We have next-door neighbors that we've had for over 20 years. We are both 45, and they are both around 65. We could NOT be more different from each other. We are Atheists and Liberal Democrats, and they are born-again and VERY right-wing. But they are really good neighbors. Bring us baked-goods, nice to us, etc. We do the same. But every once-in-a-while the wife says something bad about President Obama, or worse, something racist, etc. Once she asked me to sign a petition to help get abortion made illegal. I said I would never sign something like that. She HAS to know we are Democrats, we've seen each other @ the polls and she's seen signs in our yard, etc. SO. I just stepped over there today to tell them (and be friendly, because they are always complimenting our kids) that our daughter, 20, got a paid internship (YAY!), and our son who has been homeschooled (our daughter never was) got his GED on the first try (he got it because there is no diploma for homeschoolers in IL). I was proud and knew they'd be happy for them.
Anyway, to make a short-story long, she brings up President Obama and how he's a Socialist,drank and snorted cocaine (I pointed out that even if he did, which I don't know, so did her precious George W and she ignored that) and instead of just changing the subject, I decided to not be quiet. I just said well I am voting for Obama again, and we'll just have to agree to disagree. She just sort-of mumbled something and stepped over by her husband. Before THIS conversation, she said her pastors daughter was married to a , and she WHISPERED IT, black man. She is very racist. How 'christian' of her! She also has said everyone shouldn't get healthcare because if 'they' get it, it will take away from 'us'. WHAT? I said to her then "Well that doesn't seem very christian", and then she back-tracked.
I don't think she knows we're Atheists and I KNOW she doesn't know my daughter is bi-sexual or she would just die! I know they already wonder how such heathens raised two great young-adults.
I am NOT keeping my mouth shut anymore. Anything racist or stupid-religious (like when she said'god' sends the tsunamis because he's mad, etc. I am going to be very ladylike, but firm in saying that that is AWFUL. I will not just change the subject to avoid controversy with a neighbor that is literally a few feet from our house.
Thanks for letting me rant!
Booklover, I work with senior citizens so once in awhile I get a client who comments about Obama being a socialist (ooh...the best was a lady claiming FDR was a socialist...I'm pretty sure she was collecting social security). The worst was I had some overbearing non-Jewish yenta who wouldn't stop trying to convert me to Christianity, believed Obama was a Muslim, foreign born, etc. Nowadays I'll just say I don't talk about politics. (Which is not exactly true...with my regular client, a lifelong republican who likes Obama, we talk politics all the time!)
The good part that I can take from having clients, or neighbors like this, is seeing the humanity of people who think very differently from me. If people still treat each other like neighbors even if they have very different politics, this is a good thing. If politics is an argument about the best way to live, by treating each other badly for different views, it's making quality of life worse. (Of course, there are some ideas about how to live that I just can't tolerate.)
Prog Rock Girl, along the same line, my son (almost 18) took our 93 year old neighbor to the hairdressers. While they were waiting, out of the blue, she said to him "So what do you think of black people?"! After he got over the shock he said "I don't really think anything. I just judge people by the kind of people they are, not what color their skin is." Our neighbor sat there a while and then just said "Well that's good." What a question!!!!~ Melinda
My wife and I have experienced similar bigoted remarks form friends and family who consider themselves christian's and since they have no problem espousing their opinions we intern give ours. When we confront them with their bigoted remarks they either deny they are or get angry (for being called out). After these confrontations two things happen, either they don't bring up the subjects anymore or they stop associating with us. We haven't changed their minds but at least we have let them know what's on ours.
Good on you and your wife John! I love that you don't let people get away with that crap!~Melinda
Okay, this just happened to me. I just got back from taking my next door neighbor to the doctor. He is 88, can't drive anymore, so I help him. His 50 y.o. MR daughter lives with him, so I help with her too. No big deal, I seem to get much more out of it than they do. Anyway, coming back from the doctor, the maid/helper he and his family hired to help out around the house just told him today she was quitting. Only been working for him 3 weeks. The reason? She found out I was an atheist, and could't be around someone like me. He has known for a few years, and has never treated me with anything but friendship.
I was kinda speechless for a moment. Before I could say anything, he placed his hand on my arm and said, don't worry, that is her problem, not ours. We are fine. I can get somebody else. All I could say was thank you. Then he said, no, thank you for all you do for us.
So, dumb just comes from all places. But so does understanding. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest, guys. Be well, my friends.
great story Tony. thanks for sharing.
Wow Tony! She couldn't be around someone like you? Like nice and smart and rational?! lol. What a nice man he is though! Glad you could get this off your chest and sorry you had to go through it! Your friend, Melinda
Yes Melinda, he is a nice man. I'm so glad he is my friend. I truly get so much more out of helping him than he gives me in return. Though I've heard from others he feels the same way, that he gets much more out of our relationship. Thanks for your thoughts, and tell your daughter congrats. We all will be looking to hear from you.
Thanks Tony! :)
Let me see if I got this right. A religious person, working for pay, walks out the door leaving an 88 year old gentleman and his developmentally disabled daughter to fend for themselves because a friend of the family doesn't buy her brand of superstition. On the other hand, the atheist who helps the family does it based on simple human decency. Multiple choice question.
Which of the four proudly claims to have morality based on a belief in bronze aged superstition?
And, to take nothing away from you, Tony, but your neighbor sounds like he's a class act!
Pat, he is. I am kinda loathe to say this, as it seems like bragging, but I do multiple things for him. I go shopping for him, go pay his bills, to the post office. I also check in on him daily, more than once daily (when I'm not at work), do minor chores for him around the house, take his daughter places. And me and Ann go to dinner/lunch a couple times a week, as I enjoy her company. Sweet person. I'm not trying to brag, it's just who I am. Do for some other people too. You truly, truly, are repayed when you do what is right. Don't need no damn book to get morals from. Its just a natural extension of our common humanity, or should be, as I see it. Thanks, my friend. Be well in all things.
Tony, you're not bragging. And, you're right about being re-payed. I've a got a law partner who occasionally rolls his eyes at me. While he's settling million dollar estates, I'm the one in the office representing minor children from abused homes and warring parents. I figure they don't have a lobby, can't make political contributions, can't influence legislation, have no special interest groups on their behalf, and can't put up a retainer. Though I once had a 12 year old girl offer me the entirety of her savings - $15.00 - to take her case. I did it for free and ended up convincing the prosecutor to put her abusive step-father in prison. But, they have no one else to speak for them. Turns out they're the best clients any lawyer could ever hope to get. And, doing what's right for them is good enough reward, in and of itself. Take care, and give my best you're neighbor and his daughter.