This post is inspired by an article someone shared on Facebook linking President Obama to Marxist Communism. The only problem is it is being bred and nurtured by the opposite side of Communism: the extreme Fascist conservative. That seems to be where we are these days, politically. If we are liberal, we are Anti-God Communists. It seems the people lip beating these issues don’t understand the rights of the land in which they live.
Out of one side of their mouths they whine that they want less government involvement, but they diminish our rights. They are blazing hellfire through our Constitution. They swing judgmental swords of condemnation at those who don’t dance to their Bible-thumping drums. They say President Obama is trying to abolish family values and religion with a Communist Manifesto agenda. Of course, the comments on this page were full of multiple bible quotes of what is really right in the eyes of Yahweh, from the mouth of man. Family values? The degradation and segregation of family values initiated by the president of the United States is not what Obama insinuated. President Obama stood with the rights of the homosexual American. I’m stuck on the blatant ignorance of the anti-gay sentiment linked to family values and communism.
I am the product of Italian Catholic grandparents who immigrated to America in search of the American Dream and the freedoms it stood for. They were hard-working people. They had family values deeply rooted in their belief in Jesus Christ and in the family unit. They were proud to become American. They worked hard, voted yes to every millage raise, and gave back to the community. They were very loyal people. Their belief in God was the center of their world.
My grandparents had two sons. Both children were raised in America. One son, my father, discarded the traditional family values, except the ones he could use to his advantage. The other, my uncle, clung to those traditional values, both in family and in God.
My father had a lot of hate. He was a bigot. He was against anything that didn’t fit into his self-righteous box. He passed judgment, not based on facts, but on what he merely thought. My uncle had a lot of love. He didn’t pass judgment. He was accepting of all people.
Dad was a tool and die maker. Uncle Joe was a high school teacher. Dad didn’t have a degree. Uncle Joe had a Master’s degree and the first published thesis, at the time, at Eastern Michigan University.
Dad married his childhood sweetheart and had three children. He also divorced, remarried, and adopted his wife’s three children, because she demanded it (or so he said.) In doing so, he also caved in to her wishes when she told him he had to make a choice between his blood three children and her. He did choose her (according to what she said.)
Uncle Joe never would abandon anyone he loved. He was always there to lend advice, a hug, or an ear. He wasn’t judgmental. He would never allow himself to be in a position to sell out his family. He was loyal. He didn’t have a wife. He didn’t have kids. Uncle Joe was a homosexual.
Through the years, I watched Uncle Joe suffer. I watched my father pass judgment on my uncle, time after time. I listened to my father bash my uncle and he expected the rest of us to follow his lead. I wasn’t born to be a follower. I knew right from wrong. I, too, had learned family values and the meaning of family. I learned it in a different vein than my father. I learned the meaning of family values by watching, listening, and feeling, the values Dad lacked.
Uncle Joe couldn’t come out of the closet. The shame was impossible for him. In his mind, he let down his God, his family, and my father. All he wanted was love and acceptance. His homosexuality was hidden from my grandparents, though I’m sure they thought something was different about him. They would have prayed about it. They would have prayed for forgiveness, as they did for my father.
Uncle Joe fell to mental illness. His diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia. Still, I was very close to him. I couldn’t turn on him because of homosexuality or mental illness. He was Uncle Joe. He didn’t always look the greatest. He didn’t always act the norm, but I couldn’t stop loving him. I couldn’t degrade him. I couldn’t pass judgment or blame him. It wasn’t my job. My job was to love him. He was still one of the most loving and influential people in my life. He had great words of wisdom.
Yes, I was ridiculed and degraded for staying close to him and not adapting to my father’s way of thinking. I was told I was just as crazy as he was. I was put down as if his acts were mine. That was a cross I would bear again today. I was proud to stay by the side of a failing person. I was proud of who Uncle Joe helped create me to be. There was no way I could abandon him in ill health. There was no way I would abandon any human being because of homosexuality.
Near the end of his life Uncle Joe went to live with my father. He was losing bodily functions. I knew he couldn’t handle staying in my house with all the noise of six children, but I offered and I would have taken him in without malice. He really believed that at the end of his life he would finally find the love in my father’s heart. The most horrendous quote that I’ve heard to date came from that period in my life:
“You know what that crazy Son of a B**** said to me today? He asked me to sit in the bedroom and talk to him like Ma used to do. I told him ‘I’m not my f***ing mother.’ Then he asked me if I would just sit and hold his hand like you used to do. I told him: ‘I’m not my f***ing mother and I’m not my f***ing daughter. If you want company you find a way to get your ass in that wheelchair and you come into the living room and sit with everyone else. If not you can sit in here alone then.”
I was mortified. I couldn’t and wouldn’t talk to a stranger on the street in that manner. I didn’t understand how my own father, my flesh and blood, could talk to his dying brother like that. I couldn’t believe he would brag about it, as if he made a valid statement. In disbelief, all I could squeak out of my unbelieving mind was: “Dad, I really worry about your soul.”
Uncle Joe was monitored while at my father’s house. H wasn’t allowed phone calls that weren’t listened to via extension. He wasn’t allowed to make calls. My father and his wife had to control every move. When Uncle Joe wanted something religious in his room, my dear sweet step mother commented: “We don’t keep any of that s*** in our house.”
Everything my uncle owned was supposed to go to my father’s children, his blood children, and my father’s grandchildren, his blood grandchildren, but when cousins brought my father the list of wishes, Dad crumpled them up and said: “Too bad. It’s mine.”
I can’t help but wonder how different my uncle’s life would have been if he had been given freedom as a homosexual American. I can’t help but wonder if he would have had deeper family relationships if he was simply respected as a person. Family values? Where are the family values in the heterosexual acts of my father? What are family values when they are based on condemnation and prejudice? What is value when one can’t simply be who they are, because of the judgment and fear of those who can’t understand? Family value, in truth, would be acceptance. A family can’t have value unless every player in the game has their own personal value, above and beyond the choices of everyone else. If every member of a family doesn’t possess value and isn’t respected, the family value falls short. Family value built on lies and hidden hearts is solely built on pretense.
The value of societal pressure seems much higher than the value of family itself. Those who pass judgment on those who are different are prejudiced. They are also cowards. They are afraid to accept what they don’t understand out of fear of accepting what others may deem unacceptable. Heaven forbid, don’t follow the path of love and loyalty. Keep hatred alive. Bash anyone, up to the president of the United States, if he doesn’t fit into your close minded process. Call it Communistic, call it aborting family values, but what it really means is giving the homosexual American the freedom that was always theirs. President Obama wasn’t securing the Communist Manifesto; he was taking a stand on behalf of a repressed group in America. He was shouting out for freedom.
Of course, the proof texters, those with the Santa Claus spirituality, will Bible-thump at hyper speed, but they are wrong. Between my heterosexual father and my kind and gentle Uncle Joe, who do you think earned their way through your golden gates? I think I have a pretty good idea.