Skip to main content


Ask Sparky

April 29, 2013

Dear Sparky: I’ve got a little bit of a family situation. My problem is my cousin who, thanks to a steady diet of Fox News, has decided that unions are bleeding our country dry. At our last family-get-together he referred to me and my wife, a school teacher, as “takers” and even threw in something about us “feeding at the trough.” Other than avoiding family functions, is there anything I can say to this guy that will shut him up?

-Had It in Haverhill

Dear Had It: Avoiding family functions would be my choice, but then you should see the litter I come from! Unfortunately the kind of mean-spirited trash-talking that your cousin engages in is all too common these days. Why if I didn’t know better I’d have to conclude that it wasn’t Wall Street but teachers and public service workers who were responsible for driving our economy into a ditch. The reality is that there probably isn’t much you can do to change your cousin’s mind. What you can do though is point out how extreme his position is. For example, I’m assuming that he drives his car on publicly maintained roads, relies on the security of public services like police and firefighters, or enjoys the occasional fishing trip to waters that aren’t chock full of chemical runoff. One other tip: I guarantee you and your wife aren’t alone at feeling uncomfortable with this fellow’s extreme point of view. Before the next family meet up rolls around, why not check in with other family members and ask for their support?  Either that or give him the wrong address...