the three boys is now a lawyer (I work in Juvenile Justice as a quasi-paralegal) and so my dad has figured out that being a public defender is a good thing and not "the enemy" as he used to call my work. lol But it irked me that it took my brother's chiming in to get the point across. So yeah, I'm starting from behind. But I figured as much when I realized that church wasn't for me.

  •  My Brother Married In A Family (0+ / 0-)

    and they called a person a "nigger." Let's let that hand there .......

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:53:31 AM PDT

  •  Just to join in this discussion... (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing your diary, Raven. This is a thought provoking discussion here.

    Just to echo Vyan's words of wisdom:
     

    Loving Him for who he is - and ignoring what he believes - is just going to have to be enough.
    My spouse's father began to watch everything Fox as his dementia slowly advanced. Have you ever had experience with a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease?

    It's pointless to argue with a person with a dementia.

    Sooner or later you may be the family member taking care of your father. In the end it doesn't really matter if it's Alzheimer's or some other condition that he may suffer from/with. You will be the parent and he will be the child.

    Assume that nobody will be able to cut through the layers of BS (your words). Find your own path towards forgiveness and acceptance.

    Thanks again for sharing and be blessed!

    Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. - Albert Einstein

    by TriangleNC on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:51:06 AM PDT

  •  You're a good daughter, Raven. You care about (9+ / 0-)

    your father.  It comes through between the lines.  If your father only realized how much you care about him, he might be more receptive.  But he doesn't, and so he won't, at least not now.  Too much noise in his head.

    I'm sorry you're having to experience this.

    But what I want to tell you is that I used to be your Dad.  I have often thought back to why I changed, and it always comes down to a singular moment.  My son and I were coming home from vacation, arguing politics.  I was stubborn, like your Dad and we were getting nowhere.  I think I may have said some hateful things.

    Just as we both had run out of things to say, we stopped to get gas.  My son got out of the car, started to walk toward the convenience store, then stopped and turned around.  He walked up to me with tears streaming down his face and said "Dad, I'm so sorry we had this fight and that I upset you so.  Right then and there I started crying and hugged him for a long time.

    I knew how passionate he was about what he believed, and it broke my heart to realize that in spite of his fierce defense of his views, he cared more about my feelings than he did for winning this argument.  Suddenly, I felt the same way.  

    From that moment on, I listened.  I listened to my son, I listened to people who believed what he did, and I listened to myself.  What I heard from myself were half-baked canned arguments  and jingoism.  

    I am now the polar opposite of what I was before, and I owe it to my dear son.

    So, I hope you and your dad will find some common ground for a relationship, even if he never comes around.  You never know whether that will change, but the relationship with your Dad is worth a lot, even if you never agree.

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

    by ZedMont on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:55:00 AM PDT

  •  I gave up on my father. I commuted to college. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SilentBrook, peglyn

    Asked him if he felt that southern public colleges should prevent Vietnam veterans from attending. That got me mashed against a wall. Ended political conversations. He voted for Wallace, for all the nuts.

    He was an engineer in Korea, never on the front lines. He bought a collection of guns, put them in a glass cabinet so he could see them. NRA member. Wanted us kids to skeet shoot. Nearly killed my brother thinking he was a burglar.

    My uncle, a sniper in Korea, never touched a gun after he left the army. He didn'tt chose to be a sniper, his eyesight, his perception and intelligence chose for him.

    When the first Bush was elected, he took down his flag. He was very progressive.

    They both were together in Korea. My father was very jealous.

    The difference: open mind vs closed mind. The certainly of I'm right, vs the wanting to learn. Both were bookworms.
    Night and day.

    2012-2016 President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Warren. For a LIFETIME, federal judges. Get the filibuster changed. Steamroll. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

    by CuriousBoston on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 12:04:40 PM PDT

  •  What do you think will happen if you give this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Raven in Philly

    diary and the comments to him? Or watch a National
    Geographic tv program/video about the enviroment?
    Or have a child show what he/she is working on in school?

    Would he read a bio of Adams, Jefferson, Rosa Parks, King, any of the Kennedys?

    What does he think of Head Start? An article about the history of Head Start?

    Zedmonts' comment is very, very good.

    Please let us know what happens.

    2012-2016 President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Warren. For a LIFETIME, federal judges. Get the filibuster changed. Steamroll. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

    by CuriousBoston on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 12:13:48 PM PDT

    •  He'd go on a rant about Progressives (0+ / 0-)

      Great Orange Satan, etc. if I showed him this blog. lol

      Anything having to do with the Founding Fathers would only be true if the book said they were all Christians and that the country was founded on Christianity, etc.

      The Kennedys are evil liberals, especially Teddy killing that girl in a car accident. (His words.) I only really understood who Ted Kennedy was when he died and I bought the Time Magazine edition that had his face on the cover.

      I could try the other suggestions though. Could even the ones he already has an opinion on. Worst I'll hear is what I already think he'll say, right? lol

      •  Mail him something, maybe a subscription to? (0+ / 0-)

        Be sure to ask for it back, because the kidlets school has asked for it. i recommend National Geographic.

        2012-2016 President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Warren. For a LIFETIME, federal judges. Get the filibuster changed. Steamroll. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

        by CuriousBoston on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:46:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I had no idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Raven in Philly

    (I'll send you an email)

  •  Sometimes, there's no changing people's minds. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Raven in Philly

    My dad and I don't agree on everything but he's no conservative. When I first heard him say that he thought Obama was a "disaster" I was ready for some kind of odd or possibly slightly "he's trying to get a rise out of me" explanation but I was interested to hear that the reason he thinks this is because he finds the President disingenuously progressive. I have to say it was an interesting conversation, one in which we agreed more than disagreed. So there's that.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 01:19:01 PM PDT

  •  There's a lot of good advice for you already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Raven in Philly

    but i wanted to add my two cents. The next time he wants to have a "serious discussion", go ahead and say, "sure, let's really have a serious discussion".

    Then, when the course of the conversation goes to you asking him a question that he dismisses, you hit him with:
    "This is why we can't have serious discussions, dad.
    Because you don't take me seriously.
    And dad, everytime that you don't take me seriously is another moment that I lose some respect for you.
    Because you show me that you don't really respect me when you dismiss my questions without giving a reason.
    And I wonder if you really think it's worth my losing respect for you to dismiss what's important to me.
    Because I think your giving yourself a raw deal by trading my respect for your ability to ignore me and my concerns."

    Maybe this will give him something to think on when he muses on his degree of isolation from you and your siblings. That he is alienating you all from his life, just to be "right"; he needs to learn that being happy is much more important than being right. Or, you may need to learn that his miserable "rightness" seeks to drag you down along with him and that longer-term distance and an active abscence is the more useful way for you to proceed and cope with life. As troubling as that possibility may be, I think you know that is a potential outcome here anyway.

    PrezObama's only mistake in the sequester is that he assumed that the Republicans would be more loyal to their oath of office to serve the people than their oath to Norquist to never close tax loopholes.

    by SilentBrook on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 01:20:45 PM PDT

    •  Hopefully he'd listen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook

      and not just talk over me. Talking over people is a serious bad habit in our family that I've become more conscious about not doing.

      Our relationship did get better when I moved out. He stopped asking me for money to support the family, for one. I think what my biggest thing to do is to control my own anger. I've gotten a lot better at it, but I could continue to use improvement. All the advice has been pretty helpful and I'm hoping that I can commit it all to memory so the next time he ambushes me with some RW craziness I can use it.

  •  One good way to explalin the link between CO2 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Raven in Philly

    and world wide temperature is to simply compare the relative surface temperatures of Mercury and Venus.  One would assume that being closer to the Sun, Mercury is hotter - but it's not, not exactly.  Mercury has no real atmosphere, so like our own Moon the side that is facing the Sun becomes very hot (427 °C; 800 °F), while the side that isn't facing the Sun becomes extremely cold (−173 °C; −280 °F).  That's a thousand degree difference, the largest differential of all the planets.

    Venus on the other hand has a thick atmosphere which is filled with various greenhouse gases such as CO2, nitrogen and sulfuric acid - it's average surface temperature is as actually hotter than Mercury's (467 °C, 872 °F) on Both sides.  It's atmosphere retains the heat even at night.  That's what excessive CO2 does to a planet.

    And we want more of this because why exactly?

    •  Good point. (0+ / 0-)

      Another friend of mine and I also discussed the issue of 'size' in a sense that maybe my dad might have difficulty understanding why a 2 degree increase in temperature is a bad idea because it's such a 'small' increase. My friend said, "if you want to take the "absolute amounts are all-important" argument to an extreme, take the amount 500 nanograms. That's 0.000000500 grams, or what you'd get if you took a single milligram, divided it by a thousand, and then divided that by 2. Almost nothing, right? But 500 nanograms of botulinum toxin in the blood would kill most people."

  •  Three Retorts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Raven in Philly

    First, w.r.t. the "he has millions of listeners" argument, he has about 3-5 million listeners which would give him about as much support as Ralph Nader has. I'm sure he'll love that comparison....

    http://www.mediaite.com/...

    Second, twice as many Americans believe that the moon landing was a hoax than listen to Rush.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Third, be sure to point out that Rush and Hannity both hire actors to call their stations. Ask him if he likes knowing that he's watching the WWE of broadcasters....

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    NEVER give up the fight against evil-doers!

  •  Something to try (0+ / 0-)

    Try listening to this.  It might give you some new kinds of way to frame the discussion:

    http://coyotenetworknews.com/...

    It's a discussion with Bob Gough, long time ally proponent of Indigenuity, Secretary of COUP (Council on Utility Policy).  Mr. Gough has some good insights.

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