Being from the Marxist-stronghold of Portland, Oregon, it’s assumed I was raised on a commune, regularly danced around the Maypole, helped construct the family car from found items and that it ran on organic vegetable scraps and our excess smugness.
Well, that last part might be true.
Watching my siblings grow into adults has been fascinating. I was not dumb enough to believe we would all embrace identical religious and political affiliations, but I did expect some similarities; little bits of common ground and shared philosophical ideals.
I’ve been shocked by the sexism, the racism and the anti-Semitic ramblings from members of my own family. Regurgitating the rantings of extremists-cum-pundits as fact has filled me with anger. “You are better than this! You are smarter than this!” I say over and over.
They say the same to me.
Recently, I was told the September 11th Attacks were an inside job. We need more guns. The government is ruled by tyrants. It’s time for a revolution. And I’m a bad American for not believing the same.
And I’ve been sad ever since.
I look at these people, my siblings, and wonder what happened? Identical upbringings and opportunities and yet, we are foreigners to each other. We are not the first family to get angry, roll our eyes or disagree on everything. This feels different. Lines have been drawn and they’ve given way to vast fissures.
We’ve never been close and I don’t feel as if I’m actually losing anything tangible. As members of the next generation are being born, it’s the damn potential for which I grieve.