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Are you now, or have you ever been?

February 11, 2010

The other night at dinner, the discussion turned to inter-racial marriage. A relative at the table made a comment directed at Rocky’s daughter — and Rocky (perhaps impolitely) asked the guest to refrain from making such comments in his house, at his table, to his daughter. (Rocky respects everyone’s right to an opinion, however, there are also boundaries on indoctrination of one’s children, and the guest’s comment stepped over Rocky’s line.)

Rocky’s exact words were, “I find your comment extremely offensive. Can we please not discuss this.”

Needless to say, a heated argument unfolded, where the guest claimed that Rocky was not “listening” to the guest’s “entirely reasonable” exact words. Whereas, Rocky claimed that the guest was oblivious to the unspoken meaning of the words, and in any event it was disrespectful to lecture his daughter after Rocky expressed discomfort with the subject.

As the temperatures rose, the guest’s wife, suddenly blurted out, “Rocky, you know what you are? You’re a … [dramatic pause] … a DEMOCRAT!”

In the interests of full disclosure, Rocky is not now, nor has he ever been a member of the Democratic Party. Yet — that the word “Democrat” would be hurled as an insult towards Rocky speaks volumes about the current political climate, and even more about his guests’ respect for those who hold different opinions.

[Disclosure: Later that night, as Rocky tucked his daughter into bed, his daughter asked, “Daddy, are you really a Democrat?” Rocky’s answer, “No, child. But I also know that neither you nor I need lectures about personal matters. If I want a lecture about the ‘right’ answers to life’s questions, I can always visit the blogosphere.”]

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  1. February 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Rocky,

    I’d still like you if you WERE a democrat. (I wouldn’t want to be seen with you in public, but I’d still like you.) 🙂

    I’m joking of course. To me, political and religious ideology have no bearing with respect to the true character of a person. It’s how they conduct themselves and how they treat others. Lecturing someone else’s child on anything in front of the child’s parents is dubious at best, disrespectful at worst.

    In my opinion you were right to step in Rocky, and your relative was wrong to press, especially in your home and with your daughter involved.

    Since it was a relative, it’s not as shocking, since, as they say, you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your relatives. But still – some audacity.

    Cheers,
    George

  2. February 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    If the relative had shouted that in our house, my dog would have rolled over. Old family joke (from my great-grandma Bacon, who was a staunch Democrat in a family of Republicans): teach the dog to play dead when you ask “Would you rather be a live Republican or a dead Democrat?” Of course the trigger word is “Democrat.” It is a bit embarrassing when I need to get my dog to lie down in public and I have to say “Democrat! Democrat!”

    BTW did the relative tell you whether you were a War Democrat or a Peace Democrat (or maybe even a Bourbon Democrat or a real old school Democrat-Republican)?

  3. February 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    George: Your comment about choosing friends and family reminds Rocky of the following truism: “You can pick your friends. And you can pick your nose. But you can’t pick your friends’ nose.”

    Dave: Great story!

  4. February 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    True about the political climate…and still laughing about “Democrat! Democrat!” With apologies beforehand, Fakename can’t help picturing Rocky’s daughter, trembling with fear at the prospect that her father is One of Those People. “No dear,’I’m not a Democrat.” “Okay then, are you a werewolf?” “No, dear.” “Well, then are you a …..” etc.

  5. masteroftheuniverse
    February 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    As tacky as your guest was, you played it much better than I would have. If we have parties bigger than 20 for dinner, I always hire a big boy to keep order. Since he’s an off duty cop, he is an expert at removing someone without making a scene. since yours was a small get together, a taser would have been nice……bTW, have you ever been tazed? We have one, and my late wife nailed me just to see what it would do. i wouldn’t recommend it.

    jeff

    • February 15, 2010 at 8:12 pm

      I have just the weapon, my Galah, the silent assasin……..

  6. February 13, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Oh nooooo….Fakename is now having to picture Rocky tasing his relatives at the dinner table. Not sure if the rules of etiquette require you to ask nicely once or twice before employing the taser option.

  7. February 13, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Fakename:
    Which is worse: Tasing one’s guests at dinner … or tasting one’s guests for dinner?

    Dining at Rocky’s house can be expensive. That dinner cost an “arm and a leg.”

  8. February 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Fakename can only say that she is beginning to share Rocky’s daughter’s fears. Thinks Rocky is neither a werewolf, vampire, or Democrat, but possibly one of the pod people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_the_Body_Snatchers.

  9. Boabdil
    February 13, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I can provide a personal view. When well meaning and not so well meaning people inquire about the race of my child, I first ask them to define “race”. If we get beyond that discussion, I then ask about their knowledge of the human genome project. Some people may be surprised about their own genetic ancestors. Last, I ask for an explanation of the difference between “race” and “ethnicity”. I usually end the discussion by insisting we have to deal with facts and if we can’t our facts correct there isn’t much to discuss.

  10. kim
    February 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Interracial marriage isn’t a big deal compared to inter-species. Speaking of sci-fi, “District 9” is a parody of Apartheid-for-aliens, who resemble lobsters and are insultingly referred to as “prawns”. There is an inter-species undertone to the film, and thus it is not child-friendly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_9

    Our parakeet, “Yellowface”, thinks I am her spouse and encapsulates many female qualities in her tiny cranium. She gets jealous when I hug the wife (flying against the bars of her cage). She always wants attention, sulks when no one is in the room to sing with her, but when you put your finger in her cage she bites HARD.

    Love is complicated.

  11. ld
    February 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Having seen the power of Rocky’s words, I don’t understand why he only said “I find your comment extremely offensive. Can we please not discuss this.” Taser guns need to evolve for another couple hundred years to have the force of a well constructed Rocky sentence.

    Regarding indoctrination, I am curious why Rocky felt the statement was inappropriate for his daughter. In that instance the statement was made in Rocky’s presence, but surely many statements have been made and will be made without Rocky around. If the idea behind indoctrination is to expect the subject not to question, then perhaps one defense is to question.

    Rocky’s daughter may still have questions about the inappropriate statement and especially about Rocky’s views around it.

    The “democrat” part is really funny! What have we come to…

  12. February 14, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    LD: Good to hear from you. You’ve been quiet of late … and have been missed…

    Thinking more carefully about this, one reason that Rocky spoke up at all, was not really about indoctrination — but rather to teach his daughter that it is not virtuous to “go gently into the night.”

    (See Dylan Thomas,
    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15377

    and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Not_Go_Gentle_into_That_Good_Night )

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