Opinion: I Won’t Endure the Company of Family Members Who Disagree With Me Politically

Walter Rhein

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Reasonable people understand that there have to be basic limitations on certain concepts. For example, I believe in freedom of speech. However, I don’t believe that freedom extends to people threatening my family with violence.

The United States government agrees with me that threatening speech is not covered by freedom of speech. It is a felony to threaten government officials, and I think more people should be held accountable when they make threats.

The moment people stop engaging in respectful discourse and they try to bully me or threaten me into compliance, I distance myself from them. I’m not inclined to listen to anyone who insists on calling me names or who threatens my children.

In writing that, some people will accuse me of being intolerant. I think that argument is intellectually dishonest. You’re not intolerant because you refuse to let people punch you in the face. That is just a matter of self-preservation.

One of the reasons the United States is divided right now is that it’s impossible to discuss our differences with civility. There are a lot of lies and misinformation spread on social media sites.

In my experience, I find that people who spread misinformation become very hostile when you call them out on it. I suppose they feel embarrassed, but that’s no excuse for calling me names or threatening my life.

Unfortunately, many people make their political decisions based on inaccurate information. I don’t think people do their research. I think many people get all of their information from reading memes on social media, and that’s irresponsible.

The way I see it, the political landscape is divided because the percentage of our population that harbors radical beliefs becomes offended when you state facts. For example, if you state that the Civil War was fought over white supremacy, people will insult you. These same people often refuse to go and read the original texts that prove the historical truth.

Family members that disagree with me politically vote to make the world a terrible place. We’re supposed to help and support each other in this life. We aren’t supposed to sabotage each other. We aren’t supposed to fabricate excuses to blame certain groups for problems they didn’t create.

One of my political positions is health care reform. I don’t understand why this position is controversial. We pay too much for health insurance. Many Americans don’t recognize how much they pay because it comes out of their paycheck. If your employer pays a percentage of your health insurance, that’s still compensation that should have gone to you in the form of cash.

The problem is that even when you pay a huge amount of money to cover your health insurance, you’re still stuck with additional fees when you go to see a doctor. You’re stuck with fees to pay for prescriptions.

The way it stands now, you can work hard all your life and you’re likely to die broke because of healthcare costs. That’s not fair.

So what happens if a family member who opposes healthcare reform gets into a car accident? The next thing you know, you receive a bunch of messages about how you need to chip in to help cover the costs.

Why should I give any money to somebody who gives money to candidates that refuse to bring down the cost of health care?

Often, people who disagree with my political positions claim that hospitals don’t turn people away when they are broke. However, that is not always true. The fact is that poor people don’t get the same medical care that rich people enjoy.

If I have an anti-healthcare reform relative who gets into a car accident, he can pay for the inflated bills. That seems to me to be a fair consequence for a flawed philosophy. He can be the person who goes broke. Why should I have to bail him out? Why does he expect or demand money? When it goes to benefit him, all of a sudden he doesn’t consider it socialism.

I have no patience left for people who can’t see the negative consequences of their behavior. I don’t have patience for people who threaten me or my family with violence. I don’t have patience for people who don’t believe in elections.

If people think it’s acceptable for hard-working individuals to go bankrupt because of medical bills, then they can be the ones who go bankrupt when they have an accident. Once they’re bankrupt, they can’t contribute to the campaigns of politicians who are opposed to beneficial social reform.

Speaking of that, how can anti-socialism voters contribute to campaigns at all? If a politician wants money, he or she can go out and earn it as I did. If a politician is a billionaire, why does he need campaign donations? None of this makes sense to me.

The United States has moved away from holding people accountable for flawed philosophies. We also see that in massive bail-outs. I believe the United States of America is divided because there is a set of rules for the rich and a set of rules for the poor. We need to work towards a country where people are held accountable for their beliefs and the same rules apply to everyone.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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