Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Republicans Need Not Apply

We all know that women are just plain mean to one another, and there's nothing I can do about it. But I am sick of it just the same. There is something inherently wrong with our society, which gives me pause as to whether or not I support spreading such a disease across the world. Still, nobody has ever made me believe it's better somewhere else. Quite the opposite.

Several months ago, I got into a political debate with my neighbors. As you've undoubtedly heard, Massachusetts is a liberal state. That basically means that no matter what buffoonery Ted Kennedy or John Kerry participate in, they are considered to be, if not entirely correct, well intended and thus magnanimous, etcetera, etcetera. George Bush is the antichrist, and when he isn't the biggest fool since Dan Quayle--or rather ironically at the same time--is the evil mastermind, no puppetmaster, behind the 911 attacks. There are several variations on the Dr. Evil theme, but you get the picture. Love Kerry-Gore-Clinton, hate Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld. There is no gray area in between.

So... where was I? Oh yeah. Typically I am the only political thinker of my stripe anywhere I go. So you can imagine that for the most part I keep my mouth shut about it. But on this one particular day, I held my own against four of my neighbors. It was an amiable exchange--a little heated at times, but always respectful. In the end, one of them, Susan, applauded me for having the courage, and laughed that I was actually persuasive enough to make her think about it some.

Great, right?

This weekend was the neighborhood cookout. About forty people were there. My wife and I have seen most of them before, but mostly in drive bys in the brief moments getting our mail by the street. Our house is surrounded by trees, and we don't see much of our neighbors. There are two events a year that bring the neighbors together. We are the new kids on the block. You would think--or maybe you wouldn't, being a student of human nature--that people would welcome you with open arms, want to know your children and all that. But for the most part, we were invisible. Everyone fell into established groups and looked blank when you walked by. Groups of three and four would fall silent if I happened upon them, and pick up when I moved on. Getting the picture?

My wife found an open chair amongst the women. Thinking that she had made a connection with two of the ladies that she sat between, she felt safe in sitting among them. They didn't even look at her, apart from giving her a curt hello. Then Susan, the woman with whom I shared my political discourse, in front of all her liberal girlfriends, strangers almost all to my wife, says: "You know what really ticks me off? All Republicans hate Clinton and love George Bush." She looked directly at my wife, who said nothing. The women stared at her.

So Susan continues, "I know you're a Republican Beth."

Beth stared back at her and still said nothing. All the women looked away. They broke into quiet, conspiratorial conversations amongst themselves.

And for the record, my wife and I are registered independents, who happen to support some of the current policies. And I highlight the word some. My wife thinks that Bill Clinton disrespected his office, and I think he was a victim of desperate partisan politics, who did what he had to do. Who's right? I don't care, and neither should anyone else. It's an opinion, and everybody has a slightly different one. But one opinion that my wife and I share in common is this: we are never going to any neighborhood parties again.

15 comments:

oneseeks said...

Ohhh, Scott...My condolences to you and Beth...It really is your neighbor's loss, but still I know you will long for 'neighborly contact' from time to time...

You are WELCOME to move south...Tenneseans generally don't care if you vote mug-wump...hahahaha...

Peace, tranquility

mr. schprock said...

Wait a minute! They said you and your wife are Republicans? And here I thought you were Presbyterians. So is George Bush like your pope or something? Christ, I don't think we can be friends anymore, Scott.

Bailey Stewart said...

But on the other side of that, there are the love Bush-Cheney-Rumsfield, hate Kerry-Gore-Clinton crowd. No gray area in between. Both sides have their extremist.

Sorry your neighbors were such cows.

Bernita said...

And yet they probably pride themselves on their "tolerance."
How very mindlessly cult-like.

Jaye Wells said...

Oh, no. I've been there, my brother. Your neighbors are dorks. Of course, political views aside, that kind of behavior is just plain rude. We don't roll like that in Texas. Here you'd be welcomed with open arms and then torn apart once you left. Not sure which method is preferable. It all kind of reminds me of playground maneuvering.

Scott said...

Oneseeks - Hey, nice to see you again! Don't worry about us. We have a couple good friends in the neighborhood still. We just won't be exposing ourselves like that anymore. Thanks for the warm offer though.

Mr. Schprock - Now now, settle down big fella. I made nice with Billy.

Bailey - True, but I don't live next to any of those people. And these guys aren't extremist.

Bernita - You nailed it. One couple feels magnanimous for adopting asian children. Actually, it is quite noble, but I get the sense they feel it gives them a status hike.

Jaye - Thank you, that is it exactly. That is just plain rude. There is no excuse for treating us that way, especially when we didn't bring the subject up or even argue it when it was shoved in the face. The woman was being cattay, and nothing more than a bully.

Janie said...

Politics aside, they were rude. But most Yankees are rude. LOL! Just kidding. But didn't their Mommas teach them any manners???

Come on down and visit Dixie Belle and me. We are the only Democrats or whatever in our state, I think. LOL!

I would hate to think what a neighborhood party would be like on our street. We used to do that years ago, but not anymore.

It would be, well, TOTALLY hysterical.

Now that might be another short story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

My friends and I rarely discuss politics. We generally have enough fun talking about Star Wars and trying to guess how many m&m's one of us can fit into the others mouth.

We do this precisely because of the situation you found yourself in.

Write a country song about it.

Kathleen said...

Lovely people. I don't see why you don't want to hang out with them.

Scott said...

Wow, I can certainly relate. We need more independent thinkers.

Partisan politics rarely involves thought. When pressed very few people seem to know what the believe or why they believe it.

magnetbabe said...

Not that I condone their behavior, but you need to be VERY careful who you talk politics with. There are very few independent thinkers, so often when a left-leaning person encounters someone who supports the policies of the Devil President they automatically think of all the other politcal opinions he holds and assumes you must agree with those as well.

This is not to say that YOU should assume the same of THEM, that is exactly how a society becomes polarized.

I think everyone should be comfortable and informed enough to carry on a civilzed conversation about politics. Not every else thinks so thus finding out the political stances and how open they are to a discussion is a complicated dance.

Note to self: try to move to MA after graduation.

Moni said...

You know what if they are so shallow that they can't except someone because of their political beliefs, then who the hell wants to be friends with those "uptight, disatisfied with their own lives", and probably hadn't had a good lay in a while", bittys.

Your wife is better off without those snarky chicks. Tell her to just consider the source, that's what my momma always says.

:)

Scott said...

Janie - I'm storing it all up in my brain. These kinds of people are not going to be treated nicely.

Toast - I like what you guys do better.

Kat - Yes you dooooo...

Scott - Yeah, I feel that, even though I have opinions, I can talk about them (nicely for the most part) and back them up with reasons

Nat - The only thing I know about them is that each values their place in the pecking order of the neighborhood to the exclusion of standing up to a bully among them, or worse, actually condone the absolute rudeness. I have no idea how specifically how they vote or feel, nor to I judge them by what one person said. But they were all of them rude, and that is my only contention--not their polical leanings. If they want to argue politics, then the coward should have brought it up with me. But she chose instead to bully my wife who keeps her political opinions to herself. Oh, and I would welcome you with open arms to MA!

Moni - Don't worry about that Moni. We have no intention of ever being friends with the type of person that must initiate you first to accept you, and to be assured by everyone else that you are acceptable. Thanks for the support though.

Jada's Gigi said...

Oh brother! I do hate that sort of thing! Exclusivity...another word for insecure?? I don't blame you one bit for skipping the neighborly get togethers in the future. As bernita notes, they probably do pride themselves on their tolerance...and I join the crowd in welcoming you down south should you ever decide to move....:)

jenbeauty said...

Who literally makes others feel like outcasts at a neighborhood party?!! You don't need those folks! Such a shame