My wife and I instituted a hard boundary with my parents like seven or eight years ago around talking about politics – namely, that they’re not allowed to around us. No oblique mentions, no little side comments – nothing. (My Dad, mostly … my Mom is a reasonable conversation partner, and willing to listen … my Dad just steamrolls.) It has saved our relationship with them, and indeed made it really nice to hang out with them. Their toxic politics aside, they’re lovely and interesting people. Also, though, I hear from my sister about the crap my Dad is constantly emailing her, and we’re watching it track over time ever more toward the loony end of things, and it’s deeply troubling.

There’s a dissonance in being aware of something but having agreed to pretend it’s not a thing. That manifests in me as a reluctance to call them on the phone when I’m feeling vulnerable about things, or when there’s a tough moment in our country. I didn’t call them for like a month after the insurrection. But then I started again and it’s been lovely! And it would’ve been fine if I’d called them on Jan 7th also … the question is, really, do I have the wherewithal to pretend there’s not something wrong. In less-resilient moments it’s just too depressing, and so I punt. It’s not perfect, but it’s probably the best we can do, and I think it’s okay.

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