I know that I am not the only one who is at odds with family over political issues. My latest family feud began innocently enough—a phone call yesterday with my beloved big brother, and only remaining immediate family member, in Western Pennsylvania.
When Jack told me that the prescription drug he takes for recurrent heartburn falls into the Medicare donut hole, and that he is going without it until the next cycle of coverage begins, I told him that his little sister is supporting health care reform to close that very donut hole.
His response- “I DON’T WANT ANYONE CRAMMING SOMETHING I DON’T WANT DOWN MY THROAT.” Yes, his response was in caps. Ouch.
Here’s my dirty little secret, friends. Despite every low key, reasoned effort last year to convince my closest family that voting for Barack Obama was in their self interests and the morally right thing to do, I failed. My gun toting, deer killing, god loving family was not about to vote for Saddam Hussein’s Black Muslim kissing cousin.
I shouldn’t have been surprised at my brother’s response to “closing the donut hole.” I spent the month of August- open game season on Democratic congress members- experiencing up close and personal as well as in the media, all of my brother’s factually incorrect opinions and paranoia.
During the course of my conversation with Jack he told me that he got a small semi-automatic for his wife- it fits in her purse–because communist judges set thugs free to break into people’s homes in broad daylight; and that Hillary Clinton is responsible for the Medicare donut hole. Guns. The insidious work of Communism to erode our legal system. Hillary Clinton.
It is a good thing while blogging to keep in mind who may be reading your words. At this moment, I am thinking about my brother and his wife, who in addition to being people I love, are not stupid people. I think they are ignorant of the facts and I don’t think they are spending much time considering issues that affect them or the future of their family. Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck should not be the last word on health care reform or any other political issue, but they clearly are.
What ultimately takes my breath away is how easy it is to unleash a toxic cloud of misinformation and cruelty that seems to so easily cancel out the hard work of health reform policy making. Of course there is room for debate- but talk of death panels, communism and Hitler have become a horrifying freak show with nothing to do with how we pay for reform, how we make it just, how we implement it now.
I ended my conversation with “I’m going to cram health care reform down your throat. And I love you Brubs.” Family Feud- to be continued.