My Brother Died Watching Fox News


My Brother Died Watching Fox News

No, he did not overdose on Fox News, but I suppose that is possible, especially for a fair-minded person.

Fox News’ claim of being fair and balanced, as the world knows, is a standing joke, an oxymoron, to liberals and sane minded folk. But to brother Bryan, Fox News provided the simple answers to the world’s many problems. The answers were hardline Conservative approaches, threats, and military action against our enemies and anyone disrespectful of the USA. Bryan thought Fox always was the patriotic answer. Black helicopters, CIA intrigue, assassinations, unfriendly government overthrows were his thing and a ready answer to timid, bleeding heart liberals.

My older brother was a major in The U.S. Army Special Forces. Upon retiring to the Reserves he joined a group of military re-enactors, acquired the guns, uniforms and equipment required to reenact every military conflict of the USA. Several months before his death from lung cancer he did his last re-enactment. He was so weak after chemo and radiation cancer treatments he could barely drag his butt to the reenactment campsite. I am sure he knew it would be his last reenactment. He found himself alone at a cold snow covered Virginian farm field, which was the reenactment site. For some reason his usual buddies from the Albany, NY area never showed up. Bryan might have died of exposure had he not been rescued by a group of re-enactors from Indiana. My stubborn brother was grateful for their invitation and joined their campsite. He repaid them with his legendary story telling around their campfire for the next two nights. Although his vehicle had broken down, his tank was still full of gas; he was never at a loss for words.

Bryan was three years older than I. We could have been from different parents we were so different. We never killed a six-pack together, he needed no help with that, and I had no interest in his flamboyant life style in high-school and college.

When I walked into his bedroom shortly before his death, he was propped up watching Fox news on the TV screen at the foot of his bed. It was so loud I had to turn it down to hear his last weak words. He habitually gazed across the room at the silent screen as we talked. There was no hint in his demeanor that he would soon be dead. He showed no fear of death. Did he believe in God and an after life? Had he accepted Christ as his savior? I don’t know and I was reluctant to bring the subject up. I tried to give him some opportunities to discus the subject but he never took the bait. I never knew him to be a religious person so my guess was he never thought about it deeply. He never showed any sign that he believed in an after life, and he did not worry about it as far as I knew. Some of his friends probably prayed at his bedside. If they did Bryan would not have objected.

Did I love him? Perhaps now that he was dying from lung cancer, and suffered greatly during treatment I could say I loved him. As I sat at his bedside I was not nearly over my anger with him. Every time I saw him I pleaded that he stop smoking. He ignored me. Several years before his cancer diagnosis he stopped smoking but by then it was too late. What a dummy! He had so much more to give to the world and he could have had many more happy days with his two living sons and grandchildren. There was a whole new generation out there waiting for his war stories and military musings, but they would never hear them.

Smoking was bad enough but Bryan was also an alcoholic, the kind that could hold his liquor without anyone knowing he was drunk. He poured 100 proof Wild Turkey into his coffee every morning. He had stashed bottles everywhere. He was never more than five minutes from a stash. Booze made him talk more and louder, it made him the center of the party, it often made him obnoxious, although he never knew it. I lectured him every time we talked on the phone about his smoking and drinking but he brushed off my concern. He made me angry, very angry. What else could I do? He was addicted.

Before long Bryan had turned up the TV volume back up; something on Fox News had caught his eye, something more important than a rare visit from his brother. I patiently waited for a commercial before I continued my conversation. We talked about the memorial we were planning. We were going to invite everyone who ever knew him, the re-enactors were to come in re-enacting uniforms, and the rest in contemporary military garb. They all showed up at Bryan’s favorite tavern after the private burial service. The memorial party was a real blast, with plentiful tears, laughter and booze. He would have loved to have been there.

As far as heaven is concerned, at least from the Christian point of view, Bryan wasn’t on the list, and even if he was, he wouldn’t have liked it if there was no Fox News with easy answers to world problems.

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About cgosling

I am a retired medical/scientific illustrator who has given up illustration to write about science, superstition, and secular humanism. I consider myself all of the following: atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, freethinker, skeptic, and nature lover. I have several published books but the mass of my writing is unpublished. I write children's fiction, poetry, essays, and several plays and radio theater shows, that are available as free downloads to be used on secular podcasts and meetings. They can be heard on Indy Freethought Radio. I hope some of my writings will be of interest to like minded freethinkers who I cordially invite to respond.
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