25 March 2008

Lions and tigers and families, oh my!

I want to know who really thinks that families in America are a threatened species.

I’m serious.

Just today I saw a headline which implied I could be either for Obama, or be for The Family. I couldn’t be for both. The implication was my vote for Obama will be a vote against The Family.

Does that mean if I vote for Obama I won’t have to endure another Christmas with the family ever again? Does that mean I won’t have to put up with family members I only endure because they’re family? I mean, these are people who I wouldn’t have as friends, but I’m stuck with them by virtue of being related.

Heheh. I’ll vote for Obama.

But really, this is ridiculous. American families aren’t under any sort of threat. Families have always been both close and acrimonious. Families have always stayed together – or blown apart. Usually it’s internal: quarrels, divorces, hurt feelings top the list of reasons families break up. Honestly, how I vote come Election Day won’t have any more than a brief and passing influence on my family – if it has any influence at all.

My Mom, who is with me in her dislike of Hillary Clinton, but against me in that she’ll vote blindly for John McCain by virtue of his being Republican, will probably forgive me for voting for Obama. She likes Obama too, but it’s that Republican thing, you know? I’m working on her.

Her vote will not make me love her less or like her more. I respect her right to vote for the person she thinks will be best as President. She respects me back. That's what reasonable people -- family or not -- do.

Now, if a Democrat wins the presidency – and we have a good shot at it this time – that won’t mean that The Family will disappear. Au contraire – my personal family has both fallen apart and reformed during the rule of both parties. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans had anything to do with what happened in my family.

If the party that believes in the separation of church and state is elected, it won’t mean that families will cease to be. As a liberal, I have no problem with people going to church if that’s what they like to do. But I don't want the church to get involved in the secular business of the state. It's great that the church works hard to keep families together, and that’s a good thing until it forces families to stay together when they'd be better off, individually, if they were to break apart. The doctrine that tells a woman to stay with an abusive husband because of the sanctity of marriage, for instance, is broken. It's bad. But generally, I’ve no problem with church people having families of their own. Bully for them.

I’d like them to let me do the same. Or not, if I prefer. But who I vote for, and my personal politics, don’t threaten The Family.

How about those wicked gays? Should we let them get married and form actual new families? Well, if we’re worried about the Demise of The Family, letting John and Joe get married if they love each other should be pretty smart. There! Another family, instantly! And if John and Joe get married, they aren’t going to threaten Bob and Linda and their two kids or make them break apart. John and Joe are happy that Bob and Linda have a family too. We’re all part of a big, happy family that way!

Saying that letting gay people get married will threaten The American Family is just stupid. I really wish we'd stop that.

And if we don’t want our kids to be forced to learn about the Christian version of creation or to forced to pray to the Christian god in school, how does that threaten The Family? I’d like to know. Christians are free to believe whatever they want. I won’t stop them if they want to believe in a Great White Father in the Clouds, or if they’d prefer to believe he made everything in the world in six days, then took a day off. (I would too, actually. That had to be hard work!) They can believe in the importance of the family and they're welcome to it. I believe it's important too, but not the be-all and end-all of civilization.

And in return for my respect for their belief, I expect them to respect my non-belief. Or, my belief in Allah instead. Or in Lakshmi. Or Buddha. Or the Goddess (whichever one is ‘in’ today). None of those beliefs, from Christianity to Goddess Appreciation to No Belief At All, threatens The Family in any way. In fact, they all celebrate the family and encourage people to love and care for each other.

So what is it with these silly headlines? Who are we afraid of?

Ohhhh right. Ourselves. And Obama.




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