STOP Believing. START THINKING

STOP Believing. START THINKING

My father is a fervent Republican. My mother was a Democrat. Once saw him put his fist through the solid maple cabinet an inch from my mother’s head because her vote was going to cancel his in the second Reagan election. Though he never hit her, connected anyway, he often shouted, slammed things, threw things, at me even, when he encountered resistance (reason) when espousing his conservative views.

My father doesn’t believe Global Warming is real, or caused by us in any way (absolving himself of conserving resources).

My father believes all non-believers— atheists and agnostics— are dangerous fools to be converted.

My father distrusts all Muslims.

My father believes in trickle down economics, though it’s been proven again and again it makes the rich richer while wiping out the middle-class.

My father doesn’t believe in gun control. “If they come for me, I’ll stop them at the door.” He quotes the NRA with fervor! “Take away what kind of guns we get to own, and you chip away at the foundation of the 2nd Amendment.”

I remind him he can’t stop a tank with an AK-47. I implore him to examine history, and context— that the right to bear arms our forefathers were talking about were pistols and shotguns that took three minutes to load and didn’t fire straight or would blow up in your face. Automatic assault weapons were neither considered, nor anticipated when the 2nd Amendment was written.

He scoffs. As his daughter, and a woman, I am clueless.

As a mother of two beautiful, spectacular kids, I am horrified, not only by what happened at the Robb Elementary School shooting in Texas, and Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, and many other schools since this first writing, but everywhere else, every time an assault weapon is used against our own because the NRA wants to stay rich. And our government officials, Republican senators in particular, ostensibly “by the people, for the people,” are paid-off by lobbyists to let them.

I grew up on the Valley side of the Hollywood Hills, and went to school with writers, producers, directors kids, all fairly to extremely liberal. My father was the outlier in our neighborhood, and among my parents colleagues and friends. The Great Divide between the Republicans and Democrats, fueled by Reagan pushing religion, conservatism, then ignited by Bush Jr’s Christian administration, and then concretized in lies, ignorance and hate by Trump, didn’t exist yet. My parents lived together in relative peace, except around election times.

We have become a polarized nation, and this serves no one here. On the personal level, it has divided me from my family. My siblings, like my father, are fervent Republicans. My sister, disgusted I’m raising our kids without religion, decided she’d had enough of my liberal leanings and checked out of our lives entirely, leaving our kids deeply hurt their aunt had abandoned them. My brother used to forward me emails from his Born-Again community that Obama was a Jew-hating Muslim who believes it’s okay to kill babies. During Trump’s reign, he spoke of the evil liberals who supported abortion, and insisted the rights of a fetus eclipsed those of the mother. My brother’s ignorance is only eclipsed by his blind faith in his Christian leaders.

The chasm in our morality, our philosophies, is so diametrically opposed at this point, the rare times I talk with my father our dialog quickly sours, then invariably moves to contentious. I’ve told him time and again I won’t discuss politics with him, but he insists on little digs, like, “Do you care about your kids?” He has not spoken with my children, his grandkids, in 7 years, or acknowledged them in any way, not birthdays, no calls, ever, and virtually never inquires about them when I call him, which I always do because he doesn’t call me.

Truth is, it’s getting harder and harder to call him. Almost two decades after my mom’s death, my father is undaunted by age or illness in his quest to spread conservative lies. He’s a true believer, as are most Republicans, because believing is easier than thinking. Being told what is right and wrong, good or bad, is simpler than considering the complexities of our behavior, and our obligations to each other and the world we inhabit.

My family believes women should not have the right of choice with our own bodies.

My family believes gays should not have the legal, nor moral right to marry. They think homosexuality is a mental illness.

My family espouses they believe in “less government”— preaching the Republican’s canonical tagline— but wants to govern (restrict) women’s choice and limit our birth control resources; control who gets to marry; limit medical treatment to citizens who can afford care; allow corporations, like Big Pharma and the NRA to buy politicians that allow the mass murder of our children and citizens for corporate profit. They’d prefer to believe the Republican rhetoric that Global Warming isn’t happening, support the ‘rights’ of Big Oil to drill and frack our planet to death, instead of invest in renewable energy for our kids, and the welfare of Earth forward.

Been wondering when it’s time to say good-bye to family, even before they die. The little connection I retain with my brother and father seems… over. My kids have no relationship with either. We have virtually no common ground, and share little time that isn’t contentious. So, really, what’s the point? We clearly don’t serve each other anymore, in any way. Harsh? You bet. Ugly? Yeah. I’m profoundly saddened we’ve come to this impasse. Hurts. A lot, knowing almost half our nation feels as my family does. And I am mystified, disgusted, shamed by their gullibility in choosing blind belief over thought and reason.

We are again on the precipice of our survival as one nation, but this time the war isn’t with rifles that blow up in our faces when shot at the ‘enemy.’  Now, we must recognize the enemy is ourselves— choosing ignorance over reason because it’s easier to binge-watch Netflix than to think. It’s time to STOP buying into the derisiveness created by our religious leaders, politicians, Google, and social media platforms pushing inflammatory speech that ignites strong emotions, activates anger, and evokes impulses that trigger you to buy more.

Conservative Republicans, Fox News, and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat are using YOU for their personal gain of wealth and power. Show them you are smarter than they are. STOP believing and START THINKING what is right for you, your family, your neighborhood, community, this country and our planet.

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