EPISODE 14: “Help! My Father is a Right-Wing Racist Voting for Trump!”
It’s a story old as time itself — the son has values and beliefs that directly clash with his father’s. He’s a leftist, progressive, liberal democrat. His father is (according to his description) a “right wing racist asshole.” They fight constantly, like drunken sailors in a bar.
Can this relationship be salvaged? Before you jump to the defense of the leftist son, take a listen at how Charlie breaks down the problem and solution (there’s enough blame to go around, and the solution, like the problem, is complicated).
This week’s problem was submitted to “Ask Andrew WK“ in the Village Voice.
I’m writing because I just can’t deal with my father anymore. He’s a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics. I’m more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values and I know that people like my dad are going to destroy us all. I don’t have any good times with him anymore. All we do is argue. When I try to spend time with him without talking politics or discussing any current events, there’s still an underlying tension that makes it really uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I love him no matter what, but how do I explain to him that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the environment, and pushing away the people who care about him?
Thanks for your help, Son of A Right-Winger
All In The Family episode mentioned by Charlie: “Lionel Moves Into The Neighborhood S-1 E-8” – aired March 2, 1971. “There goes the neighborhood! Archie’s glad to see his neighbor move, but he’s not prepared for the first black family in his neighborhood.”
- Liberal vs. Conservative Parents: Ideology Affects How the Kids are Raised (Chicago Tribute, Sept. 25, 2014)) [American Trends Panel survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, interviewed 3,243 adults (with and without children) about what qualities we should be instilling in children]:”Among liberals, 82 percent rank curiosity as especially important to teach children and 85 percent give high marks to creativity. Among conservatives, 57 percent call curiosity especially important and 63 percent say the same about creativity. Eighty-six percent of liberals say empathy is important to teach children, while just 55 percent of conservatives agree. Conservatives value obedience in much higher numbers than liberals, with 67 percent of conservatives calling it especially important to teach children, compared to 35 percent of liberals. The aforementioned religious faith, highly prized by conservatives, receives high priority from just 26 percent of liberals. And the tolerance that so many liberals value? Just 41 percent of conservatives give it high ranks.“
- Do Children Just Take Their Parents’ Political Beliefs? It’s Not That Simple (The Atlantic, May 1, 2014) – “A study recently published in the British Journal of Political Science, based on data from the U.S. and U.K., found that parents who are insistent that their children adopt their political views inadvertently influence their children to abandon the belief once they become adults. The mechanism is perhaps surprising: Children who come from homes where politics is a frequent topic of discussion are more likely to talk about politics once they leave home, exposing them to new viewpoints—which they then adopt with surprising frequency.“
- 29 Things Only People Raised By Conservative Parents Will Understand (BuzzFeed, Apr. 3, 2014)
Have advice or comments about this week’s problem? Leave your feedback and advice in the comments below, via email at ask[at]nobodyasked.com, or via voicemail below.