I’m So Grateful I Grew Up Before FOX News

I grew up in the 70s, when Vietnam occupied a portion of each newscast (until it didn’t), and we sent Voyager deep into our solar system to return close-up images of Jupiter and Saturn. My father still believed in science, and I learned about dinosaurs and evolution. My father did not attend church. I attended public schools in mostly small communities where I had the reputation of being something of a heathen. My father and I rejected Creationism.

The news was either ABC, CBS, or NBC at 6pm. It lasted half an hour, and then we could amuse ourselves with Donny & Marie, Carol Burnett, or even All in the Family. My dad mostly agreed with Archie Bunker — and even physically resembled him — but there was no liberal conspiracy in those days. Just Meathead. We made fun of Pravda, the Soviet propaganda network.

When I left Christianity and pursued other spiritual horizons, no word was said. It wasn’t a problem. My mother hitched along for the exploration.

My parents encouraged me to go to college and did not pressure me to study one thing or another. When my learning confronted their beliefs, a wall was angrily erected, and I learned not to discuss these things. My father was disappointed that I protested the first Bush’s Gulf War. They tolerated my vegetarianism.

I married a man they did not like. He didn’t like them, either. We all pretended and got along. There were only three safe subjects of conversation: computers, airplanes (my dad’s favorite thing), and family gossip.

Dad was always a TV addict. He liked to have one in every room. When FOX News came on, he could watch it all day long. And he did. Its voice was not that of Cronkite or Rather or Jennings. It suggested things he had not considered before. It reassured him in ways he had not been reassured before. It “opened” his mind to a new way of thinking about the world.

Meathead was no longer a liberal. Meathead was now a “libtard,” a socialist, a fascist. He was part of the plot to destroy America and kill everyone who disagreed with him. There were agendas hidden within agendas hidden within agendas. Feminists were in on it. Gays were in on it. Muslims were in on it. And they all wanted to take his guns.

“The end result, leftists believe, justify WHATEVER they do. Murder? Sure. Innuendo? Lies? Slander? Absolutely. Make those routine.”

Science, once respected, was now suspect. Climate change was a myth. Vaccines and the whole of western medicine were part of the plot to chemically enslave us. Fluoride was evil. Too many scientists were part of the liberal agenda, headed by George Soros, perhaps.

“Mr. Soros is not only a traitor to America, he is a traitor to his very heritage, He is a Jew and he actively worked for NAZI Germany to find Jews that were hiding. He may be the only living Jewish NAZI.”

When I left the hated husband, my parents rejoiced. When they discovered it was because I was marrying a woman, they chose denial. When denial ceased to work, they chose ignoring my spouse’s existence. When that ceased to work, and I had a baby, they secretly hoped that they could take her away from us. And then I cut them off.

“If you favor it, marry one, but don’t think that makes you a Christian.”

“ All churches are being infiltrated. All of them. You’ve heard how the Left wants to change the Catholic church. The United Methodists have recently elected a gay woman to be a BISHOP.”

“Thanks to Liberal meddling, we no longer have a society that knows the difference between boys and girls.”

My father has now become a fundamentalist Christian, in opposition to his former agnostic stance. Gays and lesbians are hell-bound. Transgender people are “confused.” If he had a child now, he’d homeschool her, so that she’d learn the “right” things. He spends his time commenting on alt-right websites. He is also losing his sight.

“It isn’t an accident that the vast majority of teachers are Democrats. It is a long term plan being played out in your school. Bite the bullet and pull your children out of school.”

“Most of you know I am fond of pointing out that leftists want the authority to kill or imprison those who disagree with them.”

My father was always difficult. We were never going to agree on many things. But now he talks about the “coming civil war” with the “left,” all of whom deserve to die, I suppose. That would include me. I do not know this person. He probably doesn’t know himself. But he knows what he is told to think. And I am grateful for dodging a bullet by growing up when I did.

“The world will never be calm and settled until the last liberal is buried.”

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Writer, painter, cat fancier, troublemaker, democratic socialist, & antifascist.