I don’t know how to be a part of this family any more. We are a big family, too. We’re close and nosy and involved in each other’s lives. Christmas and Thanksgiving have always been a 150 plus person dinner. Hell, over 60 people showed for a last minute Father’s Day celebration. You used to dominate my friends list on Facebook, now only a handful of you remain. I’ve seen the things you’ve said about this election – the way you praise Trump, demonize Hillary, preach the gospel as it suits your narrow and often hypocritical beliefs, exclaim that you’re not racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobia, misogynist, etc. all while wearing your “Deplorable Lives Matter” shirts and rounding out your posts with #deplorablelivesmatter and #MAGA, all while sharing sensationalized posts about babies thanking Republicans for saving their lives, all while sharing memes about how real marriage is between a man and a woman.
You want America to be great again! I ask you, when did America lose its greatness? What time are you wanting to revert back to that was the pinnacle of great for this country? Was it when the country was founded to escape religious oppression and demanded freedom of speech? No, this is a Christian nation. Was it when white lives owned black lives? No, you’re not racist. Was it before women fought for and won the right to vote, especially now that you realize women have long since stepped out of the kitchen and can not only influence a country, but lead it? No, you’re not a misogynist. Was it before Roe v Wade and women were dying from pregnancy complications and botched abortions? No, you’re pro-life. Was it when marriage equality only applied to heterosexuals? No, love is love, right? Was it when we started sending our soldiers across the world to fight for oil, while ignoring global climate concerns and the advancements towards sustainable energy? No, we’re still doing that.
You roll your eyes and tell me it’s not like that. You either can’t answer me or you won’t. You tell me it’s not about all the hateful things that are being spread, you’re not like that. People are just ready for a change. A change? What type of change? Lower taxes, less regulations, more American jobs, that kind of change? I get it, I do. More money makes for an easier, happier life. But I wonder how well you sleep knowing you chose a shaky promise of more money over your neighbors’ – your own family’s – basic human rights and needs. And yes, I say basic needs because feeling safe and loved are basic needs and this election, especially the results, have cost many to lose one or both of those.
Did you forget about your lesbian periods? Did you forget we have a Haitian immigrant in-law? Did you forget that he’s a doctor and all those times you called on him for help? Did you forget the number of women and girls in our family that have been raped and sexually assaulted? Did you forget we have a biracial relative? Did you forget we have a number of people in this family with disabilities? Did you forget your Jewish grandparents fled to the US from Romania to escape Hitler? Did you forget the passion and anger you’ve always expressed over the mistreatment of Native Americans because somewhere down the line they are our ancestors? Did you forget who your family is?
I keep thinking that this will get easier. That I won’t want to scream at you when I see you. That when you hug me or tell me you love me that I won’t question it. That it won’t make me want to cry. I keep thinking I’m weak because I don’t think I can be around you right now. I don’t know how to be your daughter, your sister, your cousin, your niece. I owe it to everything this country was built on and progressed to, I owe it to our ancestors who fought to come to this country and built up our family to what it is today, I owe it to every American who feels like this country has betrayed them, and I owe it to myself as I feel like my family has betrayed me to sit across the table from you and engage you in conversation about the political and social happenings in our country, to explain to you the impact of your decisions, and to ask you to explain your reasoning in a way that I can understand. I need to understand how you explained to your biracial daughter that you were taking her white brother to a Trump rally. How you explained to her that he was dressing as Trump for Halloween and she would be ‘one of his ladies.’ I need to understand how you can say ‘If women want to be treated like ladies, they should act like ladies’ in defense to sexual assault and not feel ashamed, knowing the number of survivors we have in our family. I need to understand how you can justify rape with ‘it’s not like its murder.’ I need to understand how you can say that when your own daughter was raped at a young age. I need to understand how you can teach your 9 year old to chant Trump when his brother is a cancer survivor and will suffer disabilities the rest of his life. I need to sit at that table with you and I need you to make me understand. It is my responsibility to not stand idly by while you, willingly or not, spread hate and fear with no effort to correct it. But I feel caught. You’re not listening. You flat out refuse to hear anything that could potentially shake your stance. You don’t want to be informed, you want to feel justified. You don’t want to have a conversation, you want me to be quiet and ‘let it go.’
So, no, I won’t be coming home for Christmas. I need this time to regroup and collect myself. I need to find a new way to talk to you, a way you might actually hear because I won’t be silenced. This matters. It’s important enough to damage some relationships. It’s bigger than me and it’s bigger than you. I will come home soon. Hopefully it won’t take too long for home to feel like home again. For the lessons I learned from the people I love that made me who I am today to overpower the sense of loss and being lost that is currently consuming me. I’m not asking us to agree, I know we won’t always, but I need to understand how you expect me to be a part of this family when you refuse to understand the impact of your choice.
I love you still. Merry Christmas.