Dear Abby: Brother’s campaign for office finds no support from sibling

DEAR ABBY: My oldest brother is running for a state office. Unlike me, he does not like animals. He has "hauled" litters of puppies off and shot at cats. In addition, he refuses to help our elderly parents. Family or not, I don't want someone to be a leader in our state capital who exhibits such poor moral and unethical behavior.


He has been married several times, and I know for a fact he cheated on one of his wives. I avoid attending his fundraisers and asking for votes, but other family members keep telling me that "blood is thicker than water," and that I "must" vote for him regardless of his behavior. Of course, behind the curtain I can vote for whoever I want, but should I cave to the pressure to show up in support of him at public events? Even my husband said I should donate money to his campaign because he is family. What is your opinion? — NON-SUPPORTER IN THE SOUTH


DEAR NON-SUPPORTER: If you do not support a candidate, keep your checkbook closed. And as to showing up to endorse your brother's run for office, continue to refrain and cross your fingers that your absence won't be noticed amidst all the excitement. If your husband wants to donate to your morally degenerate brother's campaign, it is his choice, and he has a right to it just as you have a right to yours.


P.S. Anyone who would shoot at a defenseless animal and neglect his aged parents ("Honor thy father and thy mother") really doesn't belong in ANY office.


DEAR ABBY: My wife of 39 years decided two weeks ago to cease all communication with me. We had a sometimes-rocky marriage, but since becoming empty-nesters six months ago, we have enjoyed a rebirth of our relationship — long walks, games, fun meals, concerts, etc.


Two weeks ago, we had what I thought was a minor disagreement about the use of a credit card. Since then she has treated me like I don't exist. She answers my questions with one word only or no response. I have begged her to talk to me about what's wrong; she just turns away. She has altered her daily schedule to avoid having contact with me. I am shattered. What can I do? — CLUELESS IN TENNESSEE


DEAR CLUELESS: It's time to review why your marriage to this woman was "rocky." Stop begging, step back and count yourself fortunate that you have had this reminder. Counseling might help you and your wife to communicate in a healthier way if she is willing to try. However, if she isn't, you will have to decide how much more "punishment" you are willing to tolerate when you disagree, and what is realistic to do about it if you aren't.


DEAR ABBY: We have a neighbor whose adult son has gotten into trouble with the law. His mom and dad are devastated and have withdrawn from all of us. How do we handle it when we see them around the neighborhood? Do we ignore "the elephant" and just say hi? Do we ask them how their son is doing? It's so sad to see them suffer, and we don't know what to do. — WHAT TO DO IN THE EAST


DEAR WHAT TO DO: When you see your neighbors, be cordial. Make polite conversation, and if they mention their son, listen to what they have to say and be supportive, but not judgmental.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.