Houses Divided

Kelly hung up on her mom today.

Kelly's mom had turned the conversation to politics, perhaps accidentally but not at all innocently. It's Super Tuesday, so I guess politics was in the air.

It seems that my mother-in-law knows that a Democrat in the White House is better than a Republican for her family. A Democrat would be better for son with his union job, she admits. A Democrat would be better for her daughter with her preexisting condition, she concedes. A Democrat would be better for all of her grandchildren with their college ambitions, she confesses.

My mother-in-law didn't profess ignorance of political reality to my wife. No, Kelly's mom admitted that a Democratic president, whether Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, would be best for her children and grandchildren, but she still prefers one of the Republicans.

You see, the GOP frontrunner wants to put the black and brown people in their places (which, in my mother-in-law's mind, is a ghetto and south of the US border, respectively). As a bonus, the GOP frontrunner is the kind of old fashioned misogynist my MIL adores, the kind of vulgar man that focuses on how a woman looks over her intellectual abilities--a mindset Kelly's mom worked hard but ultimately unsuccessfully to foist upon my wife, a view she now seeks to force upon her granddaughters.

I know that my mother-in-law is a scared old woman, but I also know that she has been a bigoted piece of work for all the decades I have known her. Kelly has periodically cut her mom's poison out of her life, but a sense of devotion Kelly clearly didn't inherit from her maternal side has always brought her back to the relationship. 

I could almost forgive my mother-in-law if she thought that bigotry and unbridled nationalism would somehow benefit her children and grandchildren. That wouldn't make make me okay with supporting the candidate of tall walls and middle school putdowns, mind you, but I know many good people commit acts of evil in a vain hope of assisting the ones they love.

I just can't see a way to forgive choosing bigotry over the ones you love.

I know that bigotry is chosen over love over and over again in this world, in ways far worse than a mother fighting with her adult daughter over an election. Gay kids are still kicked out of their parents' homes. Interracial couples are still disowned by their extended families. Women and girls are abused by husbands and fathers. Religion justifies violence between faiths and oppression within communities.

Yes, bigotry is chosen over love many times every day, but I still don't have to tolerate Kelly's mom being so damn clear about the choice she's making.

I'm proud of my wife for hanging up the phone.