By lex, on November 1st, 2006
So having seen the chirren safely off en costume (yesterday being Hallowe’en, and didn’t the Kat rebuke me for that intervening apostrophe) the Hobbit and your correspondent crossed the street for to join in the revelry attending the birthday anniversary of a dear neighbor. Which he’s forty-nine and holding, and has been for quite some time by my reckoning, given that he is a veteran of the Yom Kippur war but anyway.
Various and sundry of his friends and relations were there as well, for to celebrate his growing superannuation, drink of his wine and share in the gustation of his comestibles. Having satisfied ourselves of the latter which seemed in turn to increase the demand for the former, the conversation turned at last – my interlocutors having determined the nature of my employment – upon the topic of What I Thought About The War. Being as I was, you know: All military and monolithic and everything.
I should know by now that people who ask that question really don’t much care what I answer. They listen politely during the interval in which I’m speaking, ears twitching to sense the point at which I stop speaking, the better for to tell me in uninterrupted fashion what they think about the war. At which point our roles reverse. Because really, who at this time needs any further information upon which to base his opinion? You either think we have to grind it out in favor of a democratic outcome against unspeakable tyranny and that losing is not an option, or you think that it’s all a cocked hat with nothing useful to be done and the only thing to do is get the hell out as quickly as possible without actually knocking over the furniture on the way out the door or leaving our pants on the floor.
But they seemed earnest, and I have a certain tenderness for earnest people and so told them what I thought, none of which will probably come as any surprise to any they that from time to time read these scribblings. I will say in my defense that I expressed myself rather less forcefully than I am wont to in this space because, after all is said gentle readers, you are a self-selected bunch while they, knowing me less well than you whom I have never met, might consider some of that a little strongly put. And so we chatted for a bit, at which point one of the ladies asked me what it felt like to be “so right wing,” here in San Diego. You know. Around the regular people.
All time stopped. I removed my “W in 2008″ pin from my collar and immediately ceased throwing poor children of color into the snow banks outside the house. I stowed my fully automatic assault rifle under the table carefully -you can’t be too safe – loaded as it always is with armor-piercing every fifth round (in case those black UN helicopters show up). I took off my preachin’ robes, wiped my face clean of my televangelism make-up, climbed down from my pulpit and marked my government-approved bible carefully with my John Birch Society card. The placard I had prepared for this afternoon’s protest at the abortion clinic – it’s on the way home, no bother really – I folded carefully and stowed away. And only then did I turn to answer her question with one of my own:
“Right wing?” said I, genuinely surprised. “Me?”
Because contrary to all of the foregoing I had not said one word to her or any of the others about marginal tax rates, capital gains, or the inheritance tax. We had not touched on the role of government in health care, gun control, abortion or the separation of church and state. Global warming had not come up, neither had child care, public schools, the minimum wage, social security, labor unions, outsourcing or free trade.
I had unwittingly come face to face with a net root: I had for the sake of one issue in all of the political constellation – so far as she knew – become a right winger. Here. In San Diego.
I am become Joe Liberman.
Which, hey – look at the bright side: I’m a twelve-point favorite to win back my Senate seat in a week. So I got that going for me.
Which is nice.