I received an email from Mom this morning that pissed me off. She had forwarded Pat Buchanan's 'The White Side of the Story of Negroes'.
The letter says that Pat Buchanon was no longer staying silent and this was a letter to Barack Obama. Whites have done enough for blacks, Pat says. Untold trillions of dollars have been spent, programs created, apologies made. It's time for a change.
This letter was supposed to be from 2013. Similar examples of Pat Buchanan's refusal to stay quiet can be found going back for years. He would no longer stay silent in at least 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Perhaps this is all the same article, as I've answered Mom on these points and so I was familiar with them.
I prepared to answer Mom, again. No where else in the world, Pat says, do blacks have it so good. 600,000 slaves were brought from Africa and have swelled to a population of 40,000,000 so they must not have it too bad. Sure, they were brought here as slaves, uprooted from their lives, but what what the hell, that was hundreds of years ago, right? How long must whites apologize for doing that, right? Blacks were introduced to Christian salvation, Pat says, and he is a shining example of Christian salvation. He gives and gives and gives, which is why he wrote this article to complain that we've given enough.
Pat cited all the great programs created for blacks' benefits, you know, like food stamps and earned income credit, Pell Grants, student loans, section 8 housing, housing assistance, and legal aid. All that was for the blacks! Yes, because there are no whites using those benefits - like my Mother was never on food stamps. My sisters never had student loans, and they and their families never checked the earned income credit on their income tax forms. No, those were black only programs!
I've debated and discussed this with Mom and my sisters before. Now I warred with myself over what's the use against refusing to let this ignorance go unanswered. Indignant, I thought, yes, Mom, just throw a switch and poof, bigotry and discrimination are vanquished. Throw the switch and all becomes equal.
I thought of her and her many divorces. Did she not see how things do not change by a piece of paper or even a decision? Forty plus years after divorcing my Father, she's still angry with him.
Just throw the switch, Mom, I thought.
I realized then that I'm addressing my Mother. She's enumerated her 'reasoning and logic' before about why blacks have it so much better than whites and how as a white, she was mistreated and hated by blacks in the VA Hospital where she worked.
This is Mom, though. Much as I love her, smart as she is, she has certain characteristics.
I've heard her stories about how 'so and so' acts toward her. I've been present, witnessing confrontations and saw that Mom's account of what happened had large differences between what I saw and heard.
People who work with witnesses won't be surprised. Our recording mechanisms are imperfect, defined by genetics as well as life experiences, knowledge and emotions.
Mom lacks an empathy gene. I shouldn't be too surprised. I met her Mom a few times when I was young but never really knew her. Mom described her Mother as cold, hard and remote. I see how my Mom can sometimes be described that same way. I've been described as that, myself. I know when cold, hard remote Michael emerges, although I don't always recognize he's there until afterward.
I doubt that I'll ever change Mom's mind about blacks and equality, or gays and lesbians and equality, and a number of other issues. I don't believe she's wired that way. Weary and saddened but no longer pissed with Mom -- just irked with her that we can't find that switch and throw it to change her mind -- I deleted the email.
It all reminds me of the rape trials where the woman is cited because she was 'asking for it', where her sexual history and activity is brought up because, you know, rape is sex, right?
It reminds me of the divorced men and women screaming about how gay and lesbian marriage is destroying the sanctity of marriage.
Recently, I heard some Conservatives claim that women working outside of the home was what caused our economic issues. Women working outside of the home are also responsible for our moral decay.
Or how about the current attacks on the unemployed because they enjoy the entitlements that come with being unemployed in America?
What of the cries by Christian commentators that there's a war on Christianity because equal voice is requested for other religions and philosophies?
How about the Republican in Louisiana, Andy Naquin, proposing a ban on the Gay Pride flag, arguing it should not be permitted because that's not why he fought in WW II. In other words, he did not fight for the freedoms that others enjoy, just his freedoms and points of view.
Is that what really defines America, that we fought for freedoms, rights and equalities that only some be permitted to enjoy?
So had to rant about my Mom. I love her but she drives me mad. Had to get it out of my system so I can write like crazy.
Meanwhile, I'll keep searching for that switch.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com