Fighting Dirty

 

 

 

 

 

It was my poopy-faced brother’s fault. Really. I didn’t intend for my mother’s birthday party to become a battle field. In fact, I’m a firm believer that a person should be able to relax during such a celebration…especially when she turns 94!! But well…it’s election season and everyone seems to be pretty fired up. Or at least, that’s the excuse I’m going to use.

Here’s what happened:
I was washing the dishes after a gut bursting meal (how many apple pies can one person eat at one sitting?) when my brother said, “Loey (they call me Loey, it’s sad but true) we have to talk.” I knew right off it wasn’t going to be good. See…I’m pretty conservative in a lot of my views, but honestly, in some circumstances, there’s no way to be conservative enough. That’s when he started telling me how he marched into J.C. Penny’s and demanded that they take his name off the mailing list because…you guessed it…there were two gay men (that wasn’t his exact terminology) in one of their ads. He followed that up by telling me the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, segued into abortions, then zoomed into environmental issues, informing me that global warming is a lie perpetrated by the liberal left.

I’m a pretty soft spoken person generally. Truly I am. But about ten minutes into the conversation I realized that we had cleared the room. At some point  he told me to get my finger out of his face. I corrected his grammar, laughed at his lack of logic, and eventually began calling names. I kid you not, I was like an out of control five year old in a playground battle. And I’m not entirely sure why. Yes, we have a gay cousin whom I care deeply about, yes, I believe in a woman’s right to choose, and true enough, environmental problems bother me enough to keep me awake nights. Still, I’m a grown up and surely should be able to state my opinions without going insane. But will I call him and apologize? Ahhhh, no. Do I wish I had been less ummmm effusive? Not really. So what does that tell us? Is it family that makes people crazy? Is it elections? Is it a deep seated concern for the direction this country is going? Or am I just nuts?

And how about you? Are you a dirty fighter? Any advice to give me for the next encounter?

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24 Responses to Fighting Dirty

  1. I love the cartoon with your post, Lois! And…your post made me chuckle…then blush with a bit of embarrassment. because not two days ago, one of our grown sons was here, and I was stunned—STUNNED–to learn that he has political views completely the opposite of ours. I couldn’t believe he was so misguided–and went right into Mom mode, pointing our where he was wrong, wrong, wrong. Bad mommy. Bad, bad. In retrospect, he has every right to his own views without a bossy person trying to lecture him into submission! I have resolved to not enter into political debates ever again with family, because we all have hot buttons, and mine are much more sensitive during this election than they’ve ever been before!

    • cindygerard says:

      Plus Rox – his views are probably rightl! Good on him. Sorry – couldn’t resist since I know you and I differ politically speaking. XOXOX

  2. lizkflaherty says:

    LOL. My husband have stayed married by quietly going our own ways concerning anything political. The saving grace is that in 41 years, he has veered a little left (“Who CARES who marries whom and, more to the point, WHY do they care?”) and I’ve developed some right tics (Late term abortion when health isn’t an issue? Nah, not so much.) I do have one brother that I just allow to go on (and on) because I’m convinced he sounds like an idiot and I look like the wise golden child by staying out of the ring with him.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      🙂 You are wise, wise, wise.

      I have a sister who can not only skirt every issue but she can save ME from my own undoing. As my brother was walking out the door….out the door…he had one more parting shot. (Note, I don’t even see him once a year) and my sister sidled in to distract him. It was a thing of beauty. Of course, I had called her and told her things were going south and if there was to be no bloodshed, her presence was required. Thank God for sisters.

  3. Lois Greiman says:

    I try really hard not to argue with my kids. We carefully discuss, but honestly our views are all pretty close together. I guess I don’t argue with them because children are sacred. Brothers…uhhh, nope.

    Before this fracas began, I asked Mom if it was going to bother her. She said, “oh no.” But she didn’t hang around long. Sorry Mom.

  4. michelehauf says:

    And that’s why I love you so much. 🙂

  5. Linda says:

    I have just learned to never discuss politics with family members and rarely with people who I know have polar opposite views of mine. Though have to admit that it is hard to walk away from sister when she starts to spout things I know not to be true. But since I do not get together with my family very often it is a good way to keep the peace.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      Does it seem to be getting harder and harder to keep the peace though or is that just me?

      • Linda says:

        It is getting harder. I think it has to do with there being no compromise. I fully admit to being a conservative liberal, so the fringe of both views drives me to the brink.

  6. Nora Braun says:

    Definitely family that makes you crazy — and reminds you who you are! I’m not a fighter but definitely know how to put on a good sulk. It always seems when family gets together that we each slip back into our roles from growing up, a good thing for big families so there’s a middle child peacemaker like your sister to step in :-). You can choose your friends but not family, so send your brother a note: I smile because I’m your sister….and I laugh because there’s nothing you can do about it!

    • Lois Greiman says:

      But Nora, he’s going to send me scriptures in an attempt to uphold his nasty, homophobic, head in the sand, no logic whatsoever ways. Can’t I just poke him in the eye instead???

      • Nora Braun says:

        Sure — just buy him an eyepatch too! Really, people with such illogical views can’t really be argued with logic. Have you noticed that with politics and religion the same passage can be interpreted for totally opposite positions?! Don’t let him make you crazy 🙂

  7. It’s hard, especially when I see my niece (age 28) and my nephew (age 25) who are very conservative in their leanings. They grew up with all these rights they are so casually willing to give up. A woman’s right to choose? Outlaw it. They don’t remember the “good old days.” I write contemporary romance. Yes, there are sex scenes but I don’t write erotic. You’d never know that by the way my niece’s face gets red at the mention of my books! I am sure they pray for my heathen soul every night.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      Sigh. I fear my soul might be forfeit, too, because I’m not nearly eager enough to damn all kinds of people to hell for being different than we are. Craziness!!

  8. superauntkx9 says:

    Oh I am so glad there are other out there who have these kinds of problems at family gatherings. I try not to get into the middle of them, but alas it happens and then it turns it to antoher happy family donnybrook, with out the fists and stuff.. Just the yelling…

    • Lois Greiman says:

      Insane! It’s just insane. I could have sworn I wasn’t that kind of person but…huh. I’m hoping it’ll ease up a little after the elections??

  9. Ah, Lois, I’m afraid your dilemma is common throughout the country. My one and only brother has become so extreme that he can’t stand to talk to anyone who has the slightest liberal odor about her, which he can detect over the phone from Delaware to Minnesota. We haven’t spoken in months, and it isn’t because I want to talk politics with him, not in the least. It’s that offensive odor. It makes me very very sad because I will always love my brother. We’re close in age and were buddies as kids. Not fair! My sister and I are of the same political bent, so we’re good. I have to wonder what Daddy would have to say. He was career military, an Eisenhower Repub insofar as he had any leanings. (“The president is my Commander-in Chief no matter what.”) But I think the Eisenhower or the Lincoln Republican no longer exists. What really concerns me is that we need two viable parties for our system to work, and people should be able to discuss the issues and come to some sort of balanced approach. That isn’t happening. Moderate legislators have either been squeezed out or they’re throwing in the towel. You have to wonder what someone like Olympia Snow has been through in recent years. I wish people would notice that beyond our borders extremism is causing buckets of blood to be shed every day.

    • Lois Greiman says:

      It’s scary isn’t it. I feel that we’re not that far apart in most things…sometimes…but the details make people so crazy we can’t seem to see to the big picture.

  10. kylie brant says:

    Oh, Lois, I just love you 🙂 Is there anything more inflammatory than talking politics? I’m plenty opinionated in my views but…there is something about siblings that have all normal rules of discourse flying out the window. It is perfectly understandable that we revert to five year olds as we disagree…there’s just something about families that have us slipping into roles that were cemented in our childhoods. I’ve given up trying to understand it.

    We spent our adult lives trying to convince my mom these were discussions, not arguments. I think my brother who is more conservative than the rest of us is just naturally a much quieter kinder guy, LOL so he doesn’t say much. And when his wife starts in with her ultra extremist views, I go silent, because hey I don’t see her often enough to make an issue of it–I just silently call her a moron a dozen times in my mind. But she doesn’t get far before the rest of the siblings jump in…along with my 88 year old father, LOL. Families are guaranteed crazy-makers!

  11. Cindy Gerard says:

    Frankly – I love a good knock down drag out political debate – as long as I’m an observer, not a participant. LOL.
    But on a more serious note, we are in a sad place in our country when most of our information about the political agenda is filtered through a a biased news media – be it left or right – that attaches their own political spin to sway public opinion and get ratings. I HATE that. That’s why I love the debates. we are hearing from the candidates – not what the NEWS machine has interpreted or misrepresented the candidate’s position to be. It’s no wonder the country is so polarized.
    I wish labels like conservative or liberal had never come in to play – I think we’d all find we have a lot of common ground to stand on and all play nice together and get something done … like, oh, I don’t know. A budget???

  12. I’ve always believed that anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for…;-) Having said that, I’ve become an expert at fighting on my own terms. Rarely will I allow someone to goad me into a fight unless I know I’ll win. Otherwise, I bide my time and hit them where it hurts the most and when they least expect it. Of course this doesn’t include verbal sparring…because as long as you stay in control, that can be a ton of fun…especially when you know someone is working very hard to make you lose control. Nothing pisses them off more than self control…usually because the other party has none.

  13. taurus says:

    I love a good debate, but there are just some subjects where agreement isn’t going to happen..
    After many years of arguing with my mother about a certain subject, I finally told her I refused to talk about it any more, Whenever she would bring it up, I would tell her I wasn’t going to talk about it and walk away. I now apply this rule to family and friends. Beats wanting to bang my head against the wall!

  14. leannebanks says:

    lol This is too hot for me!:)

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