Family Is As Family Does
It’s past time we dumped the limited definition of what a family consists of
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. — Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
I long ago came to the conclusion that the narrow definition of what constitutes a family was a manipulative myth authored by the same people who brought us the middle class to shatter the power of labor unions by convincing “white-collar workers” the really important part of their label was “white-collar” and not “worker”.
The dictionary defines “family” as a group of people related by blood, but throughout most of history, and likely all of prehistory, the “family” was the group of people you lived, loved, worked, and slept with, and whom you joined in the defense of the group and all effort to ensure its survival. When you consider that, it becomes obvious why redefining the concept so it’s limited to a heterosexual couple legally joined in a manner approved by the state and their direct offspring. It was that, in my opinion, that laid the foundation for the unworkable mass of sub-tribes currently being used to keep us fighting each other instead of our enemy.
They know they’re our enemy. Recently, it became clear to even them that an increasing number of people are also growing aware they’re our enemy. Suddenly, both political parties are all about “helping families” and “cherishing family values” when, in fact, everything they do is all but guaranteed to do just the opposite. Credit where it’s due, now they have the populace divided into a hundred little cliques all demanding attention and attacking all the others, finding a way to weaken family solidarity is a natural next step. And might it not be considered that the drive to convince people living with one’s parents is a social faux pas little short of perversion because grownups live all by themselves in apartments or, if possible, their own home? Think about it.
So, the new gimmick is to tsk-tsk and try to guilt-trip people into thinking they’re at fault if they don’t gird up their loins, paste a grin on their face, and head off to spend hours in the company of a “traditional” family where they’re either ignored, criticized, and/or bullied. In the end, this is guaranteed to shatter “family solidarity” beyond repair.
How, you ask, will trying to get along with radical relatives weaken family solidarity? Because getting along with toxic people with whom one shares lifelong emotional ties just isn’t possible. The psychological effort required to deal with toxic people doesn’t lessen just because one shares the same parents. In fact, it’s worse, because not only must one deal with the toxin but with the rest of the family either taking sides or scolding one for not joining in the discussion. Especially if, as is getting more and more common, you’re the outlier in a family that to one degree or another embraces ideas opposite to yours.
And then there’s all that baggage from the past that inevitably gets hauled out of basements, closets, and attics.
Mind, I’m not just talking here about newly-christened leftists sitting down with their MAGA uncle. Radicals come in all shapes, sizes, and politico-religious persuasions; and listening to someone screaming for a socialist uprising is just as poisonous as hearing about how President Trump got robbed.
There’s an old saw that says you can’t pick your relatives but you can pick your friends. My question is: Who decided it was only relatives that qualify as a family? If a family is a group of people who care about one another, are ready to pitch in to help one another, and keep each other safe, what does sharing DNA have to do with it?
There are millions of lonely people of all ages in the US who could use a family, including the ones who can no longer mingle with the one they were born into. Nothing prevents us from finding them and seeing if there are bonds to be made, communities to be created, lonely hearts filled. I don’t mean building a bubble where everyone thinks alike, either, because that’s toxic, too. You’d be surprised how many people you’d maybe dismiss as being unredeemable Trumpists actually share may of the same opinions on things you do. I know this because I run into them on a daily basis—simply by stating the facts of what’s wrong with the system without dragging in politics.
After all, it worked for Trump. It was only after the primaries that he started attacking the Democrats. Up till then he sold himself—literally—as being against both parties. The Democrats, meantime, were busy sneering at the people he was conning. I try to only sneer at pretentious Comfortable Class elitists who explicitly or implicitly show their contempt for anyone they consider “stupid” or “ignorant”. The ones who seriously criticize people working two jobs to feed their kids and keep the roof over their heads for not understanding Marxism or whatever.
The holidays are coming up. If you just can’t bring yourself to sit through a day with people who not only disagree with you but hold your ideas and ideals—and possibly you—in utter contempt, don’t. Drop by with something for the dinner but say you’re having a few people over yourself so you can’t stay. Then have a few people who’ll appreciate having the company over. Make a new family. The bigger, the better.