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Monday, November 21, 2016
How To Talk To A Millennial About Donald Trump This Thanksgiving
The Federalist - Monday November 21, 2016
by Mark Hemingway
Look, Caitlin, I get it. You don’t see eye to eye with your uncle on much. I’m sorry I mentioned I voted for Trump, but do we have to do this now?
And can we please cut the crap? You and I both know that as much as you claim to dislike returning to Grand Rapids, you wanted to be here. It was just too depressing to contemplate watching Netflix alone in that dreary shoebox you rent in Red Hook. How do I know your apartment is dreary? Well, you put those ridiculously bright filters on everything on Instagram. Yes, I know what Instagram is. I’m not hopeless.
Again, I wasn’t the one starting an argument. Nothing’s changed between us, okay? Remember when you were a kid and every time I saw you I told you the same stupid joke about Beethoven? I swear, you laughed at the joke all the way through high school. Then you went off to college and everything changed. No offense, but Mount Holyoke? You could have gotten your fill of women’s studies classes paying in-state tuition at Ann Arbor without graduating $150,000 in debt.
No, I never said you had to listen to me. I’m not an idiot. I have a good idea of what you must think about me. I’m the guy who wears short-sleeve T-shirts and runs a CPA practice out of a strip mall. When I was growing up, even I didn’t want to be me. But you know what? I like being me. And I wasn’t the one who started talking politics!
What was I supposed to do? Sit around and listen to you go off about how you’re boycotting Kanye West because he voted for Trump? Look around the room, Buttercup. You see a lot of Hillary voters here? You’re passively aggressively trashing your own family, for crying out loud.
Besides, I hate to break it to you, I’ve been boycotting Kanye West since waaaay before it was cool. Hell, I’ve been boycotting Van Hagar since 1986, and for the same reason: good taste. I don’t crash your friends’ parties in Brooklyn and make everyone talk about whether Kyle Busch will win the Sprint Cup again this year.
So what’s the implication here? If Donald Trump is racist, does that mean you think your family is racist for voting for the man? Is Kanye West racist now? You think I like the fact that a rich New York jagoff with verbal diarrhea is going to be president? I just voted for the guy, I didn’t sign on the dotted line in blood. If he starts throwing people in camps, I’ll be the first guy to form a militia. But until then, I can’t be bothered to keep up with all things that are racist these days.
I remember watching cable news a few years ago, and some guy was saying that people complaining Obama golfed too much were racist. Golf is racist! If we’re going to do this, why don’t you go Wikipedia the Fugitive Slave Act and then we can put Trump’s racism in the proper political context, okay?
I’m not delusional. I know black people in this country have had it pretty bad, and I think we need to do more to help them. But one way to help them would be to bring back some good jobs, and unlike Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump wasn’t paid millions of dollars by Wall Street fat cats to look the other way while they continue sucking the country dry.
Oh, great. So we’re sexist, too. Look, the problem here is not that I don’t think women are held to unfair standards, Caitlin. It’s gotta be tough being a lady. But the problem here is that this particular woman has never been held to any standard of accountability.
You know what I did last Saturday, Caitlin? I’m on the board of trustees down at the church these days, and a toilet overflowed while the Golden Group was having their meeting. (By the way, Caitlin, when’s the last time you went to church? You used to sing in the choir. You had such a beautiful voice.)
Anyway, Greg Keller and I headed down there to fix the toilet. While we spent the afternoon mopping up and drying the carpets, Greg explained to me why he couldn’t vote for Clinton. You see, when he was in the Navy he had to get a security clearance. And when he was in the Navy, he knew a guy who was court-martialed for leaving a purchase order for nuclear submarine parts on his desk when he went to lunch, instead of locking it up in a safe like he was supposed to. The guy did time. And the purchase order was only “confidential” information, the lowest level of classification. Hillary Clinton had top secret information in her stupid emails. Why does she get to run for president when she’s committed crimes that would put you or I in jail? Riddle me that.
What? Of course, I’m appalled by the “pussy grabbing.” But I was also appalled when we spent two years discussing blow jobs in the Oval Office and Hillary spent that time blaming her husband’s horrible behavior on some vast “conspiracy.” Some feminist she is.
Wait, you’re not really suggesting that I’m the one who’s out of touch because you have friends back in New York who are afraid? You really think “this country is over”? You were what, nine years old on 9/11? Your great-grandfather died when you were too young to remember, but we used to sit in the deer stand together and gramps would tell me stories about what Guadalcanal was like. Gives me chills thinking about it. You know how old he was at the time? Nineteen. And now kids your age need coloring books and safe spaces and therapy dogs to cope with an election that doesn’t go your way.
Just stop it. Please don’t pretend you know more about this than the rest of us. I know you’re a budding journalist. Really can’t wait until you get the first Pulitzer for producing hot takes in a reclaimed warehouse space. That’s right. Aside from stalking you on Instagram, I read your website. You know that one of your esteemed colleagues wrote an article for your site last week on “HowtoTalktoYourTrump–SupportingRelativesatThanksgiving.” You know how that makes the rest of us feel? If the country’s falling apart, maybe it has something to do with an entire generation that’s so politically correct they need written instructions on how to be nice to their own family.
And not to point out the obvious, it’s Thanksgiving for God’s sake. If you’re gonna show up here in such a bad mood and call us racist, maybe, just maybe, just do the rest of us a favor and SHUT UP until you find a reason to be grateful.
I’m grateful for this insane amount of food we’re gonna consume, and grateful that we live in a country where, in theory, we’re all equal and we can shout our whiny complaints from the rooftops without being afraid, even if we are crazy-desperate enough right now to elect a carnival barker masquerading as a CEO president.
But I’m especially grateful to be part of this family. And you know what, Caitlin, I’ve loved you ever since my sister brought you home from the hospital when you were a tiny baby. If you weren’t pissing me off so much, I might get around to telling you how proud I am of you. But first I want you to understand something: I sure as HELL don’t have to agree with you, because loving each other should be enough for the both of us to get past some differences of opinion.
Oh, damn it, Caitlin. I didn’t mean to yell. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to make you cry. If it makes you feel better, just because my guy won that doesn’t mean I’m not terrified by everything that happened in this election. Please.
Psssssssssst! Hey Caitlin!
What’s Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
Hah. Okay. Glad to see that joke still works. Come on. We’re going to say grace soon. It’s good to have you back.