Is there a support group for the children of Dittoheads?

Me: Hello everyone. My name is Mr. Y and (whimper, choke, whimper) my dad is a Dittohead.

Everyone: (Clapping) Hello Mr. Y. Welcome.

When I was a kid, my dad would talk the talk of a conservative. Small government. Personal liberty. Low taxes. Fiscal responsibility. And as a kid, I agreed. It was only on road trips to visit relatives that my mom would discuss her political views and challenge my dad’s way of thinking. He didn’t like this, and would shout, talk with his hands and get all Mexican until my mom would order him to calm down and keep his eyes on the road.

I would sit quietly in the back seat listening to The Carpenters or Leo Sayer or whoever else was on the radio and think, “Mom is right.”

Mom always wanted the government out of her life. She wants the freedom to make choices without anyone interfering. She hates paying taxes and even now will challenge the tax increases the city of San Antonio places on her house. She still physically balances her checkbook in pen and in an actual check book. She always tells me to save, save, save. And taught me to always look for a sale and at the best stores possible.

My dad is all for the integration of church and state. He opposes abortion personally and would like to make his opposition law for all people who, unlike him, actually have a uterus. He opposes gay marriage. (Dad, you know your son is gay and lives in Hong Kong with his partner, right? We all had margaritas on the river at Zuni Grill. Remember?). He was for the “War on Terror” because it was the right(wing) thing to do.

He kept his mouth shut when W was slashing taxes for the wealthy and running up huge debts. He never accompanies my mom to fight for lower taxes on their home. And recently, when my mom joined him while he was working on some project in Guatemala, it was she, not he, who had the cojones to complain that the shower was spewing scalding hot, then freezing cold water and that they needed another room.

“Why complain! Why do you have to complain!?” he screamed at my mom.

They got a better room and he will stay at a hotel that is not being renovated the next time he’s down there.

But he sits there watching FOX in the hotel. He cheered when Rush Limbaugh said he wanted Obama to fail. He laughed at the racist jokes his Republican “friends” would forward to him via email before the election. He listens to Limbaugh every weekday morning and watches FOX at full blast (he has a hearing problem but would probably listen full blast anyway) every day. My mom and I have to watch The View on low volume and then must change the channel when he enters the room.

He cannot stand to listen to Obama speak. He hates Hillary Clinton with a passion that scares me (and even I don’t care for her). He rants. He screams. He makes it difficult for my mom to maintain old friendships with family friends. He makes scenes at restaurants. He sits on the sofa biting his nails and then editorializing during the commercials.

He knows not to push me too hard because he’s seen me become the scary spic diva from hell (apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess). He says that all liberals are angry and sad but I disagree. Everyone I know who is left of center is hopeful and mostly happy–even when Bush was in power. We drink, talk, debate, discuss and disagree and then do it all over again. My dad the Dittohead? He sits on the sofa and screams at the TV. He has few friends.

Who doesn’t want lower taxes, fiscal discipline and personal liberty? Hell, sign me up. In theory, I have almost always agreed with my dad. In theory. In practice, the Republican Party as it is now, is not conservative. It is not a party for all. It is a party for the well fed. It is a party for those that think alike and look alike. It is a party that excludes. A party that dictates. A party that indoctrinates. A party that my brown, short, dark-skinned son of an illegal Mexican immigrant dad will never be invited to.

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