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.