Great question. My mother comes from a large southern family. My father was in the Air Force, so we obviously traveled from the moment I was born. I only saw my southern relations on occasion – family reunions etc. But my mother never missed an opportunity to tell me how wonderful they all were, how selfless and kind they were. They were the definition of “salt of the earth” and “shirt off their back” Christians. We settled in Colorado so I never had a chance to really interact with them personally, but we always kept in touch through phone calls and email etc. They weren’t perfect, but I never saw any of them behave in a way that made me question the picture my mother painted. They were good Christians and wonderful people, and we were lucky to be related to them.
Then came The Election.
In the summer of 2014 my cousins started posting Memes about liberals that brought me up short. Things that were wildly out-of-context, completely skewed or historically inaccurate. At first I pulled them aside privately, explaining the truth of the matter. Initially they’d just thank me for the information, then they’d post something else just as bad…
I thought there might be a problem with communication, or maybe they just thought I had a bias. So after a while I’d point them toward several sources and invite them to research it for themselves. I told them they didn’t need to believe me – just look it up! Their reply to this suggestion was that the information as I understood it was my opinion, and I was entitled to it. But that’s all it was. Opinion.
Next they started using words like “Arab” and “Muslim” interchangeably. They also did that with “Fascist”, “Communist” and “Socialist”. It was clear they had very little (if any) idea what these words actually mean. They were just the worst words they knew (along with “Libtard”) so they used them sort of at random when describing someone who favored Obama or, later, who didn’t like Trump. Trying to explain Bernie Sanders and his concept of Socialism, I might as well have been trying to teach a cow how to play the piano. Actually, I might have had better luck with the cow.
As the election approached the memes posted to their Facebook walls took an ugly tone. A hateful tone. I wanted to believe their accounts had been hacked, but no. These same “Good Christian” salt of the earth people were advocating violence against anyone who had skin darker than theirs, who spoke any language other than theirs or who worshiped any God but theirs (actually, anyone who attended a different church really). They condemned gays to burn in hell in the same breath with Socialists and again I couldn’t actually tell if they understood the difference.
On the night of the election the scales fell off my eyes. They weren’t happy Trump won. They revealed their true colors. Their victory celebration was difficult for me to comprehend, it was so full of hate and violence. I’m actually a little surprised they didn’t take to the streets to burn crosses or hang someone – it was that extreme. One of my cousins – the “educated” school teacher that I had tried hardest to reach, told me that no one wanted to hear anything I had to say. The people had spoken and I needed to keep my ideas to myself from now on.
With a heavy heart I unfriended every one of them. We’ve not spoken a word since the election, and I doubt we ever will again.
I thought my family members were good. I thought they were kind. I thought they were true Christians. It turns out everything I ever “knew” about them was 100% wrong. They turned out to be vicious, small minded, mean spirited, hateful creatures. And every one of them supports Trump.