I am just now returning from the second gathering of my immediate family, immediate to me at least, my siblings and their offspring (as well as at least one of our parents) in seven weeks. In May, we gathered in New York for my third eldest niece’s Bat Mitzvah. This past weekend, we celebrated my Mom’s 75th birthday in San Diego.
What distinguished these two weekends from past such gatherings was the near absence of political (for lack of better word) confrontations. In our family, the partisan divide falls neatly along gender lines, with the men Republicans, the women Democrats (but the sisters-in-law tend to vote Republican while the brothers-in-law lean left, but not dogmatically so).
(The absence of political disagreements made these weekends more enjoyable, far more enjoyable, than the typical family get-together.)
Anyway, it reminded me how well we can all get along if we refrain from discussing politics. I love my Mom and both my sisters and share much in common with all three. My Mom and I both love art and had a wonderful day on Saturday with my third eldest nephew (her grandson) at the San Diego Museum of Art where we saw an amazing exhibit, Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece. (I could see it again, even found material for the current chapter of my dissertation in the depictions on the various vases.)
My more liberal (and politically active) sister shares my passion; she is a first-rate mother. And then there’s my San Francisco sister to whom I’ve become particularly close since I joined her in the Golden State. She has become a good listener (and a good friend), sympathetic to my “plight” as a single man. And her first-born is helping her learn the maternal skills her elder sister enjoys.
I say all this because I wonder if some of our critics, who often show the same passion for politics as does the elder (of my) sister(s), also have some of the qualities my liberal siblings possess, that they too are good brothers, sisters, devoted children or loving parents or like yours truly a doting uncle (or aunt). I try sometimes to see through their harsh commentary to imagine the person beneath and hope sometimes that through posts like this one they can see the humanity behind my on-line political persona. (more…)