Sunday, July 15, 2007

Right and left and right

I spent most of Saturday afternoon at the pool with an old friend. He and my brother have been friends since they were 14, and I do remember him as that scrawny high school boy I'd see when I came home from college, so in my mind he's a kid. Sort of.

I mean, he's really not. He's six feet tall and handsome and has a very serious, suit-wearing job and if you didn't know him well you'd think he was all kinds of grown up. We dated several years ago, and there are many, many good things about him. I like him very much as a person.

The reason we broke up was mainly because he's a Republican. I have friends who won't date Republicans in the first place, but I have dated a variety of them. Mainly because I am attracted to such conservative looking, suit-wearing, spreadsheet-making men, and they often wind up being conservative in their politics as well. This doesn't bother me as long as it's about money.

What I mean is, there are those Republicans who have the same social values I do; they just don't want to pay for the programs. In my personal experience, these have been guys who come from poor or working class families, families that struggled, and they feel like if they could do so well without any advantage except a big brain and hard work, everyone else should be able to as well. And so they don't want their taxes to be "squandered" on social programs. I can understand this point of view, even if I don't agree with it.

This guy, however, bought the party line full on. And it used to make me really mad, especially with ole W in office, and so I'd provoke him. We used to argue, and I would tell him he's way too intelligent to believe such stupid things.

We're friends, though, and I do really like him as a person. We have this funny frankness that comes from having known each other both for so long and at some point quite intimately as well.

I was thinking yesterday how odd it was that we argued so much about politics. Because me, I am not remotely interested in a good debate. I never play Devil's advocate just because I think it would be fun. And actually, I am not generally that interested in politics. Which means I'm rarely well-informed about issues. I don't have much to say about them most of the time.

So how was it, I wondered to myself, that I wound up arguing so much with him, when I don't argue with others?

It was because, I finally concluded, I hang out with people who think the same things I do. We don't argue about politics because we agree.

I wondered briefly if this was a bad thing. But then I realized, actually, I like spending time with people who are right.


  1. See... I do like to argue and debate, and I love to play the Devil's advocate. It's fun when you've got an intelligent person to debate with.

    I'm also fascinated by people who have different views... I've learned a lot from arguing with them. Sometimes I've changed my views, sometimes I haven't, but it's always interesting.

  2. Funny! I used to date Republicans to drive my mother crazy, but I never really talked politics with them because that would have driven me crazy!

  3. Well, the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps philosophy is what the founding immigrants based this country on. I, personally, think goverment should be smaller and have less money. If people decided which charities to give money to (instead of Unlce Sam deciding for them), then maybe we wouldn't spend money bombing third world countries and giving welfare to Haliburton. Also, if you are deciding which humanitarian endeavors deserve funding, you probably wouldn't decide that spending millions of dollars storing contaminated ice for two years in case of a hurricane was a good idea. I heart FEMA.

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  5. Not everywhere, but in Texas, conservative no-welfare-handout-speak is usually code for "no poor, or brown, or poor brown people near me, please." If republicans had their way, all roads would be toll; fire/police/EMT response would operate solely inside gated communities; the poor would live in camps; all charity hospitals would be church-based (no birth control or family planning); and America would be perpetually at war-for-profit. All under the beatific watch of President-for-life Bush.

  6. VVK - I think there are views you can change and views you can't. The really emotional ones, like choice and death penalty, are things I don't think people change minds on very often.

    DCup - I can't imagine you with anyone but a rabid liberal.

    HIN - I don't think I'd leave it to the charity of individuals. We could pick better Uncle Sams.

    Jordaan - Texas scares the shit out of me, quite frankly. And yes, America under Bush is just as you describe it.

  7. I don't know about that... I know my views on the death penalty and abortion have changed as I've grown older. There are so many nuances to most major issues... learning about how these nuances affect individuals can and should lead to some changes in your views. Maybe not a wholesale change of sides, but a change of some sort.


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