Posted by lex, on October 31, 2006
There’s an article in the style section of the New York Times today touching on the depth of anger on the left – an anger so deep it threatens to pull families apart.
FOR years, Sheri Langham looked at the Republican politics of her parents as a tolerable quirk, one she could roll her eyes at and turn away from when the disagreements grew a bit deep.
But earlier this year, Ms. Langham, 37, an ardent Democrat, found herself suddenly unable even to speak to her 65-year-old mother, a retiree in Arizona who, as an enthusiastic supporter of President Bush, “became the face of the enemy,” she said.
“Things were getting to me, and it became such a moral litmus test that all I could think about was, ‘How can she support these people?’ ” said Ms. Langham, a stay-at-home mother in suburban Virginia.
The mother and daughter had been close, but suddenly they stopped talking and exchanging e-mail messages. The freeze lasted almost a month.
Well, no. It’s not explicitly about the angry left, not in so many words. But as Josh Trevino points out *, it’s just that all the really angry people in the article are on the left side of the political spectrum. You’ve probably seen them on the highway sporting those, “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention” bumperstickers.
I try to pay attention. I do. It’s just that I can’t quite manage the outrage – or at least, I can’t manage it against the folks they want me to be outraged at. Disappointed at times, but very rarely outraged.
How does the Times article treat those on the right? Well they’re more like those folks who cross the street to avoid being badgered by the scary raving homeless guy:
Silvy Brookby, an algebra teacher in Kansas City, Mo., was once amused by the liberal banter she heard at the school lunch table from her colleagues, and often countered with a Republican perspective of her own… “Recently, I have withdrawn,” she said. “I’ve been like: ‘I can’t do it anymore. Let me sit here and eat my chicken tetrazzini.’ ”
Still, hope springs eternal. Ms Langham has – if not quite forgiven the political preferences of her mother – a woman who brought her forth into the world in pain, and cared for her when she was small and helpless, and scrimped and saved (one presumes) to set her off on her own in life – she has at least agreed to let her mom know what the source was of the sudden coldness that had crept into their relationship:
“She was the one person I knew who still believed in these people,” Ms. Langham continued. So, she said, “for a month we didn’t call each other, didn’t e-mail, and she did sense something was wrong.”
“I had to explain to her, finally, where I was coming from,” she said. “In a way, she was relieved. But I think she probably now views me as even more of a progressive nut job than before.”
** 09-06-20 Link gone; no replacement found – Ed.