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Things I’ve decided

  • If I were hispanic, my name would be Ignacio. My friends would call me Nacho.
  • I guess that’s only one thing, but give me a break will you? It’s been a rough weekend. Gig Harbor is every bit as bad as I remember it. I spent my days being bored, and my nights discussing politics with my dad or listening to him fight with my little brother. You’d think I’d be used to my dad’s particular brand of rhetoric after living with it for a good 18 years (“because you aren’t in charge, I am!”), but I still can’t stand him yelling at Alex. Alex is a lot like me, in that he’s stubborn, but he’s never figured out how to get what he wants from his parents and other authority figures. Poor kid. It’s gotten so that I get a stress headache every time one of them even says hello to the other.

    I learned fairly early in life not to oppose my parents’ political views, and in fact never questioned them until well into my adolescence. It’s not that I was sheltered or weak-willed; I just never saw cause to disagree with them. I’d join my dad in trash-talking those damn bleeding-heart liberals (the adjective and the noun are synonymous with my father) in DC, shaking my head in frustration every time a Republican-opposed bill passed the house. Besides that, I saw my older sister adopt her own set of radically different beliefs, and watched my parents’ misguided attempts to return her to the fold of conservatives. Sometimes the schemes they’d come up with were just bizarre. For example, Jenn announced over a relatively short time period that she was no longer eating meat, and that abortion was A-OK with her, both of which had my parents tearfully browsing baby pictures and wondering where they’d gone wrong. My mom’s solution was to point out a conflict in my sister’s two abhorrent beliefs, destroying at least one in the process. The logic went something like this: if Jenn favored safe, legal abortions, she must therefore also agree with the death of helpless chicken embryos and start eating eggs again, thus vanquishing her rebellious vegetarianism once and for all. Needless to say, the plan didn’t work, and I still don’t understand why they had such a vested interest in her eating habits in the first place.

    I occupy a somewhat unique position among the children in my family when it comes to dissent. Because my parents are so gol-dern proud of me, they can’t simply rebuff my errant views offhand, and sometimes they even have to see things my way. I decided to show my dad exactly what $40,000 of college education on the west coast buys one these days, hurling daggers of liberalism, socialism, and pacifism straight into his heart. On the slow drive back to Gig Harbor on Thursday, the conversation inevitably turned to the war. I wasn’t going to say anything, but he asked my directly how I felt about it. “Dad, I’m a college student. I feel the same way every college student in America feels about the war.”

    I launched into a diatribe about dangerous legal precedents, unchecked executive power and aggression, and greedy American imperialism. This last he had the biggest problem with, being raised with the fallacy of a just world, a world in which people get what they deserve, where the richest people in the country or the world are necessarily the hardest working. “Dad, do you really think that the Afghani people make a tiny percent what Americans do because they’re all lazy? Don’t you think it has something to do with where they were born, and their culture, and the way the most powerful nation on the planet exploits them for its own benefit?” He had to think about that one, which encouraged me.

    So over dinner I threw out the idea that America should have a salary cap, just like the Major Leagues. “That’s socialism, Zach!” He seemed shocked such a belief would ever enter my head. “Of course it is, and it’s not such a bad thing. Are you telling me someone who makes five million a year needs all that? Do they need that third yacht more than someone else needs a kidney transplant?” He had to think about that one too. Overall, I think I put a tiny dent in his conservative armor. Not much, but a start. Of course, not even I’m foolhardy enough to bring up abortion. I’m telling you they don’t make sticks long enough for me to touch it with.

    Posted in Musings.


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