Soon, next weekend, we'll have our huge family Christmas party.
They will all be there, from the sister who made a point during the Proposition 8 fight of saying that she cannot support my family (though, she enjoys nothing but love for us), to my Bishop brother who stays away from the topic, to our various gay family members. Most were right behind us, despite their church's instructions, but some were not and others, I'm sure, would rather the whole issue just go away before they have to stand up and say what they believe one way or the other.
As I said, in October, something has broke in my family with Prop 8. That wasn't temporal. It has. I can feel it, see it clearer each time we're together. I see it in a sister's fumbling around simple pleasantries, in my parents' curtness with some of them, and I see it in me, as I described in that post.
But the thing is I don't have really strong feelings about these relatives. I've never been able to hold anger well, even when I wanted to... or maybe even when I should. For all their strange talk of free agency, about magical actions somehow neither caused or not caused, the reasons some of my family did what they did here seem fairly clear; the causality in humans is often quite simple, too simple. Once I take time to think about the whys, I've no place left to set anger. It's just a lesson learned about how that person's mind works.
My wonder is, though, should I feel anger, to change how their mind works next time? Or, as the subjective emotion is not really a choice, should we gay relatives show some form of anger when we're together with extended family who acted to harm our homes? A cold shoulder? A verbal confrontation? Do we have to be abrasive now to get the point across, make it uncomfortable, so that later they'll factor us and our children into their decisions more strongly? I think Edgy brought this to my mind with a comment a while back and it's been on my mind.
I know. People want to say anger doesn't help anything; "people" often including me. People want to say they'll never negotiate with such tactics and I'm the sort to recoil from the use of it anyway.
But I'm wondering; is there a use for it here? I mean, my family knows me. I'm probably the calmest guy they know. They know I get my kicks out of bland stuff like collecting data and look at the world in much the same way I look at my lab: I feel wonder and awe, and I'll also feel frustrated or sadness when things go bad, but anger at anything just comes off as silly. Point is, when it came time for family to decide what to do in the marriage debate they knew I'd not get angry. They knew I'd still be pleasant at our next encounter. Hurting us offered far less of a threat than the threat of "disobedience to God" the other side was selling them. If they were to bet, why not bet on their leaders instead of me? I offered very little downside.
I'm not sure it's in me to act hostile without feeling it. To be honest, I probably am unable and this post is a bit pointless because 1. I'm a horrible actor and 2. it strikes me as dishonest to act angry without actual anger. But I'm still wondering... Is anger what's needed to make their calculations come out right next time? Does a show of anger have a useful place when someone hurts your family? I'm not really sure. Does anyone have in-family experience they could share here? Does it just end in tears and frustration, as I reflexively expect, or do people actually act more inclusively when they can't count on us being a good sports?