Monday, October 15, 2012

Luncheon Debate with a Faithful Old Friend

A number of my good friends are Republicans. I should avoid political conversations with them because they always lead to no good place; yet, somehow, we always go there.
by Charlie Leck

"Should Obama lose this election and Mitt Romney become President, with a Republican congress, well, I just can’t imagine!" I expressed my fear to a good friend, with whom I was having lunch on Saturday

This Republican friend asked, “What are you so afraid of?”

I thought about that, but for only a brief moment.

“A lot of things,” I answered, “but to get specific, I fear for decades of hard work by caring and committed politicians who tried to build an America that was fair and compassionate.”

“Oh, that’s silly,” my friend answered with a broad smile on his face, “because Romney is a deeply spiritual man and he won’t allow people to suffer or to live in poverty. He’s going to shock you with his compassion.”

“I hope you’re right,” I could only very doubtfully say. “But I have a much greater fear, too.”

“What’s that?”

“It has to do with the Supreme Court, which, in the end, really defines the kind of America we live in. An America prescribed by the likes of Scalia and Thomas frightens me. A President Romney would more than likely appoint two more justices, because Ginsberg will certainly retire and Kennedy is likely to; and those appointments would resemble Scalia.”

My friend was silent. Two elderly ladies at a table next to ours had been listening. They also sat starkly quiet.

“Decades – even generations – of sensible rulings by the Supreme Court could be overturned or altered ever so slightly by future conservative decisions. Abortions and women’s rights decisions come first to mind. Voting freedoms follow! Human freedoms and civil rights could be altered, too.”

My friend smirked. The folks at the table near us did not.

“The Court would never alter such things,” my luncheon companion said. "There is too much respect for earlier decisions of the court."

“No? What about Citizens v United? Corporations have the same rights as individuals within the democratic system? Oh, come on!”

“He’s correct,” one of the ladies at the next table said, embarrassed that she had invaded our conversation. “And what about all the protections that have been guaranteed the elderly – people such as we?”

A shade of embarrassment lingered following the interruption. My friend’s cheeks reddened and he looked uncomfortable. I didn’t blame him, it was no longer a one-on-one conversation. He must have felt ganged upon. Humiliated, he reacted strongly.

“It’s such an exaggeration,” he said, with some fire in his eyes. “You’ve all just bought too much into the liberal line. Why, Romney will get people working again. He’ll blow away all these regulations that hamper businesses both big and small. He’ll take power away from the Federal Reserve. He’ll reduce the power of the cheating, thieving unions. He’ll cut spending and get the budget balanced. He’ll halt these restrictive environmental laws that hamper industrial development. He’ll open the nation up for more energy exploration – get the oil wells pumping and he’ll take advantage of our fracking opportunities. He’ll make sure teachers are teaching the three-Rs again and not crazy, irreligious ideas about creation. He’ll make us a Christian nation again! He’ll make sure elections are fair and not rigged like they are today. Ronald Reagan was the greatest president America ever had; and Romney will be just like him!”

In a one minute speech, the election and the sentiments of a divided America had been neatly summed up. The ladies at the next table were waving for their waitress and their check. My friend and I just looked at each other. He began to calm down and I began to tremble. I should not have gone there and I vowed not to return.

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1 comment:

  1. The preoccupation of Romney supporters with making us a Christian nation again really bothers me. I'm not quite sure what a Christian nation is and who would play the role of the Grand Inquisitor.