I came across a tweet by @JonAcuff which said “this week, as you head to Thanksgiving with your family, remember that politicians are temporary. Family is forever. Don’t do long term damage to a relationship you’ve had for decades because of an argument about a politician you’ll have for years.”
Look, Jon, I understand your point, but this mindset is such a privilege and beyond that, I would argue that its premise is fundamentally incorrect.
I would like to zoom in on the idea that “politicians are temporary.” The persons themselves may be temporary, but the policies they create and/or support are not.
Both Nixon and Reagan have long been out of public office (in fact, both have been dead for some time now, with Nixon dying in ‘94 and Reagan in 2004), yet the impact they both had on the demonization of communities of color with the war on drugs is still felt today. Clinton’s Crime Bill added to the already climbing mass incarceration which we still see the effects of today.
Redlining, a practice that began in the 1930s and was outlawed in 1968, still has an effect on economic and racial segregation today.
Trans people are killed at alarming rates in part as a result of transphobic rhetoric perpetuated by politicians and used as the basis of domestic policy.
Black and Latino people in New York City were demonized for years as a result of stop and frisk policies instituted by city officials. The distrust this brewed, in addition to other broken window policies, will continue to be an impediment to NYPD’s community relations for years to come.
Barack Obama is known as the deporter-in-chief among some undocu circles and their communities will continue to have to heal from that.
The kids that Donald Trump put in cages and ripped away from their parents will suffer some form of emotional damage long after he leaves office and some experts say that the US will never recover from his foreign policies.
I, by no means, am attempting to compile a comprehensive list of policies that continue to live beyond the lifetime of the politicians who crafted or supported such policies. Please feel free to research within or beyond the scope of the examples I have presented.
My point is that politicians are not temporary. I would argue that our political system is set up in such a way that they cannot be temporary. The very foundation of our government is built upon documents written hundreds of years ago.
Auntie Mary might decide to proclaim her support for a politician who, for example, has continuously shown their desire to strip the LGBT community of their rights.
But if you happen to be a part of this community, she has shown that she doesn’t care about an integral part of your identity; she doesn’t care about you.
And when the gavel bangs to pass the legislation that politician wrote or supported that endangers your life or general wellbeing, she’s chosen the enduring effects of those politicians and their policies.
So you should be able to choose that your relationship with her be temporary.
Of course, you know who in your family you can reason with, and who you can't. I'm an advocate for productive conversation when you know it's not a lost cause.
Today at your Thanksgiving lunches and dinners and for the rest of this holiday season, don’t be afraid to populate your block list with family members who have proven they don’t care about you.
May your food be seasoned and I hope that you don’t find yourself arguing for your humanity.