I am getting so sick of this quote being used whenever you disagree with the current administration and its backers.
"Why do you hate America?"
"Do you want our troops to die?"
"Freedom isn't free."
The list goes on and on.
Look, I hate writing about politics. I REALLY hate it, but this trip has found me having to defend myself left and right.
As I mentioned before, my father-in-law watches Fox News for hours on end. I don't care that he does, but after a while, you get sick of hearing wild speculation about rapists, war, and more. During every segment, there was someone who disagreed with the host, and one of those questions was asked. "Why do you want America to be attacked again," was my favorite when the guest talked about how ridiculous flying regulations had become.
During my first clinical at the high school I now teach at, I met a kid who was from a poor family and struggled to graduate. He did graduate, but felt he had no other choice but to go into the Marines. Well, long story short, I recently heard from his mother that he lost his legs. It's devestating as he truly enjoyed playing basketball.
Now last night my in-laws invited their high school friends to come over and meet Poozer as well as see Mrs. Leab, who most of them haven't seen since our wedding.
Suffice to say, I was not allowed to hang out with the gals, because, well, I'm a guy. They horded my son as well, so I was supposed to spend my time with the guys.
As a side note, the gals really didn't like me, with one of them going on to tell my wife that maybe she, "could have married a nice guy from Missouri?" You can tell that she and I didn't really get along.
Off with the guys I went, but that didn't go so well either. Maybe it's because I'm a great deal more mature than these 50 year old guys. At one point the guys started discussing breasts. All of them married their high school sweethearts almost right out of high school. These were the first, and in some cases only, women they had snookered. That's not a bad thing, but my father-in-law, thanks to wife once telling him due to drunken idiocy, knew that I had been with other women, including my Ex.
"What's it like to be with gal with huge boobs?" he asked.
"Yeah," his buddy added," did you bury your head in them and have lunch?"
"It was fine. They were breasts," I replied. "I don't really think about it."
This led to me being viciously teased.
"Come on! What are you gay?" One of his friends asks me through his drunken slur.
I let the question sink in for a minute to see if he can figure out why it doesn't make sense.
Ten seconds later: "Well...are you?"
"Umm...I'm married...to HIS daughter...and I'm here with my SON. Does that sound like someone who's gay?"
"You don't have to be so defensive."
At this point, my father-in-law makes it clear to me that "the guys" want to be alone to discuss a hunting trip they're planning. So, I can't hang with the guys, and I'm not allowed near the girls.
I went and read. The only interruption was when I was asked to change my son and discuss the classes I teach. My tactics had one of the women telling me that she would sue me for, "mental anguish."
"You can't baby the kids forever. The real world isn't as forgiving as high school," I explained.
"But YOU don't need to teach the kids that," she replies.
"Who will? You? Your husband? How will these kids learn that you WILL fail if you don't try?"
"When they get older...."
I gave up. I didn't want to argue, which my wife was thankful for.
Now to the point. Everyone came back together for the final part of the party. A friend of my F-I-L brought up the war and started talking about the "whiny liberals who are against it," and how they are, "destroying America."
I admit that this is my fault, but in the few days I have been here, I have been bombarded with uninformed right wing opinions. Regardless of whether or not you are a Democrat, a Republican, a Liberal, a Conservative, or something else (and there are major differences among all of them), you need to be informed. I'm so sick of people just taking the spoon fed bullshit from the news stations or any part of the media and just repeating it without thinking about it. I was tired, angry, and feeling upset about this student. I made the mistake and engaged.
"They aren't the only ones hurting America. Uninformed know-it-all pundits are also a problem."
"What did you say?" (we'll call him) Aaron replied.
"Look, Liberals, Conservatives, pundits...they all shoot the shit and attempt to say things to rally their side and anger the other side. It's a giant game. They couldn't care less about the troops, just making sure that THEIR side is right."
"Well...why do you hate our troops, son? Don't you know that this kind of thinking is dangerous for them?"
"This is the bullshit I'm talking about. If I said, 'I think Bush was wrong,' then I'll be asked why, 'I hate America,' by someone. I don't hate America, and I don't hate our troops. I think they've been given a shitty setup. America's deal in Iraq is like the guy who gets the girl pregnant on prom night: You shouldn't have been fucking in the first place, but now you have to do the right thing."
After a stunned silence, one of the gals asked me, "What's the right thing?"
"Either pay for the abortion or help the girl give birth."
This brought horror to the entire crowd.
"People like you are the reason our troops are getting killed in Iraq..." started Aaron.
"Why? Am I the one shooting at them? Look, I got an email today about a kid I taught and how he lost his legs over there. He shouldn't have been over there, but he was, and he got hurt. His life is probably over as his family doesn't have the money to go get prosthetics. It sucks."
I took a breath and then continued.
"And why is it if I question authority or thinking that I hate the country or hate the troops? This country was founded on someone questioning the way things were run."
"That was different," I am told
"The terrorists are WINNING! People are afraid of other people who aren't white. We can't take anythingn on planes, and we're afraid to fly. We're even tapping our own phones."
I argued for a few more minutes until my wife grabbed my arm and excused us.
"Stop," she says to me when we get to our room. "Just stop."
"No. I did nothing wrong. I'm tired of hearing this. My family has been ragged on, my thoughts have been shot down, and I have been ostracized from both groups tonight. I can play the game, but not when I have to talk about boobs or hold my tongue about how happy the troops are to be in Iraq.",
We "discussed" things for a few more minutes. I apologized to my wife, but there was no way I would to anyone else. When we returned, the party was breaking up. People were going home. No one shook my hand, no one saiad goodnight to me. My Mother-In-Law was obviously still mortified with me as she couldn't look me in the eye.
Again, I don't think I did anything really wrong, but I had to apologize to everyone today, per my wife's instructions.
This is a difficult trip. I don't have the energy to take care of my son, and keep myself in check.
Even worse? My wife and her mom have been talking about us moving down here.
The Universe hates me.
Then again, what do I know? I apparently hate America. I could be wrong.
I'm really hoping to write about something a little more uplifting soon.