Dear Mom & Dad, Before We Come Home for Thanksgiving…

An Open Letter to Conservative Parents from Progressive Kids

I wanted to drop you a note before we arrive next week for the holiday. I write this with all the love and admiration I have ever had for you. I think we can all agree that over the last few years we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on a lot of political and social policies and movements. We grew up in different times with different experiences.

You instilled in me a sense of doing what is right and treating people the way I would want to be treated. You encouraged me to try new things, always do my best, and always find the lesson in every experience. You taught me respect, honesty, and courage, and for all of those, I thank you. With everything you have given me, I have tried to become the kind of person you are proud to call your child.

Because of those traits I have experienced much of the world, traveled to foreign lands, met a wide range of people, and interacted with a variety of cultures. I have studied an array of subjects, earned a couple of degrees, and landed a good job. I may not go to church as often as you would like (or really even ever) but that does not mean I am faithless. I strive every day to be a good person and even married a wonderful man who you accepted into our family with welcoming arms even though you were initially against my orientation. It is because of the experiences I have had that my opinions and beliefs are what they are and why we are anxious about coming home.

I know you were thrilled with the outcome of the election but I need you to understand, we are not happy about it; in fact, we are terrified. Now, before you “tsk”, roll your eyes, and stop reading, I need you to consider where we are coming from. Over the last eighteen months, we have watched, read, and listened on a daily basis to the rhetoric of candidates imbued with hate, fear, and moral indignation. The promises made by your candidate — now your president-elect — to reverse, end, or close so many of the progressive strides this country has made over the last few decades, scares the hell out of us. Many of these are civil liberties that make this country great.

Now, I can already hear dad saying: “and you don’t think we haven’t been worried about our rights being taken away?” Let me ask you, what rights were you so worried about losing? And which ones did you lose?

Dad, I know you are convinced that every left-leaning human on earth is on a march to your front door to demand your guns. Short of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, that pair of LDS boys on their mission, and the dozen or so trick-or-treaters you got over the last few years, how many people have come to your door demanding anything from you?

Do you actually believe that the Democrats could repeal the 2nd Amendment? You do know that it takes a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate, an OK from the president, AND thirty-eight states to agree to and ratify a repeal of a Constitutional Amendment, right? Executive Orders can’t do it and the uprising in this country if an imposed martial law demanded your guns would quash any sort of endeavor to do so long before it could even take effect.

Now Mom, I don’t want this to freak you out, but liberals/Democrats/progressives, do not want to be able to rip a baby from a woman’s womb just because she doesn’t want the child. I know you never had to face the choice, but it is one of the hardest decisions for a woman to make. As for late term abortions, they are really only done when the mother’s life is in mortal danger. Besides, I don’t understand how you rail against women choosing to get an abortion but get disgusted when you see an economically struggling mother with “too many” children utilizing government assistance to feed them and make ends meet.

How can you say she shouldn’t keep it if she can’t care for it if you won’t give her the option not to keep it. And don’t think that putting a child up for adoption is any easier of a choice. Can you imagine parting with my brother or I when we were born? I know we both frustrate you occasionally and there were many times you told us you would sell us to the gypsies, but could you, really?

And in the same vein, Dad, you can’t say ALL life is sacred and then advocate public executions of rapists or to “bomb the shit” out of civilians on the other side of the world who may not believe in the same god or moral ideals you do.

I hate to put it to you this way, but I can’t think of another way to say it: When you tell a woman that she isn’t monetarily worth the same as you or that she isn’t allowed to choose what happens to her body, then you are saying the exact same things that those you want to bomb are saying. You can’t be morally superior if you act and preach the same ideals.

I know you think the worst thing to ever happen to this country was that it elected a black man to the presidency (twice) but do you still believe that now, eight years later when more Americans than ever have health insurance, the world is free from some of the biggest terrorists it has ever seen, the auto industry has been revitalized, Wall Street and banking industry reform has allowed you to retire and keep your home, it was made possible for Bill and I to get married, and brought unemployment down from over 10% to under 5%? These are good things! And most of them required support from the conservatives in Congress.

And speaking of jobs, were either of your jobs ever threatened by immigrants, illegal or otherwise? Mom you spent thirty years as an accountant; did a Hispanic immigrant ever try to push you out? Dad, you were a science teacher that became the principle of a high school. When was the last time an immigrant demanded your job? In fact, do either of you know anyone who lost their job or missed out on an opportunity to work because an illegal alien showed up and would do your job for less money? How many janitorial, landscaping, or farm jobs did you miss out on? Can you really blame them for wanting to come here for a better life? Didn’t your grandparents come here for the same reasons?

Remember my friend Nellie? She is from Venezuela, college educated, and was a director for a computer and IT firm in her country. When she immigrated here, the only job she could get was housekeeping in a hotel. But she went back to school and earned her degrees (again) and is now working as a social worker helping Veterans return to the workforce. How can that be a bad thing?

After all these years of “fear” you still have your guns, you can still pray and worship as you choose, you still own your home, you can go anywhere and do anything you want. Whether you agree or not, your life is actually better now than it has ever been.

But I need you to understand, Bill and I worried that the promises made to have the same-sex marriage decision overturned will come true. We are worried that our black and Muslim friends will no longer be treated fairly or with respect. We are afraid that our female friends, Bill’s sisters, and even you, Mom, will become second-class citizens again.

We worry that it will be legal for children like us to be forced to go through “conversion therapy” to try and “cure” them of our “sickness”. We are concerned that transgendered people and kids will not be allowed to be themselves or will be bullied or coerced into suicidal attempts.

We are afraid that racist and xenophobic ideals will become mainstream and the rest of the world will hesitate to ally themselves with us.

We are worried that if one of our female friends becomes pregnant and falls on hard times or ill-health that she won’t have the option to choose between protecting herself or struggling for the foreseeable future.

We are worried that only those that are of a Christian faith will be allowed to worship and pray openly and as they choose. You’ve read The Bible, the Quran tells the same stories, so does the Torah. The central tenet of all religions is to be a good person.

Look, maybe your guy won’t get everything done he promised during the campaign, but if he does cut taxes, especially for the wealthy, or he does build a wall, or he does get same-sex marriage overturned, or any of the fear-mongering ideals he professed accomplished, it will set this country back decades. The division in classes will get wider and intolerance will flourish.

The founding fathers set this country up to be a country of freedoms, for everyone. Your freedoms should not eclipse mine or anyone else’s. Democrats don’t want rights for the left-leaners; they want rights for everyone. We don’t want superiority; we want equality.

Look, the point of this letter was to ask you, please, when we come for dinner, let’s be civil. We disagree on a lot of political ideals and policies. We all have our fears for the future. We just ask that we all refrain from name-calling, frustrated tones, and arguments that will just lead to awkward silence and/or parting angrily.

I love you. I know you love me, too. Let’s agree to disagree now and move forward. We will refrain from the use of the words “racist”, “homophobe”, and “hypocrite” if you will refrain from using “spics”, “n****r”, and “towel-head”. We won’t freak out about someone coming to take our marriage license if you don’t freak out about someone coming to take your guns.

Looking forward to sweet potatoes and Dad’s stuffing!

See you soon,

Your Leftist Son

Follow me here on Medium or on Twitter @StorytellerRob

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