james h.

I’ve always tried very hard to find silver linings, and to believe that truth, even ugly truth, is better than living with the false sense that everything is ok.

Through his comments, tweets, and actions over the last 5 years our country’s president slowly and systematically stirred the sleeping giants of racism, sexism, and nationalism (marked branded and sold as patriotism), along with countless other things, for the sole purpose of creating division and separation in our society. This separation infected our cities, our towns, our workplaces, our families, and our friendships.

My parents moved to remote northern Michigan 6 years ago. Perfect timing. You know the nutjobs who attempted to kidnap Michigan’s governor? They probably live just down the street. You can’t throw a rock where my parents live without hitting either a tree or an extreme-right militant. For the record, the trees are much easier to reason with, and much better listeners.

My dad has a shield of optimism that surrounds him at all times. He’s definitely where I get my eyes to see the silver linings. He’s kind, compassionate, and wise. If you needed it he’d give you the shirt off his back regardless of your race, sexual orientation or identity.

My mom, on the other hand, has always been … rigid. She’s intelligent, opinionated , and truly has no concern what anyone else thinks. These can be strengths as well, providing there is a balanced society to keep it in check. Key words being “balanced society.” Theirs is not, so as a result she has over the years morphed into someone I barely recognize, aside from the rigidity and outspokenness, which have taken a quantum leap into areas I’ve never heard her speak of previously.

In a conversation several months ago, while I sat speechless in shock, she rambled almost uncontrollably about how ridiculous the BLM movement is, and how “white lives matter” (yes, that is a disgusting direct quote). I sat in horror until her rant was done, and she said “how’s Lupine?” I said, “She’s great. We marched together at a BLM protest a few days ago.” Then I made an excuse to get off the phone, but got right back on to call my sister. “Nicky! Nicky! Mom’s a fucking racist! Did you know we were raised by a fucking racist?!?!?” She said, “I think it was always there, but now she thinks it’s okay because the president is too.”

My mom and I never saw eye to eye. We disagree on practically everything, so I suppose logic would dictate that, my views being what they are, hers would be the opposite. That said, I guess there’s a part of me that always knew, but never confronted it.

Sadly my mom is only one example. Friends I’ve known over 40 years have also been emboldened by the careless disease of a would-be leader.

I still believe there is some good in nearly everyone. I need to.

I haven’t seen my parents in three years, and am going to see them for a week in April. I’m happy, but conflicted at the same time. I’m debating bringing a tent should I need to find alternate accommodations. Never thought I’d even have to consider something like that.

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