When politics become too personal: What we didn’t talk about at Sunday dinner
But there was one thing we hardly ever talked about.
It happened to the family only 20 years before. It hurt too much. It had been terrifying and unspeakably ugly, and the wounds were still too raw:
The Greek Civil War.
The occupation by the Germans and Italians was bad enough, and Athens starved. But when they left and the Communists tried to take over, the unspeakable things began.
“It starts out as politics,” my late father once said about the Greek Civil War. “But when the blood gets in your eyes, it’s not about politics anymore. It’s personal.”
It all becomes license for personal revenge. That man who didn’t want you to marry his daughter; the family that may have bested you in business; that teacher who blocked you from entering university; that farmer who moved the border stones marking the fields to take your water.
Or now, I suppose, it might involve those trying to deny you employment and a place in civil society because you’re on the wrong side of their politics.
I’m not saying we’re at the brink of armed conflict now. I would never advocate violence. I condemned Trump for inciting the riot, demanding those who stormed the Capitol be sent to prison.
Many conservatives and Republicans who agreed with Trump’s economic and anti-war foreign policy have said the same thing.
But what I’m seeing now worries me, with Democrats in power, in control of the executive branch and both houses of Congress because of Trump.