September 7, 2012 by Kat Richter
A few weeks ago, The Wedding Date and I had our second argument. It was more of a debate actually—there was no using of profanities or slamming of phones—but unlike our first argument/debate (which centered upon the ridiculousness of Beyonce’s 1.3 million dollar birthing suite) this one mattered.
It was about gay marriage. And Chick-fil-A. I told TWD that if he supports gay marriage (which he claims he does), he should stop eating at Chick-fil-A. He told me that I can’t consider myself a tolerant, open-minded individual if I go around telling other people what to do, that the owner’s of Chick-fil-A have a right to say whatever they want and finally—this was the real kicker— that his little five dollar sandwich wasn’t going to make a difference.
I was mad. But more than mad, I was disappointed. Don’t you know how lobbying works? I demanded. And what about the civil rights movement? Are you honestly going to sit here and tell me that boycotting doesn’t work?
In the end, we agreed to disagree.
But as I hung up the phone, I felt as though our big red balloon of love had sprung a leak. It’s been ages since I’ve been to a rally or the halls of Congress to speak to my elected officials but I have very little respect for people who don’t believe in their ability to affect social change (and even less respect for people who won’t put their money where their mouth is). And as respect is a basic precursor to love in my book, I felt let down.
How could the man I love be so foolish?
(Note: I did call him the next morning to apologize for calling him foolish. “I don’t think you are foolish,” I explained. “I think your views are foolish.” If there’s one think I learned from my relationship with Date #7, it’s that name calling is a very slippery slope.)
But now that the election season is upon us, it’s not just the The Wedding Date. And it’s not just Chick-fil-A. It’s everyone. At least everyone who prefers the RNC to the DNC, and I hate that it has to be this way.
For example, earlier this past summer I attended the TBEX Conference in Colorado and the day before, I competed in a road rally with half a dozen other bloggers, including two brothers from the Midwest. To put it simply, they were awesome. They helped me figure out how to download a QR scanner on my phone, they cracked jokes the entire way from Denver to Keystone and they made a slideshow of our team’s photographs thus blowing our competition out of the water and earning our entire team brand new iPhones. (Granted, I like to think my stellar choreography to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” might have had something to do with it…)
I noticed, somewhere between the free wine and the free shots, that there was something a little off about them—they weren’t drinking! And they had quite a few kids between them—but they were so damn nice that I didn’t mind. Every time I ran into them over the course of the weekend it was all high fives and hugs and “Hey! Kat! Come sit with us! What workshops did you do this morning? Are you having fun?”
Earlier this week, however, on the night of Nancy Keenan’s speech at the DNC, I wrote on Facebook “Go Nancy Keenan! I don’t know how any woman could vote Republican…”
And one of the brothers responded.
And—go figure— it wasn’t all high fives and hugs this time.
I’d put two and two together by then: they were Mormon, and very, very Conservative. As such, I wasn’t exactly surprised by the response to my comment, but I was saddened by it. He was such a nice guy.
As in I do not think he’s a very nice guy anymore.
I think he’s an idiot.
And I hate that.
I have plenty of Republican friends (and plenty of Republican blog readers if my memory serves me correctly). My usual MO is to simply avoid talking politics for the sake of these relationships but every once in a while I can’t help myself. Reproductive rights really push my buttons these days, and so do healthcare and access to education.
I start to wonder: is it better to ask the tough questions, to walk the walk? Or is better to resist the trend towards us vs. them, Democrat vs. Republican?
It’s not even the potential loss that I’m worried about—I lost friends in college because of my involvement with ANSWER and I got over it—it’s the labeling.
It’s the “You are an idiot because you don’t see the bigger picture. You are an idiot because you don’t realize that you were born to privilege. You are an idiot because you still don’t believe that global warming exists and that an investment in a green economy is the only way to get ourselves out of this economic crisis. You are an idiot because not everyone has the means to raise a child or go to college or pull themselves up by their bootstraps like your parents did. You are an idiot because you don’t realize that we are all immigrants or children of immigrants. You are an idiot because you believe what people tell you about the Bible (and these people also idiots because they have conveniently forgotten the meaning of “turn the other cheek”).
Sometimes I wonder if I might as well be saying “You’re an idiot because you don’t agree with me.”
And that is why I hate this time of year.