Shattered fantasy


I know, I know, they’re just kids.  But, they’re not little kids, they’re in their mid-teens.  The impulse to rebel, to reject their parents’ values should be kicking in by now, right?   Or maybe they’re just late bloomers.  Maybe when they get to college and are exposed to people who don’t look or believe just like them, maybe then they’ll start to question their parent’s beliefs.  Or maybe they have been fully and completed indoctrinated into the narrow social and political set of beliefs that my brother and his wife believe so fervently.

Right now, I’m angry.  I don’t know exactly who I’m angry at, but I’m angry, dammit.  I’ve been fuming ever since I saw my niece’s post on Facebook bragging how she was staying home from school “to protest Obama’s speech.” I want to try and reason with her.  I want her to see that her argument hasn’t a speck of reason behind it.  I want her to see that she doesn’t really know what she is talking about and that she is merely parroting her parents.  Yet, I can’t.  As it is, our relationship is so tenuous, so new, that to question her about such a fraught topic as politics would surely frighten her away, or cause her mother to intervene.

I’ve always held on to this fantasy that one day my nieces would see their crazy Auntie LB as a kind of refuge – a safe place to escape to when they could no longer stand the close-mindedness and conservatism of their parents’ lives.  I could expose them to a new world of people and beliefs.  We could talk honestly about their fears and their doubts.  They would be able to talk to me about stuff they could never talk to their parents about.   I suppose it could still happen, but I’m losing hope.

They’re sweet kids, the nieces.  I saw them a couple of times last year after having not seen them for about a decade due to a now-forgotten feud my brother and I were having.  They seemed younger than their years.  Naive, even.  And I guess that’s why I’m so mad. I hate it that their minds are getting polluted by all this hateful, right-wing, racist rhetoric.  I hate it that that is all they are allowed to know.   And I hate it that my fantasy of having a real relationship with my only nieces will probably never come to pass.


9 responses »

  1. I do understand your frustration. Such unreasoned stupidity as the list the right has been giving to boycott the speech- it’s hard not to just grab someone and throttle. What a pack of crap- and nearly overt racism.

  2. Patience. They really are still too young to run to their more reasonable auntie. That may take until they are college age. I didn’t rebel against my parent’s religion until I was 18 and I didn’t walk away from their politics until I was 30! But then, they were not quite so bat shit about it all 🙂 I think that kind of extremism breeds rebellion.

  3. Accepting a relative or friend’s weird point of view with a suppressed act of total acceptance it probably the greatest acts of love possible. It may not pay off now, but in 10 + years it just may…. or may not.

    Accepting someone without bias is the most noblest of acts. After the defenses come down you may even get to have a civil conversation of facts.

    This is easy to say but hard to do. I still find myself angry and vengeful towards people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill Rielly (or is it O’reilley or maybe it is OMG…). But these people are at least are not relatives and people I don’t even want to try and have a conversation with let alone a relationship.

    Good luck with this. And thanks for being open and honest about this in your blog. This is probably one of the most difficult life challenges to get beyond.

  4. Am – it’s maddening, that’s for sure. And while I am normally not the throttling type, with this ploy of using kids as pawns in trying to disgrace our president is pretty damn despicable.

    tpgoddess – thank you for the always needed reminded to practice patience. Yes, patience . . . breathe . . .

    Beth – I guess that is what is making me the craziest is that I can’t just write off my niece because, even though I barely know her, I care about her. Anyone else I could just write off as a right-wing nut job and patronizingly roll my eyes when they start on their FOX news agenda.

    I wish I were so noble that I could simply accept some of these differences in political philosophies as easily one would accept difference in color or style preferences. And you know what’s ironic? I’m the one always talking the boyfriend off the ledge whenever he starts on about how evil and dangerous the right is. “Now, now honey, they are just people like us, but they tend to be more driven by fear and self-interest than we are.” But to hear this insane nonsense from my 17 year old niece? The blood boils. I mean on the girl’s Facebook profile page it says in all caps “OBAMA IS DESTROYING AMERICA!!! And no, I’m not ashamed to say that.” So, I’m biting my tongue so hard it’s starting to bleed.

  5. My sister’s family is conservative beyond measure. The fortunate thing for us is we have an excellent relationship based off of acceptance.

    While I may not agree with everything they staunchly believe, we at least have a good natured truce to accept each other the way we are.

    And her kids are good kids, despite the differences in our opinions. In end, can we really ask for anything more of our children?

  6. Adam – yes, I’ve noticed in the comments in your blog that despite ideological differences, your family seems quite loving and close. And the acceptance seems mutual. I guess for me since there is a history of me being rejected by my brother (and I assume his wife), I guess I’m a bit more gun shy about speaking my beliefs, lest I provide them with yet another reason to cut me out of their lives. Who knows? Maybe the window for developing a relationship with the nieces has closed. We really have nothing in common, so it’s probably best to just let it go.

  7. I wouldn’t give up hope yet. I don’t think kids can really rebel against their parents until they are out from under their wing.

    This whole speech to the kids has brought out an awful lot of emotion and fear and bickering. I am not for him speaking to our kids in the schools either but for totally different reasons. Were my kids still in school, I would definitely have looked at the speech before allowing them to go to school. Then there is the matter of the lesson plans which were not only for yesterday or this week or next. I looked at them and some of them are for the entire year. There is even a video contest coming up.

    The speech was fine. But drop the time consuming lesson plans. That’s what will make an awful lot of people say and feel that it is political indoctrination.

  8. There once was a crazy aunt LB
    Who wanted the kids to all be free
    get rid of the blame
    and get into the game
    And start shakin that family tree


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