Archive for October 22nd, 2020

A political story with a happy ending

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

This story begins with a house concert in Missoula, Montana. I have been friends with the host, Stew Weis, for a number of years and I have played in his and Meg’s home several times.

On the morning after the concert, we had a fairly substantial stack of uneaten pizza, plus some other items. I suggested we find a homeless shelter that would appreciate a modest donation.

Almost two years later, I received this email from Stew. I share it here with his blessing.

Greetings David,

I’ve been meaning to shoot you this message for some time and I’m finally doing it.

I don’t know if you remember this, but on the morning of Sunday, October 28th, 2018, you and I hopped in the car with a whole bunch of leftover pizza, salad and cake from the previous night’s house concert and drove it to the Poverello Center, Missoula’s most prominent homeless shelter, and dropped off our haul, feeling pretty confident that every last morsel would be enjoyed.

Well, that part you most likely do remember. This next part you may not.

On the way home from dropping off the food, I worked up the courage to broach the subject of politics with you. It took courage because at that time, I considered myself a Republican and at least on Facebook, I don’t think that I had ever witnessed you using the word “Republican” without it being prefaced by the adjectives, “those motherfucking.” So, I was a bit gunshy about admitting to you my party affiliation. Though I did further explain that I did *not* vote for Trump, yet I could not vote for Hillary, either. I voted for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, which I can see in hindsight was a huge mistake and a total waste of my vote. I also explained that I had always considered myself a “social liberal” and a “fiscal conservative.” And finally, as an employer with ~200 employees, I “get to” experience crushing federal regulation that a non-employer just cannot appreciate, which is why most business people with any significant number of employees tend to be Republican.

Thankfully, and really not surprisingly, you accepted my position with respect and decency. Thank you for that.

Little did I know that this was a bit over a year from a totally unexpected and dramatic change coming my way.

While my disdain for Donald Trump slowly grew over the ensuing months, what pushed me right over the edge was the Ukraine scandal, the infamous quid pro quo and the ensuing impeachment hearings. I became a voracious consumer of cable news, viewing for hours on end, CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News, just to keep tabs on what bullshit was going on over there. I watched almost the entire impeachment hearings and the Democrats impressive parade of witnesses, including but not limited to Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill and more. It was during these hearings that I got to know the names and quickly came to hate, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Matt Gaetz, Doug Collins, John Ratcliffe, Louis Gohmert and several others. I was stunned by the way these assholes fell in lockstep behind Trump, even though to my eyes (and I must admit to taking a degree of pride in being able to tell the difference between truth and bullshit) Trump was beyond guilty.

This was the precise moment in time at which I flipped. I was literally now a Democrat. It’s really kind of bizarre, in retrospect, how it happened as fast as flipping a light switch. However, I was witnessing a Republican party that I no longer recognized. Furthermore, once I found myself on “the other side,” I quickly began to realize that there was a lot more that I identified with “over here.” Conversely, I also began to realize that I had been living with quite a bit of cognitive dissonance as a Republican, especially when it came to social issues. One example is the abortion issue. The government has zero business in a woman’s vagina. None! Period! Anyway, as the months go by, I am finding myself much happier and enjoying greater peace of mind as a Democrat.

I’ve come to define the two parties this way, in as few sentences as possible:

The Republican Party regards the Almighty Dollar as the most important thing in life. Get all the money you can; the hell with everything else AND it’s every man for himself.

The Democratic Party believes that our country and our world works best when it works for all its citizens and inhabitants. What the hell is wrong with striving for world with no poverty, no hunger and no homelessness? In fact, we have a long way to go until these problems are eliminated.

No doubt you’re well aware of this paradigm shift in my own politics, as I’ve also become annoyingly politically vocal on Facebook. I’ve lost some “friends” as a result, too. Sorry, life’s too short to worry about that.

Anyway, David, this is really just something that I wanted to share with you, mostly as a result of that brief, sticking my toe in the political waters in the car, on the way home from the Poverello Center that October Sunday morning in 2018.

It seems that you and Rita are still doing well and making the best of our temporarily coronavirus-dominated life, as are Meg and I. I wish more people would realize that it could be so much worse.

Hopefully we’ll soon have some real leadership. How incredibly refreshing!

–Stew

Let me add that I recently, like literally just a few days ago, figured out at least one element of Trump supporters.

First I should say, that I have said more times than I could possibly keep count of, that the only thing more perplexing to me than how this moron got elected to the highest office in the world, are the millions of people that believe in him and support him. What am I missing? I guess the better question is, “What are they missing?” Why don’t they get it?

Anyway, it occurred to me that there are some people that simply will not, under any circumstances, vote for a Democrat. They would vote for Satan himself before voting for a Democrat. I believe that Fox News is largely responsible for this perception, but such is the case.

The rural, redneck, uneducated element is a lot easier to make sense of.

Anyway, yes, feel free to share. I’m thrilled that my little “political statement” could be put to good use!