It's Not About General Lee
Really, it is painful. It is personal. It hurts. It's not about a statue.
It tears us apart. I can't talk to my father. Do you want to know how sensitive my father is?
Once I was in his truck with him, he pointed out a spot across the street and told me a story about driving around with a co-worker. "I seen this big turtle, awhile back, right over there," he said. Pointing again.
I can picture him, how excited he would have been. Whenever we drive around he tells me which animals he has seen where. "There was a black panther crossing the street one day. Right out, about 2, 2:30 in the afternoon."
Only the co-worker pulled over the truck, the guy go out, got the turtle, and then put it in the flatbed. My father tells it like this, "He jumps back in. He says to me: I'm gonna have turtle soup tonight."
My father shook his head in disappointment, "I should'ha kept my big mouth shut. I cost that poor turtle its life." He felt guilty about the turtle.
Now my father can dismiss a murder of a black kid.
My father visited me after George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin. At first my father's comments were outrage on the part of Martin, "How could anyone just shoot a kid in cold blood like that? 17 years old?" I was relieved, at least my father was not a racist. He was a right wing die hard, but at least he still knows right from wrong. Deep down.
While he was visiting me, he watched a movie about how Obama was going to take over the world and start a muslim revolution. I tried to explain to him that Obama was not going to start a muslim revolution. "Have you ever seen Michelle Obama in a burqua?" I asked, trying to make him laugh. No, my father was incredulous at my stupidity, "Well then why would anyone make this video? If these things are not true?"
"To make money, Dad."
It took 48 hours for my Dad to change his mind about George Zimmerman. Now he says that what he learned about that incident is that he can't trust the media to know what is really happening. According to my father, Trayvon Martin slammed George Zimmerman's head to the ground and Zimmerman shot him. Rightfully.
Attempting to remind my father that
an innocent kid had been shot in cold blood
that my father thought it was wrong when he first heard about it
Zimmerman was not the victim
I realized hopelessness. I could not understand it. My father was becoming a racist.
I tried to broach it when I would think I might be able to break through. It would start with me saying something about how he had felt at first, and trying to figure out why he was switching sides. His replies were all over the map depending on what he had been reading or watching most recently.
Him: I heard that that kid did drugs. He was suspended from school.
Me: You did drugs when you were 17. Does that mean you should get shot to death walking home with your skittles?
Him: More blacks kill blacks than whites kill blacks.
Me: What does that have to do with anything? Anytime an innocent person is killed - it is always wrong, no matter what color person killed or was killed.
My dad started telling me that Zimmerman was "not being treated fairly by the media."
I want to reason with him, but it is a lost cause. I can't compete against the constant stream of propaganda he has opted to watch. It's in his car, on his computer, in his living room. When he goes out to eat, it's at places that play Fox News on silent with a scroll.
So I gave up. I blocked my father on social media around that time. When my grandmother died, I opened up again and hoped that would get better after Trump won. But it doesn't. It never gets better.
I tried to call him on the phone to have an actual conversation. It didn't work. He would answer anything I said with some absurd talking point. The man who had been sending packages to democrats was from Florida, and I joked with my dad when they found him, "I was worried it might be you!" I said to him. "Oh, honey. You know I am not a violent person." A little while after that conversation he shared a meme on facebook about how if Trump is impeached the Civil War will look like a birthday party.
I asked about the Jamal Khashoggi death and tried to link his hatred of the media to actual deaths, "Don't you think it is time for this to stop?" I asked. He started talking about Huma Abedin and the muslim brotherhood.
So today, Trump is talking about a sculpture, a traitor who he says was a great general, and his own perfect answers. And somewhere my father listens, and nods. The LA Times says Trump is playing into Biden's hands and taking the bait. I guess so. But I am scared anyway. Will Biden really be able to save us from Trump 2020?
Trump: “I've answered that question and if you look at what I said you will see that that question was answered perfectly and I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general whether you like it or not. He was one of the great generals. I've spoken to many here, right at the White House. And many people thought of the generals they think that maybe he was their favorite general. People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.”
Trump words are a politically-motivated denial of what is real.
Reality: Robert E. Lee was graciously spared of being hung for treason by Lincoln and Grant.
Reality: the people protesting were holding torches chanting Nazi slogans "Blood and Soil."
They screamed: "Jews will not replace us."
No, Lee was not a great general. No, it was not about a sculpture. There is evidence, clear evidence.
Trump is a master manipulator of propaganda. It seems that he doesn't read much, he might have read Hitler's speeches though.
The evidence we stack up ... it is all meaningless.
If he says a lie enough, his followers will repeat it. All propaganda driven regimes operate this way. It is this way for everyone still supporting Trump in America today.
I delete people who I believe are disconnected from what is really happening. I tried not to. In the past, I fought. But increasingly, I just can't deal with trying to save them. Now, I contribute to their disconnection from reality.
I cannot drag them to a place where they can at least begin to see through the mind distortions. The mind distortions that, with their own free will, they have chosen. Free markets, and free will are at work.
I think about calling my father. If I call my father, yes, he will take sides. Trump's.