Something that we’re told to avoid in polite conversation, but I don’t see it that way. I’ve always loved respectful and informed political debate. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember.
I grew up walking precincts with my father during political campaigns. He’d take one side of the street and I the other.
My dad made sure I knew all the candidate’s talking points—what our guy had to offer that his opponent didn’t. As a public school teacher and then principal he recognized the importance of a voting block and at that time the teachers were the largest block in the state. He founded TIP (Teachers in Politics) with the goal being to help elect those who were going to work the hardest for education. It seemed normal to know many of Nevada’s political leaders as they came to our home to shoot a game of pool and have a beer with my dad. My father always believed that governing was all about compromise. Both parties working together—giving up something to reach that middle ground that each could live with.
My father still studies all the issues today at almost eighty years old.
He can always see the stuff that’s going on behind the scenes–why certain things are happening. He has a sixth sense about it. I’ll never forget when he told me (while Bill Clinton was still in office) that Hillary was going to be our first female president. I was having dinner at his house and almost choked on my food.
“She’s far too polarizing, Dad. That’ll never happen.”
“Wait and see,” he said, “she’s the whole package and even smarter than Bill.”
He should’ve been a politician himself or worked as a strategist, for sure.
When my dad retired, Governor Bryan proclaimed it Leonard Robinson Day in Nevada. The Governor came to my father’s retirement party to present the proclamation. It was a bipartisan shindig since his cronies are from both sides of the aisle.
So are mine. Political differences have never impacted my friendships. I’ll take it one step further. I married two Republicans. On Election Day as I left to vote I’d laugh and say, “I’m going now to cancel you out.”
That’s why our current political climate is so disturbing. In my lifetime I’ve never seen such vitriol. I have my own opinion on why it’s happening and what our current president has to do with it, but that’s just speculation.
AND lately I do find that I’m a bit more discriminating—especially online. If a man has listed his political status as “Conservative Republican” I want clarification. Will he want to talk about our president’s religion? Where he was born? Would he tout the need for an investigation of members of Congress to see who’s pro-America or anti-America?
What does it mean?
Whew, now that you have the history, I’ll tell you about my date.
Karl sent me an email message letting me know he enjoyed my profile and thought I had beautiful skin. An interesting approach (the skin) and I was charmed. See how little it takes?
We exchanged a few messages and agreed to meet on Friday night for a glass of wine. Karl listed his political leanings as “Other” and I assumed he was an Independent.
We met on the corner of my street and Broadway. I was a little disappointed with his appearance. He was shorter than his profile stated and very thin.
Oh well, maybe my skin’s not as great as my photos either, I thought.
We walked to Cotta, a winebar on 85th and Columbus.
It was packed so getting a seat took some time. Karl went to the bar and got our wine and when we finally had a table, we ordered cheese and olives to snack on. Karl was friendly, a little awkward, a bit too loud, but he seemed nice enough. I’m not sure if it was an accident but his legs (he had on shorts) kept brushing up against mine (I wore a skirt).
I asked how long he’d been on the site. He said he was on it about a year ago but met someone and they were together for several months. They recently broke up and he returned two weeks ago. He then said something and my antennae went up.
“She’s a therapist and we’d be lying in bed and she’d tell me she didn’t know why she was with me. My politics bothered her.”
“What are your politics?”
“I’m a Libertarian. She didn’t understand lots of things like my feelings on the right to bear arms against a tyrannical government.”
OK, now we’re going to the scary place.
He’s one of those “no government whatsoever” kind of guys. I also know that a survey found that the Tea Party is about half Libertarians.
He asked me how I felt about political discussions. I told him I welcomed intelligent political discussions and began to share my history starting with my father. Before I could even finish (once I mentioned my dad was a public school teacher and started a political action committee) he began nodding his head and snickering.
“Knew it, I knew it.” He said, interrupting.
“What? What do you know and what’s so funny?”
“It’s a union thing, right? Your dad was the president of the teacher’s union. Who didn’t see that coming?” He was chortling at this point.
“No, he wasn’t and if you’d stop laughing and shaking your head long enough to listen, I’ll tell you about it.”
Unions (sigh), the enemy.
I was very cool, nobody around me would’ve known a thing was wrong, but the voice in my head was screaming,
CONDESCENDING PRICK, BRING. IT. ON.
Still snickering, he asked if my father knew Harry Reid. I told him he did. He asked what he thought of Harry Reid, and since he was pretending to suppress his laughter, I knew what his opinion was.
I wanted to slam his face into the table and not because I was trying to defend Harry Reid.
“Why are you asking? Because of what he’s just done with Mitt Romney and his taxes?”
“Harry Reid should release his taxes.”
“Harry Reid knows exactly what he’s doing. Mitt can either put up and prove Reid’s source is a liar or keep hiding his taxes and he’s a liar.”
“Yeah, well, Obama should release his college transcripts.”
OK, THAT WAS IT.
I couldn’t take another second with that lunatic.
“That’s it, I’m leaving.” I scooped up my handbag and bolted to the door. It all happened so quickly I think he was in shock. Once outside I hailed a cab—didn’t want to give him a chance to catch me—and made it back to my apartment.
I sent my oldest daughter a text:
I was just on a date with a fucking Tea Party member!
Then Karl sent me a text:
Well, that was fun.
No, Karl, it wasn’t.
I didn’t reply.
“I’m non-violent, but when she says things like that I want to fight her.” My oldest daughter after she watched Sarah Palin’s “hopey changey” speech.
“Sadly, my wife is a Democrat, but she’s a common sense Democrat.” Neal
“My husband is a Republican, but he’s a Republican with a conscience.” Melani