Opinion: The real lesson of Adam Kinzinger's angry relatives
February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 24.3%. 2 min read.
A letter of rebuke sent to the Republican congressman by conservative kin is an extreme -- and extremely public -- example of a reality faced by millions of Americans over the past four years: politics gone far beyond differences of opinion and into bitter division, even (maybe especially) among families, writes psychologist Peggy Drexler. Is there a way out of this?
And yet, after he criticized former President Donald Trump for inciting the January 6 Capitol riot and called for his removal, a very conservative contingent of Kinzinger's family declared themselves "thoroughly disgusted," and called him a "disappointment. . .
Here is an extreme -- and extremely public -- example of a dilemma millions of Americans have faced over the past four years, where politics has gone far beyond differences of opinion and become totally and completely divisive -- even, and maybe especially, among families.
After the letter, he went on to become one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for "incitement of insurrection. " He told the Times: "I hold nothing against [my family], but I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that.
And while there is hope that things will start to be better under President Joe Biden, the damage that the family-values-espousing Trump has done to the American family is going to be with us for a long time.
Of course, public shaming does not have to follow such disagreement, and the Kinzinger clan seems remarkable in its willingness to air such a mean-spirited indictment of a family member.
It's OK to take a step back from a political conflict among family members, and not engage, and in the meantime hone in on your own beliefs -- know that you're standing up for a position you believe in, and not just one that reflexively runs counter to theirs because of their political leanings, be they Republican or Democrat.
You needn't accept their position, or even agree to disagree, but public shaming, Kinzinger-family-style, is definitely not beneficial, even if you think you're sure right now you never want to repair the relationship.