So, I attend a wedding in Manhattan on Saturday night, held in a beautiful 14th story restaurant, virtually encased in glass, overseeing the 59th Street Bridge and the East River. The bride is a dear friend of mine; a woman whom I have known for many years, and whose career path put her in the same company as mine, with the same job as mine, sitting right next to me for almost three years. “LeftyBride”, as we’ll call her, held diametrically opposed political viewpoints to mine, and we sparred daily, with facts, suppositions, and emailed articles. But our discussions usually ended with a concession on one side or the other, or more usually, uproarious laughter (because Leftybride is so damn funny!).
When she moved on to a new job, LeftyBride spoke of me often, and as I was to learn, also spoke of our animated political discussions. Sitting next to me at the affair was her new boss, also a Jersey guy, and a man whom I have great respect for. He launched the first salvo:
“So, JerseyNut, how can a smart, intelligent, nice guy like yourself really be a Republican?”
Speaking as I was with a management person at a high-powered communication company, I assumed we were to have a reasonable conversation, and I began to politely explain where I stood and why.
Boy, was I off. After I spoke but a sentence, I was cut off, only to be told that Bush was going to go down in history as the worst president ever. He was stupid, vile, and evil; a warmonger who was only interested in making money for himself. Every time I tried to discuss a point, I was cut off within moments and subject to more of this invective. I was shocked, not so much at the bile I was hearing, but at the fact this gentlemann was complete unable to discuss any issues, or even offer an alternative to any of his so-called “Bush Disasters”. Every word out of my mouth was simply met with more invective. I did get an interesting admission from him; that he had a deep visceral hatred for W.; that he couldn’t look at him or think about him without being ill. I thought this was true of most of the Democratic Party, I informed him, and I said that if their candidates could not overcome this hate, they would never win any significant national elections. He was momentarily speechless; I changed the subject, and hoped nobody else would start a conversation with me about politics again this evening, as a wedding is not the place for partisan bickering.
Alas, it was not to be. I got an introduction to LeftyBride’s sister, an airline pilot. She was truly nuts; this woman whom flies jets carrying hundreds of people believes the government caused 9/11 to grab oil (she used the “Pear Harbor was allowed to happen” “fact” as historical precedent), that Bush intentionally let the people of New Orleans drown, and that the Iraq war was an oil shakedown (when I asked here how that was possible, since we haven’t taken any oil, she shook her head at me in sad disbelief). She sneered at my disdain for the foreign press, saying that was where the truth was, and mocked me when I quoted a fact (“Oh, well obviously you CAN read a newspaper article”). As this was the bride’s sister, I was trying to be polite, but in short order I had enough and tried to excuse myself. But the LeftyPilot physically grabbed my arm (truthfully; I didn’t mind that much, she was in terrific shape even if her breastwork was too obvious) so that she could continue to barrage me with anti-American hatred. Even when LeftyPilot’s young daughter came up to her, crying that she wanted to go home, her mom pushed her away so she could continue her diatribe against me and my ilk.
When I finally pulled myself away from her, I offered her my hand, and told her it was a pleasure to meet her. She did not take my hand, only stated that she disagreed with me about everything, and she always would. Nice.
Nevertheless, I left this otherwise-pleasant soiree with positive vibes! Because:
- If this is Democratic thinking, not from the “uninformed masses” but from the professional elite of the party rank-and-file, then the Democratic Party is lost. The anger is irrational and apparently insurmountable; conspiracy theories and insults take the place of reasoned arguments. That’s fine for an internal debate; but the average American will not buy it. Maybe that’s why the Dems have lost control of the Presidency, House, Senate, and the majority of state governments. I sincerely hope the “discussions” I partook in resemble the debate in the 2006 mid-term elections; if so, it will be a Republican romp.
- I learned that Republicans have much better manners than Democrats. Imagine, such behavior, screeching political hate at a guest of the bride! I understand why sometimes Bush just lets his opponents rant; by remaining silent and letting your opponents make fools of themselves, your stature grows in comparison.
Have a great honeymoon, LeftyBride!