Holidays With Relatives in the Age Of Trump

All that anger: the retweets, the shares, the PhD-length dissertations you wrote on Facebook meant nothing if you did not vote last week. You sustained this level of anger over the last two years in order to carry that flame into a voting poll and brand that ballot with your desire for a better future.

You’re tired of feeling angry, aren’t you? I don’t blame you. We saw you marching, we saw you canvassing. You were willing to give up weekends to change things. Some of you cold-called swing voters, putting humanity back into politics with phrases like, “I don’t want your daughter to expect to attend college with men like your father-in-law,” or “I’m a human being and don’t deserve to be erased.”

You didn’t normalize the continuous, hateful rhetoric of a government who looked more like the cast of Twelve Angry Men than any neighborhood you grew up in. You didn’t normalize the polite racism and apathy, you got educated and involved. You should be proud of promoting democracy, on both local and national levels, no matter who you canvassed for. You care about who represents your community and your neighbors.

So, with the holidays approaching, you’re wondering if you should stay with your in-laws, maybe even your own parents, and wait for them to tell you ghost stories of non-white people. The people who have not changed as you have. You have tried to validate their fears while fact-checking the things they are being told to fear. How do you grant the unreachable “these people” in your life, who still stand for GOP, your time?

You don’t!

If you live with your parents, or depend upon them, I sympathize with your situation. Come to my place; there will be chili. It gets better and you will find a way out.

If you have the freedom to travel and visit people you tolerate, take a break from your family this year. If you voted, or signed up others to vote, you earned it. Stop kidding yourself that you’re going to teach your irrational relatives self-awareness or empathy. They have every right to live in this nation, but the free use of your time is yours. It’s been two years since we handed our future to national apathy.

Need other options to help? Volunteer at a soup kitchen for the whole weekend. Cash in those credit card points and Amazon freebies to donate feminine products to a homeless shelter. Order in pizza and open your own door to those scared, young people who are going to be alone.

We will pick up the fight after the holidays for basic human recognition and rights. Maybe that will include healthcare, maybe it will include equality within the justice system. None of that matters if you didn’t stand in line and vote. You will still have the lies, gun violence, and nationalist ignorance. The fear-mongering will not die out on its own. It will not die out with the eldery people, old people get replaced by more old people.

Apathy is an absence of positive action. So fight back with righteous love. The idiocy and parody of our government slows down when you vote them out. Your family doesn’t dictate what or who you should be scared of: we gave the GOP free reign to do that for too long. They will swing back harder than ever now that they know their ideology is being threatened. We’re going to keep losing rights, bit by bit, until the people who don’t believe in women, science, or rationality are lanced and drained.

When do you go back to being polite and placating? When do you stop calling your state and national representative’s offices on a rotating, weekly basis to show them you are watching them and holding them accountable?

The answer is: You don’t.

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