I grew up as a compulsive people pleaser. I was shy as a kid, and I had depression at a young age. Friends came and went like traded NFL football players. My parents and extended family were all that I had to cling to. I appreciate everything that they have done for me, but my parents and I don’t agree on much anymore.
I used to be able to talk to my dad about politics, with him not saying much. To him, my liberal opinions were radical, nonsensical, and conflicted with his go-with-the-flow, non-confrontational attitude. He would stop talking when he didn’t want to address an issue, and it may be easier for him not to argue, and to go with what everyone else thinks. That’s not who I am, at least when it comes to things I don’t think are right.
I went to an event with my father, and at the event there was a prayer (which I didn’t participate in) and they pledged to the American flag. I don’t believe in institutionalized nationalism. When I was in high school, I saw kids get assigned lunch clean up duty for not standing for the pledge. This violated their first amendment rights, and angered me. I shouldn’t have to stand, or pledge, to something that isn’t constitutional.
I asked my father “Wouldn’t you rather I know why I would pledge, instead of just going along with what I’ve been taught?”
He said that he “Didn’t want to talk about it with me, because it would get ugly.” Maybe I should’ve just backed off, but I didn’t.
I asked him the same question again, and he screamed, “Because everything has to be so fucking melodramatic with you. You make everything into a huge deal, while you spout out bullshit radical views that you heard on the internet, from people with no experience!”
He sighed in frustration. He looked at me once again, his face twisted in rage as he yelled, “I told you that it would get ugly!”
I replied with “Okay.” It wasn’t worth arguing about, because my father grew up so saturated in outdated beliefs, that nothing would ever change his mind.
I can be loud, and obnoxious, but I always stand by my principles. I really don’t give a fuck about who’s comfortable with what I say. As Jon Stewart said, “I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance.” I’m not going to do things because they might make my life easier for a second or two. I’m young, and I have a lot of growing up to do, but I’m open-minded and prepared to grow. My father isn’t.