Originally, I had nothing to write. My days are pretty much the same right now. I work, I go to the gym, I sleep. I eat occasionally as well. Most days, I go home for lunch. I get an hour lunch break, and because I live 6 minutes away from my job, I go home. Normally, I just sit at the kitchen table with something open on my phone, and eat in relative peace. Sometimes other people are home, sometimes they aren’t. Today, there was no peace.
Let me preface this story by telling you a bit about my family. My parents are actually celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary tomorrow, February 7th. My parents have also only ever been married to each other. I could technically lump my parents ideological beliefs together and henceforth refer to them as the gender-neutral ‘they’. But that would be grossly unfair to my mom. My dad is the one who is a blood-red, climate change-denying conservative. He’s not a Republican, to hear him say it, but he’s registered as one so he can vote in the primaries. No, he is a Libertarian. (Let’s all collectively look at our screen in a side-eye, ‘wtf?!’ fashion.) My dad would be a redneck if we lived somewhere other than Orlando.
I tell you all this so that when I say I could hear Rush Limbaugh’s caustic voice emanating from my house as soon as I stepped out of my car, you will not be entirely surprised. This is where we begin our scene.
So I hear my dad listening to a Tampa radio station via computer, and he’s got it tuned to whatever news station is playing Limbaugh. I grew up listening to Rush, back when I was a captive audience and didn’t know any better. Now, anytime I hear his voice, no matter what he’s saying, I get a little nauseous. My dad liked to listen to him in the car where ever we drove, and so hearing his voice almost gives me walking car sickness. Anyways, I go inside. Rush Limbaugh’s voice is filling this house like he’s broadcasting directly from our living room with a megaphone. My dad is actually in the kitchen, making some recipe he got online that was based on the movie Chef. Yeah, I didn’t see it either. It involves cumin, thyme, garlic, orange zest, orange juice, and a bunch of other things that probably only a real, certified chef should be using. I had to tell my dad what orange zest was while I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating. He replied, “Well, I don’t have that. Next ingredient.”
After about ten minutes of my eating in near silence, I finally come out with, “What exactly is appealing about Rush Limbaugh?” My dad turns to me and says, “He gives the other side of the story that the media doesn’t give.” Well, okay then. “Is the other side always so pessimistic?” “Well, usually. Only because the media gives the happy part of everything,” he says.
Apparently, Rush Limbaugh gives new meaning to the idea that if you simply work hard, good things will happen to you and you will have a good life. I told my dad that that simply isn’t true. He looked at me and told me that that was an ignorant view of the world. Yes. Ignorant. Me!
Me. Seriously. I am so proud that I didn’t let that ruin the rest of my day.
My dad’s lack of a college education is showing. In college, you learn about things like how society thinks a whole, and how the idea of the American Dream is actually kind of poisonous. The reason that so many people are against raising taxes is not because they are worried about they’re current financial situation (though I am sure there are some that are), but because in the back of their mind, they think that one day, in the future, they’re going to make more money and they don’t want that income taxed. Yes, that’s right. Money they haven’t even made yet.
‘But! But the Government! They don’t need our money! I can do better things with my money than they can!’ I think my dad has helped congressional candidates campaign with these sayings. The despair I feel at this moment is not quantifiable. I just can’t.
This conversation between my dad and myself ends with my actually looking around, spreading my hands out and saying, “Hard work? Dad, look at where we live.” He then says, “I readily admit that I have not worked hard in my life. I admit that.” Well, what do you say to that? Nothing. That’s what I said.
For anyone reading this who has never lived in, let alone stepped foot in, the United States, imagine 100 million people like my dad. Some more radical, some less. That right there is why things don’t get done in Congress. That right there is why women are still at such a disadvantage in this country. If my dad even knew what Meninism was, he would probably buy it on a hat. ‘Don’t tread on my rights, as a man!’ Yes, Dad, you are a 60 year old white guy who is married and has kids. You have absolutely no rights what so ever.
I’m going to go horse back riding tomorrow and enjoy my Saturday.