My cousin said to me once: “We want to believe what we want to believe.”
This was right before Mr. Trump was elected President.
After my cousin said that, I was unsurprised that Mr. Trump was elected. He was elected out of fear and anger and shame and grief. He was elected by people who are afraid that people rising out of discrimination will take things from them. Lower their standard of living. They are afraid that they will have to give things up.
A friend was working on my boat. He said that if I paid in cash, it would be less. Because, unspoken, he would not report the income. I thought about it. I said, “My medical practice is mostly medicare and state insurance. That is paid for out of our taxes: yours and mine. Therefore I am giving you a check and I don’t care if it costs more.”
There is a big culture here of not paying taxes. Cheat the government. Pay cash to each other, nod, nod, wink. It is tempting, takes a percentage off what I pay. But…. the people who I know are doing this are mostly conservative. They say drain the swamp. They say the government is cheating us. But THEY are cheating all of us.
I asked my cousin why he and my maternal family believed a story masterminded by my sister. That my father and my neice’s father and I were villains. One of the villainies was the our grandmother’s money had paid for MY graduate school but not my sister’s graduate school.
But that is not true. My grandmother paid four years of medical school tuition. 21K. I paid my own loans.
After my grandmother died, and then my mother died, my father used “my grandmother’s money” to pay off my sister’s graduate school loans. 36K. My parents also cosigned on a house, that my sister walked away from. They wrote 30K off thier taxes that year selling it. My father bailed her out of 7K on a work credit card. My father called me crying when she bullied him out of another 30K for another house. And that is when I said to her ENOUGH. I refused to visit for a year: until she went into hospice for her cancer. I visited three times while she was in hospice. We made peace. But she did not tell anyone else the truth.
I said to my cousin that I could send the bank statements showing that my father paid for my sister’s graduate school. That is when he said, “No. We want to believe what we want to believe.”
I thought really? So you want to believe my sister because she is dead. We will not speak ill of the dead, so you are ok with me and my father and my niece’s father being villainized and you will not even look at the lies.
VOTE and VOTE against FEAR, SHAME, DISCRIMINATION, ANGER AND GRIEF. We have to stand up. I loved my sister even when she was dishonest and bounced 1000$ worth of checks in my small town with people I knew. My father got threatening phone calls and he paid. That was the last straw for me.
So guess which politician stirs up fear and hate and discrimination and anger and grief? Well, honestly, both sides are guilty of that, but I stand against discrimination. We all shall rise up.
Love and Blessings and Peace you.
The photograph is on one of the last three visits to my sister. She died in March 2012.
“We want to believe what we want to believe” seems to be the slogan for much of the country these days. Having a purveyor of “alternative facts” in the White House from 2016-20 (and four more to come?) moved that along.
My maternal family identifies as “liberal”. But it turns out that intellectual intelligence is not the same as emotional intelligence.
Just before my uncle died ( he was the last living member of my fathers generation) he made me promise not to get involved in an ancient family feud over a small burial plot. The argument had been going on for about four generations, and nobody was sure why it had started except it was about who got to be buried there. Families are perverse, and fight over idiotic things. they don’t know when to just walk away, or admit that they really don’t know the facts.
There is a story about a brilliant physician. He would kick his dog when he was upset. The dog died and he became abusive to family members. The author said that before he goes to accept an award, he throws something on the floor and says “I hate this.” because otherwise he gets a swollen ego and behaves badly to someone. Me, I have a heavy bag in the garage. It does come in handy.
I studied anthropology for pretty much the same reason. And while ruminate on it, and sometimes do a bit of pontificating, I am also mystified.
The thing that really amazes me is that not one of them has asked for my side of the story in the decade since my sister died. And last summer a cousin said to my face “Why would cousin T communicate with someone who tried to steal from their niece?” I can’t repeat my reply on a family friendly blog, but I walked away. And I have another friend who has lost both parents and another family member in a year, and he is being sued by a sibling over the estate. Money makes humans crazy. Or rather greed makes humans crazy.
I don’t know why, but many families develop narratives like this. Mine certainly has. They thrive on only partial knowledge of events, resentment of supposed favoritism, and of course money. Faulkner had it nailed years ago.
Weird isn’t it? I chose family medicine because I wanted to understand why “normal” people frequently do completely horrible things to people they say they live. I am still mystified.