Commiserating With the Enemy

Mean old rock-ribbed old-school conservative Republicans though we are, we’ve lately been having some rather commiserating conversations with our bleeding-heart liberal Democratic friends. They all seem depressed that their pristine political philosophy has been dealt a blow by their party’s obviously corrupt and dishonest presumptive nominee, and they can only console themselves that at least the crazy notions of the other philosophical side and their party have turned up something even worse, and although we’ve long known how very crazy their notions are, and can see many reasonable arguments that what they’ve turned up this time around is even worse that what our party has to offer, we always wind up waving a beer and offering some empathy.
The most recent such conversation occurred at a favored ghetto dive with one of our favorite conversationalists, a delightfully opinionated fellow who is not only instinctively and intellectually a Democrat, but also professionally. By that we mean that he was once a Democratic State House Representative, has served in the party in various other capacities, and his current legal career is now largely predicated on the party’s last remaining shreds of political power in this reliably Republican state. He’s therefore quite reasonable by the standards of the liberal Democrats we run into at ghetto dives, and his statehouse career was mostly devoted to getting some state-funded railroad bridges installed north of downtown that have wound up saving us countless hours of counting boxcars and calculating how late we’ll be to that appointment on the east side, and despite his lapsed-Catholic ways he was always careful not to get too pro-choice in his heavily Hispanic district, and even if he did wage an ill-advised and quixotic campaign for drivers-licenes-for-illegals he’s mostly been a pragmatic fellow who always supported the more moderate sorts of Democrats that he thought might win something around here. He’s also the admirable sort of bleeding-heart who has done some earnest pro bono or otherwise unpaid legal work on behalf of some loser friends of ours who screwed up and needed the help, and he’s never held our mean old rock-ribbed old-school Republican conservatism against us, so we quite like the guy and usually give due consideration to his opinions.
We were heartened by our friend’s admitted distaste for his party’s obviously dishonest and corrupt nominee, and even more so by his lament that the only hiighly-popoular alternative was a self-described socialist, which he knows will never play in Kansas, or perhaps by some crazy chance some equally desultory choice imposed by the party’s dishonest and corrupt establishment at the convention, and he seemed heartened by our insistence that at least we wouldn’t be voting for the obviously dishonest and corrupt presumptive Republican nominee. He rightly predicted that we wouldn’t be voting for the obviously dishonest and corrupt most likely Democratic either, and glumly added that it was still a de facto vote for the Republican, and when we replied about how many of our conservative and Republican friends are now accusing us of a de facto vote for the Democrat he seemed sympathetic to our plight.
The argument about which candidate is actually worse inevitably followed, but neither side’s heart was in it. Despite another glorious prairie sunset our shared view from that ghetto dive was that America must have done something awfully wrong to be faced with a choice, and although we of course disagreed about what had gone wrong we could at least agree what something has gone awfully, awfully wrong.
Our friend remains cautiously optimistic that his party’s admittedly dishonest and corrupt candidate will prevail over our party’s admittedly dishonest and corrupt candidate, and as usual he makes some convincing arguments. We readily agreed that our party’s presumptive nominee isn’t so nearly as rich as he claims and nowhere near rich enough to fund a usual presidential general section campaign, and that much of the mass media would oppose him, and that all the usual electoral and demographic rules still apply, but when we pointed out that none of the usual rules would have vomited up these two awful choices he admitted to some uncertainty. His biggest complaint with the dishonest and corrupt likely Democratic nominee seemed to be that she might actually lose to the dishonest and corrupt presumptive Republican nominee, even if he predicted otherwise with an obviously false bravado, and his predictions are no more reliable than ours, so he also had to admit that his been a crazy year.
So that’s the view during a gorgeous prairie sunset from a ghetto dive in the middle of the country. At least a few of us on both sides of the center hope that the center will hold, and friendships will persist, and that somehow better choices will eventually come along.

— Bud Norman

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One response

  1. This little vignette reminds me of the oft-told story about the man caught on his rooftop during a flood praying to God for rescue. He is visited in turn by rescuers in a rowboat, a motorboat and a helicopter. He waved them all away claiming his faith that God would save him. In the end he drowns and meeting God in heaven he complains about dying. God answers that he sent a rowboat; a motorboat and a helicopter and what more did the man want.

    America is on the wrong course; sent that way by a bi-partisan and largely corrupt political class. One candidate, having failed the nation repeatedly throughout a long and unusually corrupt political life says the answer is to step on the gas. The question is whether to stay the course, realizing that the destination is Greece writ large, or to accept rescue by an agent of change. It’s a time for choosing rather than commiserating that God himself has not appeared but sent an agent of change in his stead.

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