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Sandy Knauer

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Blogs by Sandy Knauer

Uncle Charles Hates Towel Heads and Queers
12/5/2004 10:29:39 AM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

There I was with fifty years of love and admiration invested when I discovered his love meant nothing at all. What do you do when that happens?
This man had shown up on every holiday, picked me up when I fell, cried when I cried, laughed when I laughed, clapped when I sang, carried my furniture up three flights of stairs, visited me in the hospital, danced with me at my wedding, and dried my tears at funerals. What did that mean if he could just as easily hate other people for no reason?

“Nuke them all,” was the first sign. I thought it was a joke (not a funny one). But he didn’t laugh. “We need to nuke that whole area off the map,” he continued.

He would get over it. He would realize how wrong he was to say that, and regret the confusion that allowed those words to slip between his lips. I had faith in him; he would never truly wish innocent people dead.

But he didn’t take it back. He never did laugh, or apologize. He didn’t catch the splinters of my heart as they scattered in unexplored directions.

Those people became towel heads. He wanted them dead. He said it often and loud.

I heard every possible rationalization for continuing my relationship with him from other family members. He’s family. He’s a good Christian man. He donates time and money to charities. He hasn’t ever done anything to you. He’s entitled to his opinion. Did they agree with him?

“We aren’t taking sides,” they said. “Don’t ask us to.” I wasn’t asking for sides, I was asking them to stand for principles. Everyone should have their own principles and standing for them isn’t taking a side. It’s being real.

As the political climate changed, so did Uncle Charles’ vocabulary. Nigger and queer joined towel head and spic. Uncle Charles hates them all and his ability to hate came as a devastating surprise. I had assumed he loved everyone the same as he loved me. Should I be grateful for the climate that made openly expressing his hatred so comfortable for him, so I’d know the truth? Or was this a case of what I didn’t know didn’t hurt me?

“If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything,” my mother advised. “He has a right to his opinion.” He has a right to hate people he doesn’t know? I had to think about that. On the surface, it made sense but deeper, where my heart and mind dissected the situation into possibilities, probabilities, and consequences it wasn’t acceptable. Was it my business?

Education was the answer. Somewhere along the way, he had missed some important lessons in Sunday school. He hadn’t absorbed Grandma’s seldom spoken messages of love, and everyone knew he hadn’t read a book in years and watched the news only long enough to catch the sports and weather. I would help by bringing the needed information to him. He was a good man. He’d appreciate my help.

I collected articles and books, and prepared debates and composed scenarios. He didn’t appreciate my effort. He didn’t look or listen. He laughed. “You sound like a damned hippy,” he shouted. “Keep that crap to yourself. You have a heart and a brain. The heart belongs to the church and the brain will get you in trouble if you go twisting what the church teaches this way.”

“Your church doesn’t teach you to love everyone?” I asked. “Don’t they tell you it’s wrong to kill? That’s what nukes do, Uncle Charles. They kill.”

“I’m not killing anyone,” he offered as his final comment.

Uncle Charles didn’t want to talk to me any more. But his kids had plenty to say.
“You need to keep your mouth shut and get along,” one said. “You hurt his feelings,” came from another. My aunt shook her head. “You’ve divided the family with your hatred,” she accused.

My hatred? My mouth? My division? All I had done was try to talk to him about his hatred of innocent people and the death wish his mouth delivered. I was the bad guy?

Pleas came in from everywhere. “The family that prays together stays together. You have to come on Thanksgiving for the sake of the family, and don’t cause trouble,” they warned. “Don’t ruin our holiday with your negativity.”

I tried. I really did. I packed up my children and grandchildren and joined the rest of the family for a day of gratitude and kinship. Uncle Charles said grace. While he thanked God for wealth and health, flashes of starving Iraqi children with blown off limbs distracted me and ruined my appetite. I bowed my head lower, in shame for what my country was doing to other families while we gathered to express gratitude for not suffering the same fate we forced on them. Is that how God planned it? Should I participate in thanking Him for something I believed He wanted no part in?

“Dig in everyone,” brought me out of my trance. “Gramma, what’s a towel head?” delivered me from my quiet.

“It’s a very ugly name some people call others,” I whispered.

“Why?”

“Because they don’t know better,” I explained. “But you do, so don’t ever say that again.”

“Can we teach them better?”

“We’ll talk about it later.”

What Uncle Charles didn’t know might not have hurt him, but it did hurt me. When his hatred filtered through his family, and they used it to vote for an administration that would use their uneducated opinions to kill people in my name, they hurt me, they hurt my children and grandchildren, and they hurt innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do people really have a right to be this ignorant, and demand that I keep my mouth shut?

“Don’t brainwash that baby with your liberal bullshit,” the nearest cousin advised, with the amen of his hypocritical prayer still on his breath. “Towel heads are terrorists who’ll kill us if we don’t kill them first.”

My semi-brainwashed baby’s eyes stretched in fear. “Kill us?”

“Nobody is going to kill us,” I said. “Eat your turkey.”

“Are we going to kill them first?” my grandson asked.

“Do you want mashed potatoes?” I answered.


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More Blogs by Sandy Knauer
• No Resolutions Here - Friday, January 04, 2008
• Link to flagged article - Thursday, March 15, 2007
• God Does Make Garbage - And Other Annoying News - Friday, February 09, 2007
• Action Alert: AFA at it again - Wednesday, January 24, 2007
• Kid-free Zone - Sunday, December 10, 2006
• He Deserves Better - Saturday, September 30, 2006
• Glasses or Stage? - Wednesday, August 16, 2006
• A Walk With My Real Mother - Friday, August 11, 2006
• Al Gore and My High School Reunion - Thursday, July 06, 2006
• Damn You - Sunday, July 02, 2006
• And Not So Great First Dates - Sunday, June 25, 2006
• Great Dates - Sunday, June 25, 2006
• Happy Father's Day For Me - Saturday, June 17, 2006
• We Don't Share Crayons - Friday, June 16, 2006
• Roly-poly Slobber - Monday, June 12, 2006
• John Wayne and Elvis Were Full of Shit and You Probably Are Too - Monday, June 05, 2006
• Ignorance Is Bliss - Monday, May 29, 2006
• Let It Be - Thursday, April 27, 2006
• Can We Leave Justice to the Luck of the Draw? - Friday, April 14, 2006
• Gospel of Judas - Thursday, April 06, 2006
• Healthcare Costs – How We Turn Molehills into Mountains - Tuesday, March 28, 2006
• Feather Light - Monday, March 20, 2006
• Dissecting Charity - Saturday, March 11, 2006
• Sublime Abandon - Monday, March 06, 2006
• Behind the Headlines - Saturday, March 04, 2006
• Define Education - Saturday, March 04, 2006
• My American Idol Pick - Wednesday, March 01, 2006
• Tepid Judgment - Tuesday, February 28, 2006
• Purpose - Thursday, February 23, 2006
• HUH? - Tuesday, February 21, 2006
• Coddled Insanity - Sunday, February 19, 2006
• Ooops, My Bad - Thursday, February 16, 2006
• I Don't Need A Wife - Monday, February 13, 2006
• Fuzzy Edges - Monday, February 13, 2006
• Who's Reading - Sunday, February 05, 2006
• Patriotism Without Compassion - Friday, February 03, 2006
• Is Literary a Dirty Word - Friday, February 03, 2006
• Bottled Promises - Wednesday, February 01, 2006
• All The Lies - Tuesday, January 31, 2006
• Suspended In Time - Monday, January 30, 2006
• Plea to Democratic Party - Tuesday, January 24, 2006
• correction - Friday, January 13, 2006
• Alito's Sideshow and Abortion Soapbox - Wednesday, January 11, 2006
• Hard To Swallow Those Extra Words - Friday, January 06, 2006
• While You Were Sleeping - Monday, December 19, 2005
• Where Do Angels Hide - Tuesday, December 06, 2005
• Bob's Dinner - Sunday, November 13, 2005
• There, But For The Grace of God - Tuesday, November 08, 2005
• Delay Precedent - Friday, November 04, 2005
• Forget Stupid Apologies - Wednesday, November 02, 2005
• Once Upon Another Time - Thursday, September 22, 2005
• Remember Him When - Wednesday, September 21, 2005
• Somewhere In The Middle - Tuesday, September 20, 2005
• I Can't - Monday, September 19, 2005
• Twister Anyone? - Thursday, September 08, 2005
• Application Denied - Wednesday, September 07, 2005
• Timeline - Monday, September 05, 2005
• What Time Is It - Saturday, September 03, 2005
• My Hundred Thirty-Two Pounds Worth On Dating - Wednesday, August 24, 2005
• Across The Board - Thursday, August 11, 2005
• A Day For News - Thursday, August 04, 2005
• War On Sex - Tuesday, July 19, 2005
• Warning: This News Contains Mixed Messages That May Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health - Friday, July 15, 2005
• Action alerts - Thursday, July 14, 2005
• Ten Rules of Conduct - Monday, June 27, 2005
• What Exactly Is a Quagmire? - Thursday, June 23, 2005
• Who Are You? - Sunday, June 19, 2005
• What right does Wendy Wright - Saturday, June 04, 2005
• Huh? - Thursday, June 02, 2005
• Bush honors war dead? - Tuesday, May 31, 2005
• Bras and Burqas - Tuesday, May 31, 2005
• Huh? - Saturday, May 28, 2005
• I Feel - Saturday, April 30, 2005
• Good Kids Don't Steal or Lie - Wednesday, April 27, 2005
• Dead Wrong - Thursday, March 31, 2005
• Speaking of starvation . . . - Thursday, March 31, 2005
• Some Interesting Misconceptions - Saturday, March 26, 2005
• Who gave Donald Iarussi permission to speak for Democrats? - Monday, March 21, 2005
• we must always err on the side of life" - Monday, March 21, 2005
• Did the Punishment Fit the Crime? - Saturday, March 19, 2005
• Open Letter To the FOP - Sunday, March 13, 2005
• Land of the Rich and Silent War - Tuesday, March 08, 2005
• Another question - Sunday, March 06, 2005
• AD Messages - Wednesday, March 02, 2005
• Breakfast, Soda Machines and Cigarettes - Thursday, February 24, 2005
• A few questions about Social Security - Friday, February 11, 2005
• Here's the Beef - Wednesday, February 09, 2005
• More supporting the troops? - Monday, February 07, 2005
• Action links - Monday, February 07, 2005
• Support the Troops?? - Monday, February 07, 2005
• Was It Really About Morals? - Sunday, February 06, 2005
• Lori - Sunday, February 06, 2005
• You Will Have A Concrete Garage - Saturday, February 05, 2005
• Clarence’s Appendix - Saturday, February 05, 2005
• Return To Yesterday - Saturday, February 05, 2005
• William J. Neven - Friday, January 21, 2005
• Opportunity? - Wednesday, January 19, 2005
• They have "earned the RIGHT" to kidnap?? - Thursday, January 13, 2005
• Strawberry Lane - Sunday, January 09, 2005
• Get out?? - Saturday, January 08, 2005
• Got an extra $25,000 ?? - Wednesday, January 05, 2005
• Good question L.R. Farley - Tuesday, January 04, 2005
• Generous? - Wednesday, December 29, 2004
• eeek! - Sunday, December 26, 2004
• 16 or 18 districts registered - Sunday, December 26, 2004
• Eye-opening article - Thursday, December 23, 2004
• Today's Questions - Thursday, December 23, 2004
• More questions... - Wednesday, December 22, 2004
• One more down... - Monday, December 20, 2004
• Confused again - Monday, December 20, 2004
• Wishful Writing - Monday, December 13, 2004
•  Uncle Charles Hates Towel Heads and Queers - Sunday, December 05, 2004  
• The Value of Diplomacy - Thursday, December 02, 2004
• Malnourishment doubles in Iraq - Thursday, November 25, 2004
• Hats Off To the Ukrainians - Thursday, November 25, 2004
• Next . . . - Wednesday, November 17, 2004
• Open Letter To Southeast Christian Church - Tuesday, November 16, 2004
• Rest In Peace - Sunday, November 14, 2004
• Value Oriented Heath Care - Thursday, November 11, 2004
• Focus: Fallujah - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Do Flowers Grow In Fallujah? - Tuesday, November 09, 2004
• Who Are They Hurting? - Sunday, November 07, 2004
• The Sorrow Runs Much Deeper - Saturday, November 06, 2004
• Morality? - Saturday, November 06, 2004
• Protect My Freedom - Wednesday, October 20, 2004
• Race For Terre Bluff - Monday, September 13, 2004
• The War On Truth - Sunday, August 15, 2004
• Did he really say that? - Thursday, August 12, 2004
• Did John Kerry vote for Bush's war in Iraq? - Thursday, August 05, 2004
• It's time to let the men do the shopping - Friday, July 30, 2004
• School Prayer - Friday, July 30, 2004
• God Love Her - Monday, July 05, 2004
• Prayer Requests - Tuesday, May 11, 2004
• For a good time, call Bill Chambers - Tuesday, March 16, 2004
• what's the issue? - Wednesday, February 11, 2004
• Principles above Popularity? - Thursday, January 29, 2004
• condescending arrogance - Saturday, January 24, 2004
• Electability? - Saturday, January 24, 2004
• Whining about Whiners?? - Thursday, January 08, 2004
• Choices - Friday, January 02, 2004
• Honest Poll? - Thursday, January 01, 2004
• Medicare/Social Security - Saturday, December 27, 2003


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