“There’s nothing so tragic,” Jack Handey joked, “as seeing a family pulled apart by something as simple as a pack of wolves,” but it’s no joke what a Trump Derangement Syndrome Sufferer might do to her own family.
In a lengthy essay for HuffPo on Tuesday, New York-based food, wine, travel and lifestyle writer Hannah Selinger says she “can’t just go on pretending that we’re a normal family,” and that her young children — the oldest is 2½ — might hear their grandparents “say something awful about a marginalized group of people while I’m out enjoying a martini with my husband.”
Heavens! Before this day, how were parents ever able to leave their kids in the care of grandparents who weren’t 100% in sync with the progressive zeitgeist?
Or as one Twitter user replied:
Selinger refuses to be “complicit in the face of racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism,” which “leads [sic] to far worse things than an awkward family Thanksgiving.” Her chief complaint? Her in-laws are pro-life, anti-illegal immigrant, Trump-supporting Catholics who once awkwardly tried to express their support for Jews, and don’t enjoy seeing two men kiss on TV. Oh, and something about a hateful conspiracy theory involving Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Clinton, who took about 25 trips on Epstein’s “Lolita Express” private jet. Some conspiracy, eh?
And — of all the nerve — apparently grandma and grandpa aren’t too fond of Antifa or Black Lives Matter. The first group consists of black-shirted thugs Hitler could have been proud to call his own SA or SS, and the other is a group, albeit with legitimate grievances, often driven by the very anger Selinger claims to want to protect her children from.
So much for that whole “love trumps hate” thing, I guess.
But what about Selinger’s husband? She writes that she doesn’t “want my husband to suffer,” and that he is “more hesitant to cut his parents off” than she is. Ya think?
Here’s where it gets deeply weird:
In real life, I like my mother-in-law. She’s unintentionally funny, and says “darn” and “fudge” and “shoot” instead of swear words, and she can’t remember her email password, not ever — even though I know hers by heart. My father-in-law and I share a lifelong love for the Yankees. He’s a former runner, and while I still like to say “current,” if I’m being honest, I’m a former runner, too.
In short, Selinger’s in-laws seem like decent people, even to her, and yet even their essential decency isn’t enough to overcome her intolerance.
It’s a fact of human nature that the younger generation always sees the older generation as entirely too straight-laced, uptight, unhip, etc. Sometimes it’s even true. Sometimes all that older-person attitude looks like bigotry, and sometimes it actually is. It might also be that a sort-of hardening of attitudes is as natural a part of aging as the hardening of arteries. My grandfather — a laissez-faire style, live-and-let-live Goldwater Republican Jew — became noticeably less tolerant in his final years. But my biggest regret about our relationship is that he didn’t live long enough to meet his great-grandsons. They would have been great together, even if maybe sometimes I’d have had to teach them not to repeat quite everything great-grandpa says.
Selinger writes that she is “less proud that [her 2-year-old] has learned to swear,” (kids do that; sigh) yet might deny her son the opportunity to learn from grandma’s quaint use of “darn” and “fudge” and “shoot.” She and her father-in-law are both Yankees fans, but she’s willing to rob her own son of the opportunity to hear grandpa’s tales of the Yankees players he grew up with.
What a shame if Selinger and her husband go through with this. What a waste.