One of the most interesting things about my oh-so-blue community is the residents’ assumption that we all speak the same political language, and that this language is “liberal.” Just today, with regard to tomorrow’s elections, a friend reminded me to vote for a certain someone for school board. She didn’t ask if I was planning on voting, if I knew about the candidates, or if I was looking for anything specific in a candidate. Nor did she feel obligated to explain her candidate’s qualifications. She simply reminded me to vote for her gal, confident that I was a kindred spirit who would immediately feel obligated to vote in line with her recommendation. As a matter of fact, I don’t have that feeling at all. Now that I’ve done some work reviewing materials that the school board generated, I’m quite convinced that they are dunderheads, and I’m very much not going to vote for an incumbent, no matter that she did volunteer work on the PTA some years ago.
The same thing happened at a charity event I attended this past weekend, although on a larger scale than the one-on-one I just described. During an interminable dinner of speeches, one woman interrupted her endless harangue about “the children” to say that she wears two buttons on her lapel: on that says “I love America; I hate America” and another that says “He’s not my President.” Part of the room broke into thunderous applause, but a delightful lady seated near me offered about the only wisdom that came out of someone’s mouth that evening: “I didn’t like Clinton when he was President, but I would never have said that about him. Once they’re elected, even if we don’t like them, they’re still our Presidents.” Recognizing in each other kindred spirits, we spent the rest of the evening chit-chatting away about shared values, like two happy castaways having at last discovered each other on a desert island.
I think one of the reasons I remain a crypto-conservative is because of the assumptions here. If someone were to come up and ask my opinion, I’d give it. But if someone announces to me, confident that I’ll agree, that “Bush is evil,” or “he’s not my President,” or “the War in Iraq is a disaster,” or any other bumper sticker slogan, I really don’t have anywhere to go conversationally. They’ve staked out territory that has little to do with knowledge or logic, and everything to do with an irrational dislike of anything tied to President Bush.
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