Sitting at my desk, I stare down my driveway. As usual, I am writing, correction, attempting to write my first “good” short story, when the door behind me explodes open. “Dad, where are you?” I turn halfway around in my swivel chair and look toward the living room. “In my office, what’s going on?” My daughter, Anna comes tearing into my workplace and throws herself into a chair. Crossing her arms, she glares at me. “I can’t stand Aunt Wilma! Or cousin Jane!” I swig some Mountain Dew and wait for her to get to the meat of the matter.
Anna pats her foot and continues to scowl in my direction. “You can’t have a conversation with them about politics. I said something about immigration and suddenly, I am a bigot or hate junkie, a xenophobe or uncompassionate. It’s the most frustrating thing ever. I can’t believe I’m kin to these people!” I stop proofreading and turn to my daughter. “Have you ever considered they’re people? They have their own likes and dislikes. People vote for candidates which match their own personal beliefs. Arguing over what the president does or doesn’t do is futile. At the end of the day, the President, whether male or female, is only a human being. They make decisions which impact our world, but they aren’t given the answers to all things. Cut your family some slack. If it bothers you this much, don’t talk about politics.”
Instead of comforting Anna, my words enrage her. “I am not going to quit talking about politics. It’s that mentality which led us here in the first place. They need to change their way of thinking and stop being stupid.” She leaps to her feet and stares at me. “I can’t believe you’re on their side. I’m you’re daughter, for God’s sake.” Spinning around, Anna storms out of my office. I hear the front door slam and then the rumble of the Mustang as she speeds away. Pushing back from my desk, I walk into the kitchen and take out pork chops for dinner.
As the sun eases down in the western horizon, the door opens. I watch as Anna comes up to the island and sits down. “Dad, I’m sorry I yelled at you.” I flip the pork chops over and turn the heat down to low. “Don’t worry about it, Anna. You’re passionate. I would caution you about giving in to your passion and allowing it to block your common sense though. No party has all the answers. Emotion doesn’t trump logic. When you’re starving to death, no one cares how much virtue signaling you do on social media. If a crisis develops, no one cares that you are a Republican or Democrat, the people who elected you, want you to act on their behalf.”
“But dad…” I shake my head. “No buts, Anna. When hard times hit, you can only count on your family. If your neighbors are kind enough to pitch in, then that is even better. In troubled times, such as the ones we live in now, all of us need to lay aside our political affiliation and be there for each other. It’s the only way we will pull through. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing our freedom, our personal liberty and our God-given rights.”
Anna shakes her head in disbelief. “I don’t believe that, dad.” I stand and remove the pork chops from the pan and put one on each plate. I spoon mashed potatoes on each plate and cover them with gravy. “I know, Anna. Wilma and Jane are good people, they have always been there for you. Regardless, of your personal belief sweetie, they love you and would do anything for you. Is it so important to be right that you isolate everyone who disagrees with you?”
Through a mouthful of mashed potatoes, Anna nods her head. “I’m not apologizing, dad.” I shrug. “Okay. John Wayne once said, “Life is hard, it’s harder when you’re stupid.” You may want to consider those words of wisdom.” Anna looks at me, shocked at what she just heard. “You think I’m stupid?” I shake my head. “No, but I think if everyone has the same attitude as you, we might as well wipe out humanity and start over again.”