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Author Topic: When Political Opposition Becomes Personal Hatred
Daruma28
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I've been mulling the topic to this thread in my mind all day long.

I base it on two anecdotal experiences...but I'll start with the rhetorical question: Why do people embrace political beliefs to the point of personal hatred?

Now for the anecdotes that brought this thread about...

Anecdote One: In 2004, a few months prior to the election, A friend of mine's father died. I knew him pretty well too, so I attended the funreal. His eldest daughter, my friend's sister, gave a pretty good eulogy...until she got to the end of her tribute. I could not believe that in the midst of grief, crying and mourning in the room, she says "I know that Daddy is in a better place now that he is with Mommy, but I KNOW his one regret is that he died before seeing that George Bush lose this upcoming election. Boy did Daddy hate Bush."

My friend assures me that this was absolutely not the case, that his father didn't even care about National US politics. Rather, his sister had just seen Farenheit 9/11, and had become a self-styled "Hate Bush" town-crier. She had been calling all of her family and friends and preaching and proseltyzing the message of casting out the devil that is George W. Bush. I can at least understand that first part...but injecting that into your Father's memorial? Bush Derangement Syndrome indeed.

Anecdote 2: I had dinner at my Uncle-In-Laws house last night. Now I may get into some heated debates here at OA about politics, but I KNOW better than to mix politics and religion into dinner talk amongst family and friends. Nothing but trouble....anyhow, while looking at his book and DVD collection prior to dinner, I had to silently laugh. He's got all the Micheal Moore movies,"Outfoxed," Al Franken books, "Bushwhacked" by Molly Ivins and a whole bunch of other books along the same vein.

Anyhow, I don't say a single comment, and my wife and I avoided any political discussion whatsoever while eating dinner.

But it was after dessert when he began his diatribe. Some statements I recall:

"I HATE Bush with all of my heart. He is the worst thing to ever happen to the world...ever."

"Republicans are the worst kind of poisen to ever afflict this State and this country."

"My favorite hobby is to write nasty emails to Republican talk show hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly and Rusty Humphries."

"Fox news is nothing but lies! Only CNN gives truly fair and balanced news!"

Of course, in the interest of maintaining familial harmony, I kept my mouth shut during all of this...from past experiences, I and my wife pretty much expected as much anyhow. But it got REAL bad, when he than included my Grandmother-in-law:

"You know what Grandma wants for her 90th birthday? To see George Bush's Funeral!" He than looked at her and said, "Right mom? Tell them..." and she looked at all of us and said "I hate that George Bush. I've never hated anyone in my entire life, but now I hate that Bush."

This got my wife and my other uncles and aunties visibly disturbed and upset...but nobody said anything. It was quite shocking to see how this man has basically brainwashed his frail, 89 year old mother who suffered a minor stroke last year to parrot his own political hatred...and this woman has NEVER EVER EVER expressed hatred of another person in her entire life.

Also understand that my wife's other uncles and aunties are basically all liberal Democrats that don't like Bush, the Iraq war, tax cuts for the rich, etc. etc. either, but even they were somewhat taken aback by this naked expression of HATRED by a woman they have all known their entire lives to have never expressed a hatred of any person before.

To be quite honest, I would be offended if the situation were even the exact opposite...if Grandma had told us she hated Hillary Clinton in the same manner or if my friend's sister had injected a hatred of John Kerry in her eulogy, I would have been equally apalled.

Politically, I am basically opposed to just about everything Democrat (at least our modern, 21st century version of the Democrat platform anyhow), but their is no politician I "HATE" on a personal level that would make me want to inject that into situations where it is clearly inappropriate.


So my questions to Ornery are this...Is this phenonena I've noticed simply a few isolated occurences not significant at all? Have you experienced such things in inappropriate social settings like a funeral eulogy? Do you really, truly HATE the leaders of the political view you oppose? How far would you go in your hatred?

And finally, I have one final observation here: Maybe it's my own anti-liberal viewpoint that is coloring this, but noticed a common trend...

Whenever a person that does not know my political views starts talking to me about politics, I notice that liberals/Democrats almost always assume the stance that the person they are talking too MUST think the way they do. OF COURSE the war in Iraq is wrong. OF COURSE anyone that voted for Bush is a complete idiot. OF COURSE you couldn't possibly think that tax cuts are anything but a risky scheme to enrich Republican donors.

If I express even a little dissenting point of view, the look suddenly becomes almost abject horror...like suddenly I transformed into a horrid monster before their very eyes.

I once had a student of mine look at me and say "How you can you believe the Iraq war is justified? I thought you were smart?"

Based on my own experiences, I think this is an attitude that has become pretty pervasive in our society.

Does anyone have stories similar to mine? How about similar but from the opposite perspective? Like a stranger or casual acquaintance expressing shock and outrage that you DON'T support Bush/the Iraq war etc.?

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Mormegil
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I usually assume that people I don't know well don't agree with any of my views.

I'm usually right.

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RickyB
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Say, Daruma, you've never met ANYONE
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Sancselfieme
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One of my older sons has become completely enchanted by the neo-con movement. He's read Perle and Frum's book, and checks PNAC's site weekly for new thoughts to think. I was glad that he took my conservative viewpoints to heart over the years, but when he became such a vehement neo-con supporter it wound up creating trouble at holidays and family functions.

He came back up here with the wife and kids for the 4th of July this past summer. We had a great barbeque. Sitting around that picnic table though he started talking to his kids about the 4th of July and started drawing crazy analogies between our independance day and what we were doing in Iraq. Then he started to tell his 2 kids that anyone who disagreed with it was an enemy of freedom, liberty and democracy. His wife started getting a little uncomfortable and I could tell that this was an ongoing problem they were having.

Unfortunately this little civics lesson continued and worsened until my aging father, whom I would call the best-tempered and fair-minded man I have ever met finally exploded and told his grandson to "shut up and stop spouting that rubbish." In my family most of us are all conservatives, and while most of us agreed with my father we were a little suprised at his words to my son in front of the grandchildren.

To make matters worse this only escalated the conversation and it wound up disrupting the evening with my son insisting he find himself and the boys a motel! His wife stayed with us that night, and she was unusually quiet about the whole thing. The next day he returned and started to appologize for overreacting, but then still told us all in front of his children that we were absolutely wrong and we were setting a horrible example for the "next generation."

[ September 22, 2005, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: Sancselfieme ]

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Daruma28
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That's exactly how I think as well Mormegil...I don't assume that someone I don't know well either thinks likes me or is a dumbass - but I've met quite few people that do take that attitude and tact.
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RickyB
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Say, Daruma, you've never met ANYONE who is obsessive to the same degree, only in the other direction? You've never met any conservatives who, if they bother talking to you, assume you must think like them? Please. This is a universal phenomenon. Some people are like that.

As for funeral eulogies - I've heard of strong political sentiment being expressed at them, but only at funerals of people who were known to have been very political.

I've had people express utter shock/contempt both upon learning that I was such a damn lefty, AND upon learning that I wasn't quite] as much a pinko as they.

[ September 22, 2005, 07:11 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Pelegius
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I don't "hate" Mr Bush, I don't hate anybody, and anyway he seems pretty amiable, although not very bright. I do, however, hate his politics. I have close friends who are Republicans, I don't think that political leanings are so important as to void all other considereations.
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Daruma28
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heh. Good anecdote Sanc. That's exactly what I was wondering. Seriously, I have yet to ever meet someone as a self-described neo-con neophyte that acted like you describe. But I have met plenty of liberal folks like that. But then, perhaps that's simply a matter of demographics as I live in one of the Bluest State in the union....

Ricky, what do you mean? Were you trying to be funny? I don't get your point...

EDIT - Nevermind, you elaborated while I was posting this.

[ September 22, 2005, 07:17 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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Daruma28
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Well Ricky, I have never been to a funeral or other social event where a person inappropriately interjected political opion that was either Pro-Bush/War or Anti-Democrat/Liberal...even during Clinton's impeachment.

In my personal experience, I have not seen the widespread hatred associated with opposition politics at this level...but again, I do concede that that may simply be because I live in a very blue state - perhaps this was commonplace in the 90's in Idaho or Utah some other similarly Red state...

Which is why I bothered to write this thread. I wanted to see if this in fact does happen in reverse to my own experiences.

As Sanc posted, I now see that that is obviously happening.

I don't pretend to project my own experience as absolute reality, if that is what you assume I am doing. [Smile]

[ September 22, 2005, 07:24 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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Zyne
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quote:
Is this phenonena I've noticed simply a few isolated occurences not significant at all? Have you experienced such things in inappropriate social settings like a funeral eulogy? Do you really, truly HATE the leaders of the political view you oppose? How far would you go in your hatred?
I don't think it's isolated. I think the cause is Bush's policies, including as they are interpreted and carried out by his followers.

As for the bad behavior at the funeral, it happens every time someone confuses love of country with love of god. Or confuses support for Bush with love of country.

It is IMO a dangerous and hateful idea to believe that everyone who disagrees with you treasonous. People who do so are bad for the country. It's not really relevant that those folks are in the minority in the Republican party. The vast majority of the Republicans endorses those conclusions at least in part. Too many of the people who say those things are Republican party insiders or darlings. They say that they speak for the majority and the majority only sits by in silence.

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JS Millings
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We respond to our fears by grasping on to something larger than ourselves. We respond to our grief by trying to make the loss feel less severe. "If Daddy died, even though he never held any hatred of Bush, I can feel closer to him if I tell myself that what is important to me was important to him. That somehow I am carrying on his legacy." OR "9-11 freaked me out and the neo-cons are responding with the belief that America needs to move into the world with deliberate power to spread democracy...that makes me feel safer so anyone who thinks differently doesn't just disagree, they are my enemy."
These are common delusional acceptances of things which calm our fear or relieve our grief. Reason is abandoned. Hatred is justified. Nationalism becomes our idolatry. Falsehoods become our comfort. It is unreasonable. It is severely, and yet sympathetically, human.

[ September 22, 2005, 07:38 PM: Message edited by: JS Millings ]

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Daruma28
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Ok Zyne...

Are saying this is a new phenomenon? And that it is directly attributable to Bush's policies..i.e. his fault? Is this than make such actions as those I described in my anecdotes justified in your eyes?

Also, can you seriously show me actual quotations of Bush or Bush Admin officials that have stated that everyone who disagrees with them is treasonous?

Because for the life of me, I cannot recall any of them ever making such statements.

Sure, Ann Coulter has...but she's an extremist pundit. We should not use that to paint an entire political philosophy anymore than we should let Micheal Moore's outlandish ideas like "9/11 happened becasue there were no blacks aboard the planes" define the entire Democrat philosophy.

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Daruma28
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quote:
We respond to our fears by grasping on to something larger than ourselves. We respond to our grief by trying to make the loss feel less severe. "If Daddy died, even though he never held any hatred of Bush, I can feel closer to him if I tell myself that what is important to me was important to him. That somehow I am carrying on his legacy."
That's a good point, and may definitely be true.

Welcome to Ornery JS. [Smile]

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Jesse
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Daruma, this is absolutely not a one sided thing. At all.

One of my uncles, who had been living with my grandmother in sort of a mutual support situation (he was divorced, she was widowed, he got place to stay and she got rides to the doctor, ect.) for several years, moved out and stopped talking to her because she kept telling him that Clinton really wasn't Satan Incarnate.

Now, my grandmother wasn't exactly a Clinton supporter, she was a dyed in the wool New Deal Democrat who thought "The great society" was idiocy even while the laws were being passed. She just didn't want to listen to the hatred spewing out of my uncle, who thought it was his job to run his own Limbaugh show for everyone else in the room.

Anyway, he called her every foul name in the book one day when she put her foot down and told him she was tired of hearing it, moved out, and never spoke to her again, even while he was passing away from cancer 5 years later.


A friend of mine at work stopped talking to me because prior to the invasion of Iraq I told him that he was right, we would roll over Iraqs conventional military in days with few casualties but that we needed to expect massive rebuilding costs and prolonged violent resistance that would cost far more lives than the initial battle.

I told him I felt that the people needed to be presented with the full (and easily forseeable) costs before the decision was made, he accused me of calling Bush a liar, I responded that Bush was only a liar in the sense that ALL politicians are liars, that he tried to obscure the downsides of his policies.

He started shouting about how I was a blind dupe of the liberal media, and I just hated Bush, and how dare I not support our troops (who were not in combat in Iraq at the time, this was pre-invasion remember), and telling me I was a dirty liberal faggot.

When I say anger management counseling works, I mean it, I just walked away from the guy without a parting shot. 'sides, he was 25 years older than me and way outta shape, wouldn't have been much fun anyhow [Smile]

Guy was still shooting me dirty looks a year later, refused to work with me, started stealing my tools and my paperwork, and left any room I entered unless he was required to be there.


I got more if want em.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Good anecdote Sanc. That's exactly what I was wondering. Seriously, I have yet to ever meet someone as a self-described neo-con neophyte that acted like you describe. But I have met plenty of liberal folks like that. But then, perhaps that's simply a matter of demographics as I live in one of the Bluest State in the union....
It's pretty universal, Daruma. I suspect the more partisan you are, the more inured you are to the noise from your own side.
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Daruma28
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That's great Jesse...that's exactly what I'm talking about. Like I said, Hawaii is about as Blue as you can get. We have probably the most entrenched union/Democrat party power structure running the entire state in the whole country...so I assure you all, the fact that I rarely run into outspoken GOP/Bush supporters is not unusual here.

I do have to amend though...I now recall a trip to meet some distant relatives of mine in Idaho, I had one Cousin thrice removed ranting all night long at dinner about liberals and Democrats. The guy thought he was Rush Limbaugh too.

I couldn't help but hold in my laughs and keep from rolling my eyes in his face.

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RickyB
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"perhaps this was commonplace in the 90's in Idaho or Utah some other similarly Red state..."

Ah, in the 90's, but not anymore. No, now people who used to be like that from the red side have all been born again to the gentility, humility, and tendency to find the good side of others that good Conservatives are renowned for.

Well, mission half accomplished. Now all we gotta do is fix the blue side.

</dripping sarcasm>

Sorry man, you're good people mostly, but you crack me up sometimes.

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Daruma28
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Ahhh but Tom, I assure you, I am NOT inured to partisan politics from the right either.

I cannot watch FOXNews without mentally smirking while noting all of the overt and covert instances of pro-Bush/GOP biases in their coverage and reporting.

And like I just posted, I was pretty annoyed at my distant cousin talking about "stupid libruls" and "Clinton is the antichrist re-born" rhetoric.

People seem to ALWAYS assume I'm a card carrying Republican simply because I support the war in Iraq and agree with tax cuts. Other than those two issues, I am in disagreement basically with the rest of the GOP agenda.

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WarrsawPact
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quote:
I couldn't help but hold in my laughs and keep from rolling my eyes in his face.
Heh, I got a very strange image in my mind when I read "rolling my eyes in his face."
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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"perhaps this was commonplace in the 90's in Idaho or Utah some other similarly Red state..."

Ah, in the 90's, but not anymore. No, now people who used to be like that from the red side have all been born again to the gentility, humility, and tendency to find the good side of others that good Conservatives are renowned for.

Well, mission half accomplished. Now all we gotta do is fix the blue side.

</dripping sarcasm>

Sorry man, you're good people mostly, but you crack me up sometimes.

lol

Ricky, I was specifically referring to the Clinton Era, and that there may very well have been the "hate Clinton" phenomenon like I described in my anecdotes about the current W. Bush era.

That is the only reason why I referred to the 90's and Red States...because Clinton was President. Here in this blue state of Hawaii, I never encountered it.

[ September 22, 2005, 08:12 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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JS Millings
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Thank you for the welcome, Daruma. I hope your friend's sister heals from her grief and your Grandmother-in-law is restored to her simple kindness of heart. We're all prone to lack of reason now and again...and again. [Smile]

[ September 22, 2005, 08:13 PM: Message edited by: JS Millings ]

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Daruma28
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Consider yourself lucky. The usual welcome around here is:

"Welcome to Ornery, you're wrong." [Smile]

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JS Millings
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Funny. I'd invite that too though. If someone greets me in such a way it is an opportunity for their growth. [Wink]
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Funean
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It is the traditional Ornery greeting, started by KE, whose internet access is not what it could be this week as he has been evacuated.

Daruma, the little old lady who sold me my house in 99 launched into a diatribe about how the Clintons were The Most Evil People To Have Ever Been In American Politics, appropos of absolutely nothing, on the day we were doing the final walkthrough.

It was something like this: "Now, you remember you asked the electrician to reroute this wiring, and here's the new work. I swear, those Clintons...." and off she went.

It was quite bizarre. The seller and I kind of exchanged those raised eyebrow "loony in the house!" looks, smiled mildly and sidled a few steps away to discuss whether we were keeping the appliances and how 'bout them Phillies.

Also, travel through the Bible Belt sometime with a rainbow sticker on your car (and may I point out, it was the old Mac Apple sticker, for the love of Mike. Not a pride thing at all). It's loads of fun. You'll get to hear all about liberals then.

People are just nucking futs, sometimes; it's one of those personality/ego transfer things, like obsessive attachment to one's hometown sports teams.

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Daruma28
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quote:
People are just nucking futs, sometimes; it's one of those personality/ego transfer things, like obsessive attachment to one's hometown sports teams.
Yeah. I get this thought in my head that our political system is just basicall the APL - American Political League.

Red Team vs. Blue Team Superbowl, once every 4 years.

Red team won the last two, and the blue team fans are currently going nucking futs....their about due for a win in Superbowl '08.

Thanks for the anecdotes folks...keep 'em coming please! I find them quite fascinating.

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Funean
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Oh! I remembered a funeral one!

My maternal grandmother, 4'10" of virulent mountain lady racist, lived with my folks for the last year of her life. She died in the beginning of December '02, and the siblings decided they'd wait till the following summer to have the memorial service in their hometown (she asked to be cremated, so the wait wasn't an, er, issue). I mention the delay because by the time they had the service I was approximately one million months pregnant and was being rolled around on a handcart, so I missed all the excitement.

You have to understand that my parents are converted Goldwater Republicans (i.e., they totally reject what is now called the Republican Party, and mourn for the good old days). Of the four siblings, there is Mom, her younger sister, who is a Church Lady who lives in Ohio, the youngest brother, my flaming cranky queen uncle (easily my favorite relative), and the oldest brother, who a) is a converted Texan, b) thinks the neo-cons are too liberal c) is high up in the Boy Scouts and defends their gay=pedophile conflationary policies, despite his gay brother, gay son, and bi niece, and (most significantly) d) a functioning alcoholic.

Throw it all in the blender and it's a funeral not to be missed!

Evidently Elder Uncle started off on George Bush, Mom reminded him that not necessarily everyone agreed and that maybe this Wasn't The Time, which triggered a full Pinko Godless Commie fit, complete with actual frothing and family members taking sides. Evidently, at one point, some food items were thrown.

The only thing missing was big ole pregnant alternative lifestyle me and my big mouth, although Younger Uncle did call me at one point so's I could listen in a bit. I'm still bitter. [Big Grin]

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
It was something like this: "Now, you remember you asked the electrician to reroute this wiring, and here's the new work. I swear, those Clintons...." and off she went.

There's a guy who walks up and down our open-air mall wearing an anti-Clinton (Bill) placard and screaming. He's got anti-Kerry stuff, too.
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A. Alzabo
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quote:
Oh! I remembered a funeral one!

Fred Phelps...
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Zyne
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quote:
Are saying this is a new phenomenon? And that it is directly attributable to Bush's policies..i.e. his fault? Is this than make such actions as those I described in my anecdotes justified in your eyes?
It's new to me, but as we all see, it is not at all new to others.

As for the first incident, that's up to the family to determine whether it's appropriate.

For the second, it is perfectly reasonable to me that she thinks Bush is worse than any of his predecessors. I, for one, can find far more good things about Reagan or Bush I than about Bush II.

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Daruma28
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Now doesn't that sound like some Funean Family Funeral Fun?!?!

lol

quote:
my flaming cranky queen uncle (easily my favorite relative)
No wonder you like kenmeer so much....

(yes, ken, if you ever get to reading this, I'm joking...at least about the queen part. [Wink] )

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Funean
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Oh, that whole side of my family is like a Faulkner novel, or an Appalachian version of Updike.

The sad thing of it is that Elder Uncle has his moments (the redheaded relatives have to stick together); he and Younger Uncle and I spent a significant portion of the evening of Grandpa's funeral on the Front Porch (those of you who are Suthrun know about Front Porches), passing around a bottle of bourbon and singing "Minnie the Mooch" and waving at the neighbors driving by (one day one of us is going to have to do a thread on the Vast System of Southern Front Porch Wave Code).

[ September 22, 2005, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: Funean ]

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gr8fulreader
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Thanks for bringing this topic, needed to vent this for a long-ish time.
disagreements in family along party line is SOOOO familiar, it's not funny! and most of us on my side on the family weren't even born in this country! all of us came to US at various points in time from 70es to 90es!!! I kept looking for answer why it is so brutal when it comes to dealing with politics, and one program on Channel 13th put my mind at ease - it was the same - quite brutal and dirty and merciles - since the inception of the country and first elections, etc. So we are just keeping up with the tradition! [Smile]
But seriously, I am very frastrated with the level of this hatered and disagreement and brutality. The bottom line is - it is not productive. So much energy is waisted in this effort to have the last word no-matter-what!

[ September 22, 2005, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: gr8fulreader ]

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flydye45
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Does anyone else remember the Sen Paul Wellstone funeral?
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Funean
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Not personally...
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Politics would probably be cleaner if dueling was legal [Smile]

--Firedrake

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erik the awful
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quote:
Originally posted by flydye45:
Does anyone else remember the Sen Paul Wellstone funeral?

I remember some democrats crassly using it for their own purposes. Election Year Funerals <shakes head.>
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Zyne
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Yes, a crying shame, as he was such a good republican. *snort*
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A. Alzabo
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quote:
Does anyone else remember the Sen Paul Wellstone funeral?
Yeah, I remember thinking: "What Democratic Senator flies in plane when Republicans want to win seats?"
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kenmeer livermaile
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"So, Mr. Livermaile, you'd be uncomfortable approaching someone in a manner I suggested? "

I'd have made a good queen. I look good in a dress.

Fun's front porch should host Shakespearean plays. Just to show them up.

[ September 23, 2005, 01:38 AM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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Worst thing I ever heard said about Republicans was when some sleazeball rumored they were choosing Dubya to run for president. Thought I, they're not that silly.

But then, a few years later, barely recovered from running Gorebot 2000 as candidate, Kerry was predicted early on as likely Dem candidate. Obviously a conspiracy by them evil Repubs...

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