When you can’t talk politics with your family

It’s nothing unique to my family that we cannot discuss politics in a civil, level-headed manner. Everyone seems to have their opinions set (self included), and no one really wants to budge. Most of my family members’ politics is heavily colored by racism, sexism, hatred of “freeloaders,” and in general, xenophobia for people immigrating into this country who do not look like them. Or, actually, for one of my family members, he just hates all immigrants, even those coming from China, in general and views them as being a leech on our welfare system, mostly “bad people” who want to rape and kill Americans and steal jobs from Americans… Yes, because our safety net is truly worth bragging about amongst all the western, industrialized nations of the world (can you sense the facetiousness in that statement?).

It was my uncle’s 70th birthday yesterday, so I sent him a gift last week and also a message to wish him a happy birthday. He replied to thank me, and also to let me know that while the entire world has been struggling with the pandemic and its restrictions, he was not one of those people struggling. In fact, he was embracing it. He’s been painting the facade of his house, and in his own words, “I’m enjoying camping out. This is fun for me.”

It was frustrating for me to read this. While I am happy that he does not feel like his life has had to changed in a drastic or negative way, it’s disturbing that anyone, during a global pandemic, could possibly say that their life has not changed for the worse, or that they’re actually embracing this. During this pandemic, people have lost jobs, lives, homes. People have lost loved ones. We cannot socialize the way we used to, weddings and even funerals have not been able to happen. International travel is off limits for anyone who is choosing to not be selfish. Going to live performances or even movie theaters has been made unacceptable. Unless you are a total anti-social, anti-people, anti-entertainment hermit, how could your life NOT be affected in a negative way due to this pandemic??

It was even worse when a group text with my uncle and cousins started regarding my cousin noting something about the Trump administration. My uncle immediately called it “fake news,” because apparently when you hear something you don’t like, it’s now totally fine to just write it off as “fake news.” He proceeded to talk about how tech companies like Facebook and Twitter need to be regulated by the government because they are restricting conservative views or “media they do not agree with.” Now, this sentiment is coming from someone who believes overall that the government should regulate LESS, and someone who has never, not even once, logged into Facebook and Twitter. Anyone who has logged into Facebook even once knows that once you show an inclination for a certain political view, you will continue to get served similar articles and points of view; that’s the way the algorithm works. You don’t need to work in the tech industry to know this. If anything, the data show that Facebook and Twitter do not censor conservative content; in fact, conservative media is favored because of all the organic conservative groups on the Facebook platform. It’s unfortunate when people continue to refuse to look at the actual data and facts and instead choose to get their “alternative facts” from their tunnel-visioned sources.

I guess this is why we have Trump as our president — he’s the president for every American who doesn’t want to believe in data, science, and anything that is actually rooted in real history. This country is only getting stupider and more pathetic to observe.

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