My father is the smartest person I know. When I was a kid, long before there was Google, there was Daddy. You could ask him any question and he would know the answer. It didn’t matter if it was history, world politics, geography, math … he knew it. When we played Trivial Pursuit, the game ended as soon as he had his first turn; he would simply answer every single question correctly until his little pie was filled up with all the colors and he won. Kind of like a pool hustler who sinks every shot.
I’m 58 now, and he is 83. He has always been conservative in his politics, so it didn’t surprise me that he wasn’t a supporter of Hillary Clinton. But when I found out he was pro-Trump, I was astonished. He’s simply too intelligent for that.
Early in the presidential campaign, I expressed my surprise about his choice. It almost immediately turned into a very unpleasant debate. After that, any time we were together and I mentioned something Trump did that surprised (read: disgusted) me, again it would instantly turn ugly. I decided pretty quickly that in order to have a relationship with my father I needed to stay away from those conversations completely. It wasn’t as easy as just not bringing up the subject, because he would bring it up himself. He’s a dedicated newspaper-reader and news-watcher, and the current situation is so baked into everything happening on earth right now that’s it’s just about impossible to avoid.
As a result, I now speak to my father very little, and almost never about any subject of real interest. The same is true of my children, my sister, my husband and most of our family, who also avoid talking to him. My mother is becoming isolated from the family as well as a result of this, and it’s quite painful for her. She loves my father very much and has always stayed in alignment with his politics; this time I’m pretty sure she doesn’t agree with him but she doesn’t want to live in a state of angry argument either so she stays quiet.
Because my father is so intelligent, I know that he must have some very interesting reasons behind his choice for Trump. Someday, I would really love to hear them, but I’m afraid of it turning into a long lecture (he is literally a lecturer by profession) during which I will constantly be biting my tongue to avoid another tremendous argument. But someday, I will pop some corn, mix a strong drink and ask him to explain.