Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Mother's Political House

I spent the last four days at my mother's house in California. My mother is not from there. My mother grew up in Pennsylvania. I only mention this because the following post is about her opinions. Geography is sometimes relevant to things like opinions.

My mother's roommate is my brother's mother-in-law. Read it again and it will be clear. My brother and his wife and their son live a few miles from the two grandmothers. The grandchild was a big motivating force in this arrangement. The other was divorce. Both women divorced their husbands around the same time. So my mother's roommate completes a duo that is half cheering section, half partner in crime.

The two of them each have their own chairs and they sit next to each other in these chairs. The chairs recline, so with four feet facing the couch with me on it, my mother reads the paper and her sidekick listens and comments and supports. There are no dissenting opinions in the chairs.

I always lay on the couch and read or watch tv and tune out most of the political rhetoric. I grew up with it. I can almost comment without even hearing the subject specifically. We are a tribe of die-hard liberals. Instead of stories, in my family's house, people talk politics.

It was inevitable but still I was surprised by it. The news story turned out to be a piece about guns. Something about a person getting accidentally shot in a bad part of town. My mother read the story and then began talking about the evils of guns. Her sidekick agreed and they talked about guns for a little bit and how all guns need to be illegal.

I'd like to say that I stood up and educated my mother on the 2nd amendment. I'd like to say that I at least told her that I have been shooting. Hell, I'd like to say I said a lot of things. But I didn't. I said nothing. Not one word.

The conversation turned to the next story and I justified my silence with my mother's age and the fact that telling her about the shooting would lead to a serious conversation about me, my journey, my brother, even my cigarette habit and I was terrified to have it. In that moment I was a complete coward and it was clear to me just how far I have to go.

Now I feel a strange mix of shame and determination in regard to communicating with my mother. She is not the easiest woman to speak with because she cries a lot. I could probably list forty more excuses for why I avoid the tough subjects with her, but they are just excuses. I know I have to have many conversations with her, one of which is definitely a discussion of guns and how they, and their enthusiasts, have helped me and changed my life.


Blogger AlanDP said...

Family are usually the hardest people to discuss differences of belief with. You should see what happens when a family somehow splits on religion. It gets nasty.

31/12/05 6:49 PM  
Blogger redmemory1 said...

I know something about a family splitting on religion. Our arguements may be yet another reason my family is anti-gun.

31/12/05 7:13 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Some battles are not worth engaging in.

Congratulate yourself on recognizing one of them.

And Happy New Year to you as well!

1/1/06 3:12 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Sometimes, those discussions are best left alone. Unfortunately, I can't always exercise the restraint you showed when it comes to my own family...

5/1/06 2:19 PM  
Blogger Firehand said...

There are things I won't argue with my folks about. Not worried about breaking up the family or anything, it's just that a: we're not going to agree on them and b: not worth causing upset to argue about them.

Like Kevin said.

10/1/06 4:17 PM  

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