Could I REALLY Marry a Republican?
So. You're probably wondering, what the heck does all that have to do with marrying a Republican? Not a single thing. I just needed to get that off my chest, which is already heavily overloaded. :D
But it's time for an explanation. To do that, you need to enter the mind of Master Sergeant Richard S. Shortt, USAF retired. Be careful; this is slippery territory. Just follow me very closely and watch where you step. Especially if you are related to the vice president. Like Cheney, my Dad likes to go out hunting every once and a while. Unlike Cheney, he's only shoots game animals. This fact should make everyone but the squirrels, deer and quail very happy. Cheney's hunting buddies need to go out shooting with my Dad next time. Wait. Rewind. What am I talking about?
There is only one group of people that my father despises uniformly--Republicans. As a life long liberal (but not progressive or radical; he ain't goin' that far), my Daddy feels it is his well appointed duty to loath Republicans. In fact, when I registered undeclared after I became a Baha'i, he was quite undone.
"I'm a Baha'i now, Dad."
"So? What's that got to do with anything? Baha'is don't believe in voting?"
"Yes, we are encouraged to vote and participate in our civic duties. But we can't get involved in partisan politics because it causes disunity between people."
Dad looked disgusted while he told me, "Ain't nobody causin' disunity except those damned Republicans!" Tirade launch number 543, 729. And that was over twenty years ago. The tirade count is well into the millions now.
Personally, I've done with labeling any political party or social group as "bad" or "good". Labeling people makes identification simple and straightforward, but it's rarely an effectively accurate way of opening up to the possibility of new relationships. And that's what I want to do: Remain teachable. Look for those precious moments of instruction, which is, (and I'm being open and honest here), something I never wanted to do in the past. This also means that I have do a bit of unlearning and accepting people just as they are. As a Baha'i, however, it means so much more. It means unlearning everything that I've thought about Republicans in the past, and loving them just as they are. This is admittedly a huge personal test.
About two months ago, my sister Tam and I were just casually chatting in my bedroom. My parents were in my living room talking, and during a lull in the conversation I was having with my sister, we both overheard Dad telling Mom, "The Sacramento Bee has that old ugly Alberto Gonzales on the front page." Immediately, Tam and I broke into helpless laughter. Typical anti-Republican comment from Dad, which we have always found hilarious. He doesn't, curiously enough. He meant that. To my Dad, Alberto Gonzales IS ugly, and it's not because of his facial features. The man chose the wrong party, and that's all that matters.
That makes me laugh even more. Like I said, the issue of loving Republicans is a huge personal test for me because it would mean that I would have to stop laughing so much at the mention of Dick Cheney's marksmanship (more accurately, lack thereof) or Baby Bush's malapropisms. That's also why I can honestly say that right now, I could probably marry any man of any racial, ethnic or economic background and receive my father's permission*, as long as the man isn't a Republican. If he isn't a Democrat or undeclared voter, Dad could possibly extend his civility to a Green Party member or an Independent. But if I came home and announced that my future husband is one of those card-carrying Republicans, everyone in the country would need to find those underground nuclear war bunkers. They would be the only safe place to hide from the wrath of Richard.
*Baha'is may choose to marry anyone, and they are encouraged to marry outside of their race, nationality, culture and/or religion, as long as they obtain the permission of both living parents, if at all possible. The purpose of marriage to not only bring together the couple in love and unity, but also the couple's families. Marriage and raising children is one of many ways to bring people of different backgrounds to unity and affinity.