Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ah me, My Family

Spring Break has come and gone, and instead of exotic Germany this year, I spent it in not-so-exotic (but still very pleasant) Tucson, Arizona. There I met my cousin, and my mom and dad.

It was fun, if less than productive. I was hoping this week could be used to spur wedding plans, but alas, it was not to be. The only thing wedding-related that is DONE is that I have dance shoes now. That's it.

But, it was interesting talking to my dad; not interesting-good, more like interesting-frustrating-as-fuck. My dad, whom I love, and I do not agree on the nature of reality. Not in a general existential sense (although we disagree on that too) more like what facts ARE. For instance, we started talking about me going into law school, and I was talking about how much I enjoyed Constitutional Law. I made mention to the Bill of Rights, and how it wasn't actually designed to protect individual rights, it was designed to protect states: that states had to power to write laws against freedom of speech and such. He argued with me that wasn't true, that states couldn't go against the Bill of Rights. I said yes, now, but that's only after the 14th Amendment incorporating necessary rights to apply to citizens, and that the second amendment still hasn't been incorporated (although that may change). He argued with me, saying that no, they were all about individual rights. I just gave up at that point, although I didn't do it as gracefully as possible, so he was still mad at me because he (rightly) felt that I was humoring him.

Later, we were talking about welfare and taxes, and I was saying how I thought that it was retarded that we were getting a rebate when we were trillions of dollars in debt. He made the remark that I won't think that way when I have to pay real taxes ("like he does" went unsaid). I said that when I have to pay "real" taxes, I hope I remember how taxes helped me get to the ability to do that. He said "Like what?" I said things like roads, police, infostructure, school...he interrupted me and said that he had paid for my school (well, he paid for some of it). I said I meant K-12, and he said that he paid for that too, my school and every child of lazy parents. I said he contributed to it, but he pressed the point and I just let it go. I made mention that me and hubby will probably be taking advantage of HUD and food stamps, and that those will enable us to be able to make it into the middle, and upper middle class, and when I'm there, I want to extend the same courtesy to those after me. THAT got him really angry: he was railing about people who abused the system, and that he had a cousin that purposely got pregnant just to get a larger cheque of welfare. I said that the amount of money that you get off of welfare is not enough to raise a child, so that doesn't make any sense, and referenced the fact that food stamps, for instance, only gives you 122 dollars a month to live on. He said that people get THOUSANDS of dollars a month of food stamps. I stopped there, because he was really slipping into the racist/sexist mold, and it was just going to piss me off.

So, we couldn't even agree on things that are not uncontroversial, but easily verified facts. Nothing is going to convince my dad that the Bill of Rights was about what the state could do, originally, and nothing will convince him that the max amount of food stamps you can get is 919 dollars a month (and that's for a family of 10). I have no idea where these ideas come from. Nobody in their right freaking mind would have another child just to get a bigger welfare cheque. That is the dumbest thing that I have ever heard. "Let's make my life a million times more complicated by slutting around, risking STDs, so I can get pregnant, risking my health and my life, for a whopping 100 dollars more a month (which doesn't cover diapers), and many, many more hours of demand on my life, just so social services doesn't bother me. It's an asinine concept.

My dad is a smart man, but I swear to godless, he can be amazingly dense.


At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you ever tire of being angry all the time?

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not anger as much as it is the burden of being the only person in an ignorant world whose opinions are correct.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger The Red Queen said...

Ugh. I just had this kind of conversation with my very well off brother. He's like "But you're not really poor, you own a tv" No dude, I live on half of what the poverty level is. And I would gladly trade my 6 year old tv for universal healthcare or free college tuition. "But that's cause you CHOOSE to work part time" No dude, I've been looking for full time work for the last year. I have 3 friends who were just laid off. There is no work out there.
Family, can't live with them and can't avoid them at holidays.

At 12:21 AM, Blogger Teddy said...

If you can ever come up with an incredibly good reason, find some thing that a parent does that's just unmentionably stupid, i suggest you take offense to it publicly and declare you're not talking to them.

Seriously, you don't have to deal with them if you don't want to.


At 7:31 PM, Blogger The Chief said...

"Nobody in their right freaking mind would have another child just to get a bigger welfare cheque."

And therein lies the problem--you're assuming that they're in their right mind, or at least "their right mind" as somebody from your background or a similar one would interpret it.

If it's all you've known, if it's all most other people in your family has known for two or three generations, and if it provides a subsistence level if not spectacular standard of living--well, yeah. I'm sure having another kid and increasing your welfare check, your food stamps, your housing allowance, etc, etc, seems like the most natural thing in the world.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Goddess Cassandra said...

The Chief,

If that is true (and I'd need some serious documentation backing that one up) then we have a problem with systematic problem with poverty in this country that needs to be addressed, not cutting welfare funds.

I'm willing to conceed my background is not the same background as everyone else, however.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger The Red Queen said...

Chief- I'm a poor single mother from a long line of poor single mothers. Contrary to your opinion, our family has gotten smaller by half every generation. My grandmother had 4 kids, my mom 2 and I have one.

You might want to check your facts before repeating stupid conservative rhetoric. The myth of the Welfare Queen has been debunked over and over.

At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad and I disagreed on everything when I was in college. I used to push his buttons like you do with your dad. Oh, I would act like it was his inability to think that caused him to blow up. I was just educating him. How was I to know he was a social and political neanderthal? He died three years ago at 56 from a heart attack. I would honestly give anything just to sit in a room with him and not argue about completly stupid shit niether of us has any control over. I wish I could have seen that, while he could be wrong he also worked his ass off to keep a roof over our heads and food in our tummies. For this alone he deserved respect, i.e. being allowed to think he was right or at least that he had something worth saying.

My dad might have been easier to talk to if I asked him more about his life, growing up, work etc... instead of acting like a know-it-all little prick.

When I was really little he would spend his evenings and weekends asking me about what I thought about things, telling me that he was proud of the things i accomplished and we played all the time.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Goddess Cassandra said...

I am sorry about your father. You must miss him very much. But I think you're experiences are coloring what I actually WROTE.

1)I'm not pushing his buttons. Like I said, we were talking about completely innocuous things. I'm not even talking about values or oppinions: this is verifiable.
2) My dad is not a neanderthal. I even point out that he is smart in my post.
3) I don't consider my interests to be "stupid shit". I consider the weather and sports teams to be "stupid shit" and that seems to be the only things we can talk about without getting into a fight, and even THAT has to be on a superficial level. I can tell him about anything I learned in meterology, even. My interests are not stupid shit, and I can't have a relationship with someone who doesn't ever want to talk about anything.
4)I have acknowledged and appreciate the work my father did for us growing up. But that doesn't give him the right to treat me like crap now.
5) I have asked dad on that topic, but even that starts fights, because my dad was an asshole in high school. he gets mad when I don't find it funny when he tortured his classmates. He hates his job, so talking about work is GUARENTEED to piss him off.

I love my dad very much, but I wish he wouldn't do hurtful, harmful things to me, or at the very least acknowledge it. I am also not a dependant child living at his house: I am actually and independent adult, and the nature of our relationship needs to change if we are going to continue having one.

At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing personal against your dad, I just think you need to stop posting about how you think your family and friends are not as smart as you.

You're a smart person, but you don't need to show it by tearing down the people who support you.

I didn't post the above comment. My father is still alive, thankfully.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Teddy said...

Actually, no, she is smarter than all of us. Thankfully, we're just smart enough to ignore her most of the time.



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