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A Bit of an FIL Rant

Posted by SultryWolf, in Rants 16 June 2010 · 253 views

A bit more detail arising from a 16June2010 post in GUSP, which began

On a note related to quite a few recent topics, my husband (S.) is just about to stop talking to his Dad, completely, for the second time. The precipitating incident this time is blatant unapologetic racism, specifically a forwarded e-mail which purports to be humor, but is offensive and vulgar to many.

I'll link the email here, if I can find it; I tend to delete stuff from him unopened, unless it has Cute Dog in subject line. That strategy even failed me once. :wub2:

FIL's politics are those of the far-right extremist*, while S. is liberal. (I'm fairly moderate, since you wonder!)

FIL forwards these kinds of things all the time, to everyone whether they have specifically asked to be left off the list or not.
When called on it, he becomes defensive. Any attempt to have a rational discussion is labelled a personal attack.

Iím trying to describe this all as clinically as possible, and I pride myself on being a diplomatic person, but I am genuinesly amazed at what a horrible "debate" skills FIL has.

The first time that S. broke all contact with his father Ė six or seven years ago, maybe? Ė he was eventually persuaded to ďmake peace for the sake of the rest of the familyĒ.
My FIL did not make any concessions; he was asked to not bring up politics at family functions, but has done so (at a much lower frequency than before, at least). So, Hubs pretty much feels like he gave up his own principles, and was pressured to do so.
Furthermore, he is hurt than no one in the family, including me, spoke up in alliance with him. He felt, and feels, disrespected both in his father's actions and words and in the lack of visible support from the rest of the family.

Now, for myself, while I hold strong beliefs and opinions, I prefer not to debate them. Iím not really interested in converting anyone else to my position. I donít mind learning new facts about the other position, or even a well-reasoned explanation of why one might hold it, and Iíll do the same. Iím even open to changing my mind. But I donít enjoy the types of politico-philosophical arguments that some do, where the only goal seems to be . . . I donít even know what the goal is.
Thus, I remain quiet, as I did when discussions turned political at the dinner table. In my mind, I wasn't failing to support S., I was merely maintaining my own right not to be baited. He sees it a bit differently.
Hubs feels strongly that, in instances where the other party is Just Plain Wrong, we all have a responsibility to speak out against it, no matter how difficult it may be to do. I am starting to see his point on that . . . Iím still not comfortable doing it, but I do take Truth and Justice pretty seriously, and so I have resolved to do better.
Whatever that might mean.

I'm not looking forward to confronation with my FIL. He and I have a very good relationship. There's even a slim chance that he'll listen to me, whether it would result in any lasting change or not. And of course that lends a whiff of guilt to my . . . cowardice about not wanting to get involved.

*I hate "labelling" groups, even - or especially - for the reason that I do not agree with their politics. Don't these groups, no matter how extreme, have the right to their positions? I believe that they do; but there is a difference with holding different beliefs, based on the same empirical facts, and groups that spread lies as the only apparent support for their beliefs. Sadly, such groups do exist, and my FIL, God help us, proudly allies himself with them.
In any case, I won't use loaded terminology like "Right-Wing-Nut".

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