8/05/2009

Doomed

I usually stay a safe distance from Facebook quizzes*, as they are often riddled with spelling and grammatical errors along with a penchant for grade school-like phrasing.  I don't really need to know what Sex and the City character (Miranda) I am anyway.  However, I noticed my Cheese Hand did a political quiz and I just had to have a go.

I have an abject fear of doing quizzes like this and finding out that I'm much more right than originally thought.  I dissect the questions to ensure I'm answering them properly, because seeing a graph with a red dot lingering perilously close to "Neocon" would no doubt trigger a brain aneurysm or other striking brain bleed.  Thankfully, I scored quite left, notably in social and cultural issues - who knew?

The purpose of this is not to flaunt my liberalism to gain hipster cred; that's what my Johnny Cash middle-finger-at-San-Quentin t-shirt does for me.  I'm just concerned that Neo-Con Pru is right around the chronological corner.  My Mom is an ex-hippie, those who know my real name would have some indication of this.  Somehow, over the past few years particularly, she has become increasingly conservative despite erroneously believing that she remains very liberal.  

Mom is retired, but works as an educational consultant for developmentally delayed children.  One of her clients is a little boy with a less than ideal home situation - his mother is mentally disabled, a drug addict, and rather keen on pregnancies.  Lots of pregnancies.  She's 21 and has been pregnant five times.  The house is apparently a complete mess, with roaches scurrying up the wall and floors sticky with unknown substances.  I think it's evident that children should not grow up in such an environment, but my Mom seems to believe that as someone hired to help this child with his developmental issues, she should also act as a social worker - she has actually told the mother that she should "keep her legs closed."  

I always confess to being less sympathetic to poor (as in quality, not financial circumstances) parents who manage to reproduce successfully numerous times despite not being in an ideal position to do so - it's my job as a recovering infertile.  The difference between my Mom and me is that I would never, under any circumstances, actually TELL the offending person this.  Being all liberal and shit, I acknowledge that it's not my responsibility to tell anyone how to live their lives.  Aside from professional boundaries overstepped, I can't believe she has justified to herself that it's ok to pass her own views so strongly on this woman.

Within this discussion, she mentioned that some people (presumably women) should be forcibly sterilised, thus eliminating the possibility that so many people will become rubbish parents.  I couldn't quite tell if she was exaggerating, but I don't doubt that she wasn't.  Not long after she trotted out tired cliche of "People need a license to drive a car.  You even need a license to fish!  Somehow, you don't need a license to PARENT!"  Goodness.  I suppose she has at least contributed to the assembling of some meaningless phrases for the inevitable weekly Letter to the Editor submissions she will be writing in a couple years' time.  

After presenting her case to The Dude and me, she remained convinced that she is in fact, "really liberal."  I happen to think that this is simply in relation to the population around here, which isn't saying much.  My Mom believes herself to be liberal due in part to her presence at PrideFest a couple of weeks ago.  She, in her words, has "no problem" with homosexuality, so the gay population of the world should release a big sigh of relief there.  It's so magnanimous of her, I know.  Speaking of her abiding liberalism, I bet even some of her best friends are black!

I feel horrid picking on my Mom as it's just another one of her eye-rolling idiosyncrasies, but I can't help feeling this is my future.  Are the liberal among us staring down the barrel at impending conservatism?  Am I a mere two decades away from ranting about how most women just use abortion as a method of birth control?  Will I take a quiz on the '29 version of a social networking site which firmly allies me with neocons?

*My real-life exists on FB, so any of you blogging types who know me there - please don't mention this little place!

7 comments:

nutsinmay said...

I think your mother knows my father. He spent his youth being an angry socialist beatnik hippy type, all about free love (umm, that part annoyed my mum a fair bit), human rights, love, peace and equality, gay liberation and women's lib. Now? Oh, he's still a socialist. A proper one. Except, he thinks lesbians, especially pretty ones, 'are going through a phase', and that women are happiest being wives and mothers (ARGH) and that there are no great women painters or composers because women don't have the right sort of mind, and that gay men are fey and unreliable, and I won't repeat his opinions on Muslim immigrants in case you get googled by whack-jobs.

And I look at him ranting on and think 'Did you change? Or were you always like this but pretended not to be so you could get laid?'

Miz S said...

Yeah. What the hell is that all about? Do we just get more judgmental as we age? My mother-in-law is an exception to the rule, I think. She remains liberal and informed on most issues. Oh, wait. She totally looks down on anyone who does manual labor or has an occupation that she considers "blue collar" like police officers. What do you call that? Classism?

Meg said...

Heh, I just did that quiz earlier tonight. Came out far left, of course, but I have to admit to hovering over the "Some people should not be allowed to have children" question for a bit longer than I ought to have.

kate said...

I can really relate to this. My mom *thinks* she is liberal, but she's actually rather conservative. She told me once that her biggest problem with gay marriage was that marriage was created (by GOD, of course) for the purpose of bringing children into the world, and that two men or two women could not do this, and therefore that gay marriage was wrong. When I pointed out to her that many straight couples can't or choose not to have children (she doesn't know about my infertility), she got really, REALLY angry and said that that wasn't what she was talking about, and how dare I put words in her mouth (?).

And another time, as I was leaving swim practice at a local university, I apparently left my purse sitting on the roof of my car, because when I got to school I didn't have it. My mom had given me one of her department store credit cards so that I could buy some necessary item after school that day, so when I told her that my purse was missing and that I had last seen it at swim practice, she freaked and said that I'd probably just bought a mexican family a whole new wardrobe (because the university where we practiced was bordered by a sort of shady neighborhood (it was known as the street where you went to find prostitutes or drugs) on one side and by a mostly hispanic (but not shady) neighborhood on the other side. When my purse turned up later, fully intact, with all credit cards, bank cards and licenses in place, my mom just said I was damn lucky.

But see? She's still a hardcore Democrat, so she thinks that means that she's liberal. She gives a shitload of money to the Democratic party and to various candidates who are liberal-leaning. And I just don't get it, because racism isn't liberal, and she is racist. And being anti-civil-rights isn't liberal, and she thinks that people who don't agree with GOD'S BLEEPIN' COVENANT, who don't have children or CAN'T have children shouldn't be allowed to get married.

But then again, she's the same person that insisted that I go to Hippie School for preschool, where we learned how to make our own tofu, and raised free-range chickens (for eggs only, of course), where we learned yoga, and recycling and composting, and where if you didn't want to learn math, you were free to leave the room and go learn something else (or to crawl in a wooden box with a record player and a Cat Stevens album and listen to the music as loud as it would go... or go play on the playground with the big kids where you would learn that motherfucker is a GREAT new word to call your mom, only later learning, of course, that it is not so acceptable.)

So yeah. I'm terrified all the time that I'm going to wake up and realize that I'm spouting some conservative nonsense about genetic superiority or some shit. But I also wonder if my vigilance toward that impending right-wing doom might also work to help prevent it's appearance. I don't know, but I sure hope so.

Betty M said...

Isn't it compulsory to veer to the right a bit as you get older? I'm certainly more judgmental and can see no reason why I should slave away paying taxes so some feckless layabout can sit on the dole watching expensive satellite tv whereas my liberal youthful self (hey i was pictured on the front page of the Guardian on a student demo once) would have been all understanding.

Never an excuse to go neo-con mind.

T said...

I actually asked myself the other day "why was I against that in San Francisco?" - I forget now what the issue was, but forgot the reason that I was staunchly opposed as it seemed quite reasonable to me at this (incredibly) advanced age.

I know you get more crochety - don't know if that always translates into right wing (nutbag). Heh heh.

Plumbob said...

I don't know, I kind of understand your mum on this one.
I'm a teacher and I've seen my fair share of shithouse parents, and I know that this thought has crossed my mind.
Would I vote for some kind of forced sterilisation/forced abortion law? Not in a million years. But I still think it from time to time.