In early December, an article on AXIOS came out talking about a survey that said that, among other things, 71% of Democratic college students wouldn’t date someone who voted Republican.
That set off a firestorm of commentary that I meant to jump in on but got diverted by something shiny. Luckily I jotted down a reminder.
While the survey was aimed at young people, my old ass also agrees with them. I don’t see how I could be in a relationship with someone I disagreed with down to a molecular level. It wasn’t always that way.
In years past, I certainly would have considered dating a Republican, assuming she had other desirable traits and assets. (Make of that as you will.) I’d have just tried to avoid the subject of politics. That was a lot easier to do when I was a young man in the 80s and somewhat less-young man in the 90s. Maybe that was because I was heavily focused on my job and often had little time for much else. And I probably would have gotten with the Devil herself, if she was nice to me.
Back then, the parties had differences but it wasn’t to the point that it is now, where one party is trying to deal with reality and another is living in an authoritarian fantasyland.
I could not date or marry someone now if we weren’t politically aligned because the differences are so stark. It’s not a matter of views on budget planning or foreign affairs, but basic human values. Someone who supports Republican efforts in suppressing voting among their foes, demonizing anyone who didn’t have the good luck to be born here (and White), cheering on law enforcement abuses on people of color, forcing women to bear children against their will, kowtowing to the richest among us to the detriment of everyone else, and denying basic, proven, scientific principles of inoculation, social distancing, and mask-wearing in the midst of a modern-day Plague, would have such a vastly different set of values that I just couldn’t ignore them. What am I going to do, hold down the fort while she storms the Capitol in search of the Vice President?
I require a mate that is against racism and sexism, for basic human rights to live without persecution, for people being able to love whoever they please, for the choice to reproduce residing with the prospective mother, for a fair and democratic election process. Sure, a lot of Republicans would SAY they agree with some of those things, but they support a party that campaigns and governs in ways that say in the opposite.
Being friends with those of the other party is trickier. In my case, I do have some staunch Republican friends. The thing is, I’ve been friends with them for over 40 years, long before our political view ripened. We’re kind of stuck with each other now, so we usually agree not to talk politics. And when we stray that way, it gets ugly fast. Having some Republican friends does pay off for me, though, when they post their memes on Facebook that I can harvest and disassemble.
But now, if I was at some kind of stereotypical cocktail party full of strangers to me and there were guys or gals around that were identifiably Republican, you’d find me on the other side of the room. I’d keep myself occupied by examining the host’s music collection.
Unless, of course, it was full of rap and techno, in which case I’d have to just ease on out the door.
More Dad Stories
Dad passed away in September so I’ve been telling a few stories at the end of my posts. This is from a post from 2012:
Dad laid another great story on me, from back in his traveling days. He was out in Boston, taking in another baseball game at Fenway with his friend Frank “The Lob.” They were sitting in the lower bowl, about halfway between first base and the outfield wall.
A big power-hitter named George Cooper was up at bat and smashed a screaming line drive right in Dad’s direction. With beer in hand, he quickly leaned over, in classic “kiss your ass goodbye” position, and the ball just grazed his back and landed under the seats behind him. Out of danger, Dad popped back up, un-spilled beer still firmly in hand, and received a nice round of applause from his section.
You know how you can drop a cat from any angle and it will land on its feet? My family is like that with drinks. I think we are genetically programmed to do a front handspring and not spill a drop of our drink.
Evolution is a wonderful thing.
A Bit of Reflection
2021 was a really shitty year for my family and I. If you’ve been following along, I lost a cousin in March, my father in September, and my sister’s husband last month. I thought 2020 was bad but 2021 came along and said, “Hold my beer.” And there’s still chaos rolling around the House of Bluz over the last couple of weeks, so it’s not over yet. (This is why I couldn’t get a post out last night. My apologies, if you were looking for it.)
One thing I’ve been glad about is being able to write for you. It feels like I’ve been at it a long time. I’m just finishing up my 13th year with this blog. I know there are others who have been at it longer, but damn… THIRTEEN YEARS. Sometimes I look at my “Archive” in wonderment. It seems like a lifetime ago that I wrote those first posts. It took me at least a year to settle on a consistent format or style. Trial and error, I guess.
And it’s funny because you can see several different stages, just from posting frequency.
2009: First year and hot right out of the block. I started posting in February but never told anyone about it for another month. I wanted to have some material to page through for early adopters. I needn’t have worried. It was a ghost town.
2010-2011: Started to learn what I was doing and then got hooked in with a Pittsburgh blogging community. I went to “Pittsburgh Podcamp” in September of 2010 and posted constantly, with great enthusiasm. We held a couple of blogger meetups over the next few years and I got to meet some wonderful people.
2012-2014: The pace started to get to me, so I slowed down to three posts per week, usually Tuesday, Thursday, and one on the weekend.
2015-present: I really started to feel the stress for subject material. I’d already told all my best stories and felt like everything else in the news had already been done to death. I’d expressed my views on all the major issues several times over and struggled for new angles. Nothing interesting was going on in my personal life to write about. Almost all the bloggers I first fell in with had closed up shop so I was left on my own. I ended up cutting down to one post per week and I‘ve been able to maintain that schedule consistently since then. I’ll tell you, the Trump years were great for subject material. There were so many opportunities to get pissed off!
In 2018, I made contact with Infidel 753’s blog and ended up benefiting greatly from his weekly link round-up. I had been seriously considering shuttering the site but then a new influx of readers helped me keep going. (Thanks, buddy!)
So thank you for hanging around and taking my bullshit into consideration. I hope to see you back throughout the year.