If I meet two people for the first time and one is related to me and the other is not, I give the benefit of the doubt to the non-family member.
Biological connection means nothing to me. I only care about how a person treats me and to a lesser extent how they treat people I care about and people in general.
I get that I have benefited from the benefit of the doubt bestowed upon me by family members simply because of our genetic connection. I don’t care if they gave and give me extra care or love because of our genetic connection. I never asked them to and I’ve only ever asked anything of family members with whom I have a real relationship (those who I have more than a biological connection with and who I believe are 51%+ good people).
For me the notion that similar DNA affords you extra rights and privilege and responsibility is anathema to my idea of morality. I’ll present a pretty obvious analogy to define what I mean.
In the history of government systems, monarchy played a pretty dominant role for many centuries. It’s main tenet is that power and leadership rights are based on inheritance and family connection (sure there were exceptions and people manipulated the rules but I’m speaking in generalities here). Sometimes it worked. Sometimes the heir was a chip off the old block and was a decent leader. History has generally agreed that Louis XIV was a decent leader, beloved even. He didn’t get his position by any sort of test or proof of merit – just because he happened to be shit out of the right vagina. (I do have some family members who I consider decent people). But sometimes, and not rarely, did it not work, as in the case of Louis XVI of France. The people chopped his head off.
I’m more of a republican (small ‘r’). In a fair country, and I decidedly do NOT characterize the United States as this, I would make voting mandatory (you can write in Mickey Mouse – I don’t care – but you gotta vote) and I would make election day a national holiday and mandate that ALL absolutely non-essential businesses or organizations be prohibited from working. And that all public transportation would be free that day. And that all private hire transportation would be immediately reimbursed by the government if that was preferable to the particular voter. I don’t want to hear about how much that would cost because the USA has spent trillions on two asinine wars recently. This would be peanuts in comparison. I would also not have a right to vote in my system. Every person, regardless of any possible social, ethnic, economic, sectarian or any other possible grouping, would have to take an exam (that was absolutely culturally UNBIASED but still contained the core concepts) to prove they understood why voting was important and what it meant to vote. Again, they can vote for Kermit the Frog. I do not care. But if you’re living in my country, you are going to be fairly and equitably taught about voting and you will take some time on the day off and vote. If you’re so adamant about your right not to vote, I suppose I would allow that too but there would be a hefty fine – let’s say 500.00 – which would be applied and donated to your favorite charity. That’s the best I will offer.
So yeah, I don’t think suffrage is something you should just be born with. And yeah I know that makes me sound like an elitist asshole. I don’t care. The majority of the population of the USA does not even bother to vote. I frankly do not have sympathy for that kind of apathetic electorate.
I know this crazy system of mine is a fancy that will never happen. It’s a supreme fancy to think the USA will ever have a fair educational system. It’s supreme fancy to think the principles espoused in the declaration of independence were ever actually put into practice by any administration in the history of this country. You can go on dreaming that you’re living in a fair society (and to be fair I think the 3 people reading this rant do not think this society is fair at all) but I’m not asleep anymore.
So family for me is really just the most ubiquitous long con ever perpetrated on the human race. You are asking me to love you because we share common DNA. You are asking me for a dispensation that is based not in the slightest on your actions.
I think it’s wonderful and miraculous that many of the people I love have family members who love them and treat them well (sure, they fight, etc, but that’s normal – I’m speaking overall of a relationship dynamic that is “healthy”). I’m also sure some of the people I care about do not have a healthy family dynamic. And I think that’s probably the most fucked up thing that can happen to a person.
As for me, it’s a mixed bag. Some of the people I’m supposed to love, I love. Some of the people I’m supposed to love are reprehensible vipers wearing human costumes. I make no apology for this opinion. For me love has always been earned, not given. I know I’ve benefited from unconditional, traditional “family” love. Great, that’s awesome. But I sure as hell didn’t deserve it and I sure as hell will not continue that fucked up tradition.