Happy families

Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina that happy families are all like, while each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Or something to that effect. My family is mostly happy, with a few sour/sore spots. A couple of things this holiday made me scratch my head and just wonder about them.Thing #1: late arriving birthday card from dad. He lives in Texas and is very much a fan of W. I, on the other hand, am happy to live in a blue state. We have very little in common, politically and socially speaking. My birthday card had a photograph of the Shrub and the Man Behind the Shrub getting ready to go to a party. WTF? There was no hidden joke and no subtext to generate a laugh. Why send me that? It’d be like me sending him a Christmas card with Michael Moore on the front. Thing #2: a woman I’m related to by marriage (her niece is married to my uncle) and whom I see only at holiday functions pestered me for an opinion on politics at a family party. I declined because it wasn’t really an appropriate venue, but she kept bugging me, so I finally shared my opinion in as tactful a manner as I was able. It was completely consistent with my previously stated political stance, but she was shocked, stunned even, by it. Why ask for my opinion if you are either afraid of or unwilling to hear it?I wasn’t offended by either of these occurrences, I was just perplexed. Why must people insist on bringing politics into family celebrations? The fact that we are family doesn’t mean that we must think alike or have the same opinions, as far as I know.

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