home for the holidays with those crazy republican family members who never heard of daniel patrick moynihan’s dictum (and everything you know is wrong)

NOTE: This was to have been posted weeks ago prior to the holidays—needless to say. Unfortunately, I had the fooking floo that’s making the rounds and it laid me low for nigh on three weeks. So, this and other pieces that I had completed or had in rough draft form scheduled for pre-Christmas posting just sat. So, this is still a worthy read (in my humble opinion) and so I post it a few days too late . . .

A few months back, we attended a get-together (“C’mon people now, smile on your brother . . .”) at our friends’ place. Both the he and the she hosts are among our only “conservative” friends. I placed “conservative” in quotes here because their politics are faith-based, which leads them to somehow believe that the Republican Party and all things deemed “conservative” represent their “Christian ideals” (you figure out the why for the quotation marks here) better than the gawdfarsaken Democrats.

Oddly, I do believe that every other person at the get-together was of a liberal-leaning persuasion! So, when our host declaimed, “Well, I guess everybody’s happy with the George Zimmerman decision,” the whole room came to a stop.

As I trust my readers know, it is now damn near impossible to have a meaningful conversation with folks who get their “facts” from Rush and FoxNews and their confederates. (Lotsa quotation marks in this one: “facts” because among the rightwing media, such things as opinions, prognostications, propaganda, fabrications, etc., are all synonymous with “facts.” The many misleading statements concerning the now legendary “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq is one major example, while the recent list of facts concerning an essentially fictional character named Santa Claus is a more minor example.)

As former US Ambassador to the UN and India and then US Senator (D-NY) Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not [to] his own facts.”

Back to the aforementioned get-together . . .

Further conversation found that our host (and keep in mind, my friend) was under the impression that many (apparently) Fox-generated nonsense was, in fact, the facts. These included:

  • Martin was prowling in backyards and casing the neighborhood;

  • Martin was not there for a fun time with his father and uncle watching a basketball game but was there on business, because he had drugs with him;

  • Zimmerman was never following Martin in his car, so he never voluntarily left safety in pursuit of trouble; and

  • Martin turned on Zimmerman and started the altercation.

Of course, none of these were true, and all were gleaned from the rightwingnut-leaning news media. And, of course, the fact that my host considered these lies to be facts made having a fact-based conversation with his guests rather awkward. As all such conversations between differing political view-holders have become since Ronald Reagan’s people jettisoned the long-practiced Fairness Doctrine in 1987 . . .

When I pointed out the size difference—that in no known organized sport would a man as small as Martin be allowed to fight a man the size of Zimmerman, I was told that Martin was bigger than the liberal media portrayed him and was street tough, while Zimmerman was just an overweight softie who would be easily overcome by the punk in the hoodie. 

Needless to say, the guests were somewhat taken aback. I both attempted to factualize the conversation (I failed) and take our host to task for relying on such proven dubious sources as Limbaugh and Hannity and their ilk.

Fortunately, our liking for one another (he the host and me the guest) overcame any possible semblance of an altercation—and there was never any friction, by the by. But such events are now so common as to be almost tolerable to we of liberal bent. (Instead of “tolerable,” I almost wrote “acceptable,” which it NEVER is!)

And in these tête-à-têtes with friends and relatives—especially with relatives!—we don’t always get off so lightly, nyet?

This article should be read as a companion piece to another piece of mine, “Talking politics with your Republican uncle.”

Comments, suggestions, additions, and arguments welcome!