Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Married a Republican... and now I'm One, Too

Woke up to my husband shoving in my face an article he'd torn out of the Sunday NY Times. Half-awake, the first thing I noticed was that it had been ripped from my personal favorite part--how dare he eviscerate the Sunday Styles section?

He'd pulled out an article called "I Married a Republican: There, I said it," by
Ann Hood, in which against all logic and her peer group, the author marries one whose party identification is "not a Democrat"-- but in the end (spoiler ahead) after much embarrassment and anguish, triumphs when he puts an Obama sign on their front lawn.

I can identify with Ms. Hood.

Before I married my own Republican, I had been a registered Democrat, surrounded by like-minded souls in the liberal halls of academia, for a dozen years. Not that I had an investment in progressive politics--as a dutiful student, I merely echoed the
"wisdom" of my teachers and fellow students, not spending the time to question or think much about the basis for their passion. The implicit message was that we were compassionate, generous and caring, while the Republicans were selfish, restrictive, old-fashioned and materialistic. We were young and vibrant; they were old, blue-haired and tired. We represented the future, the Age of Aquarius, in which adversaries negotiated rather than fought wars that took young people out of school and sent them to dangerous places.

I had rehearsed my arguments enough that when I found my Republican, I had my standard defenses in order. But, unfortunately, he had been there, too, and switched stances based on real-life experiences, an encyclopedic knowledge of history and fact, and an awareness of the prejudices of academia. And because I truly didn't care much about politics, but cared increasingly about him, I let go of my means of acceptance by my professors, and started listening to one once deemed the enemy.

I couldn't read much of Ann Hood's article without wincing. Her disrespect for Republicans rang too familiar, and too shallow. Her identification with her own cohort, membership in which was dependent on sharing the liberal mind-set, was too deja vu. (Can't shake Yogi Berra's "all over again" tag). Her naive acceptance of what she'd heard and what she was told was too close to my own experience.

But the capper--that her husband chose Obama--put the lie to her entire story. No matter how you slice it, Obama is not a Republican, and, other than his declared affiliation, we don't even know he's a Democrat. His platform is vacuous, filled with platitudes that any Republican could embrace. He says "yes we can," but to what?

To say "I married a Republican" who puts up a sign for a Democrat is not really too tough a trick for a liberal, because, wink, we know by the fact he married YOU, Ann Hood, that he must be sane, after all.


And wouldn't it be nice if the NY Times acknowledged that conservatives can be intelligent, too? Imagine the headline: "I Married a Democrat: There, I said It!" The response: "So?" But that dream is for another Sunday, when I'm not awakened by the rustle of mutilated newspaper.

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