The Memorial Day weekend is over. Here in Tampa it’s still raining, and it has been raining most of the weekend. And there was plenty of weather to talk about among members of the same family here for the holiday.
If I mention this in a blog it’s because more and more the members of one family, together, say at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and most recently Memorial Day, find their being together, well somewhat… what, difficult. For they seem to have less and less in common, less to say to one another having for years gone their more and more separate ways.
What is making this happen right now? Having nothing to say to your brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts? In America, and probably also in no small degree Eastern and Weatern Europe there are those who find themselves deeply opposed to their often popular, anti-immigrant, and authoritarian presidents, as in Turkey, Hungary, and the USA, and who line up behind the last standing liberal, President Macron of France, and then there are those on the other hand, about as numerous, who seem to love the illiberal policies of their “new” authoritarian leaders. Witness the Evangelicals and the Republicans of the West of the United States.
While not putting up barbed wire fences as in the West of a century or two ago to keep the cows in too many countries are putting up fences, or would like to put up fences, to keep the people out. And when they get together for the holidays, to avoid shouting matches or even coming to blows if not getting up and running away, they talk more and more about safe subjects, such as the weather. Although even that if it touches upon global warming may lead to more shouting and often turns out not to have been safe.
I came to thinking about all this as I read MARTA FIGLEROWICZ‘s piece in the Boston Review, in which she wrote of her own family, of the different directions she and her siblings, cousins, parents, uncles, aunts… had taken since the end of the Soviet Union’s strangle hold on Eastern Europe, and since Western Europe’s own turning away from the democratic values of their own Enlightenment of some two centuries earlier.