Last week I asked: Are liberals stupid? None of my readers thought so—at least not liberals in general, as a species. But several thought particular liberals could be—namely me, for attempting to engage an enraged drunk who was brashly denouncing “f**king liberals” outside a restaurant in Boonsboro.
“Hey there!” I yelled. “How can you tell who’s a liberal?”
There is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. You should have kept your mouth shut.
Most people know that the better part of valor is discretion. Most people know not to poke the bear. Most people know not to get into a pissing contest with a skunk. Most people know you can’t reason with a drunk—or a sober Republican.
But sometimes the devil gets the best of us. Sometimes we just gotta piss on a skunk. Sometimes we just gotta pick on Republicans. Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Marjorie Taylor Greene. We can’t just ignore that menacing menagerie.
And yet, I confess, some of my best friends are Republicans. Well, actually just one. And he’s intelligent, reasonable, tolerant, kind, scientifically informed, and not bonkers.
Which only goes to show, as one reader said: Labels can be harmful and misleading, blinding us to nuances and complexities in the other.
Not all Republicans are bonkers. Not all liberals are quixotic. Not all evangelicals are insurrectionists. Not all rednecks are intolerant.
Let people evolve. Let them be more than we think they are. Let them surprise us.
The day after same-sex marriage was legalized in West Virginia, my friends Richard and Rob went to the courthouse in Martinsburg to apply for a marriage license. They went with trepidation. After all, a certain pious county clerk in Kentucky had recently refused to honor such a request. What kind of reception would they receive in West Virginia, another red(neck) state?
Well, let me tell you. The clerk was thrilled and honored to issue the license. My friends were flabbergasted. Floored. They invited the clerk to their wedding. She came. After their vows, they invited her to stand. The congregation gave her a rousing ovation.
Labels negate, confine, restrict.
Which brings me to another comment from last Sunday’s post. One reader labeled me a smart-ass. I could say it takes one to know one, but I won’t.
You see, I’m evolving.
Oh, sometimes when I go by the TRUMP house on Winnebrenner Rd. (Flags, signs, etc.), I fanticize stopping and talking with him. But I don’t. I might get shot…..
Thank you. I love the story of Richard and Rob’s Martinsburg Court House Clerk coming to their wedding. I love that they asked her. The beginning of the chorus to my song, “Walk That Mile” comes to mind reading your blog…”If you can walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, If you can feel their path, if you can read their news, Then you might catch a glimpse through their eyes…”
It was thought-full of you to wite this particular, wise and fair content today, but may I say that it was unnecessary? Anyone who knows you knows that THIS is the stuff of which you are made. What you revealed last week was simply the limit of acceptance of human degradation. So you lost your temper — and survived! True, some pay the ultimate price for their humane activism and that is tragic, universally. But as our beloved John Lewis said, sometimes, you have to “get into good trouble.” And BEING a defender of what is good and right from a humanitarian perspective, which you are, is not always going to protect you, which I have a hunch you know! Life has suffering, and some will always take risks to ameliorate it. I think I just realized that you were a Hero for the day!
Never underestimate the power of choice. It can be crucial. No matter one’s perspectives on the last two blogs, perhaps all of us can agree on the statement attributed to W. Somerset Maugham: “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
If you could evolve into someone like a person you admire, who would that be? And what blind spots would you have then?
It was so nice to hear the Rich and Rob story. This town is full of such delightful stories. I never felt accepted before we came here.
Our family tale fits perfectly, and I can go on knowing that we are becoming firmly rooted in Jefferson County. I was always deeply impressed by the Presbyterian church under your guidance, and I am grateful that you were broad minded enough to preside over the weddings of our earth children. I understand now that we are older and free that you are a child of the earth as well. I guess I always knew.
With that comes the inevitability of challenging hate when you encounter it. That poor drunk was in a state of existential terror. May the great Googly Moogly bring him peace, and keep him away from my doorstep and yours.
Take my reference to your smartassedness as a compliment A smartass preacher is a gift of relief from religion & piety.
Loved your wedding story so much… the surprises, large & small, that we experience when we have a preconceived notion, and the moment exceeds our expectations, are some of life’s treasures and teaching moments.
Let’s continue to evolve – together!
lol (laughing out loud OR lots of love) or both
The LGBQ revolution our society has been going through for some years reminds me somewhat of the civil rights revolution I grew up in, in Alabama. There will always be the unreconstructed and unreconstructable, but things are pretty far along, and there’s no going back. We attended the legendary Gay Pride parade in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t to make a statement. We just said, “What fun!”
Such great joy and delight for us to relive that wonderful moment at our wedding! Many thanks dear friend! Another tidbit: We were the first same-sex couple to enter Berkeley County Courthouse requesting a marriage license. As we were leaving, the entire staff applauded , wanted photos, and having Kim the Clerk attend was just such magic. Our hope and prayer is that many other couples like us have followed, We are vigilant though because forces are afoot to take marriage equality away! Peace and love! Rob and Richard
Define “redneck!” I find it often used to label people without college education who work with their hands. I know many such people & they are intelligent, very well-read and tolerant. Some call themselves “scarlet napes!” They, with their hands and sunburned necks, will be the ones who rebuild the world that the “suits” and “elites” destroy.
I have a friend I am house and dog sitting for. He was showing me how to use the TV remote and said “here’s how to change the channel if you want to watch Fox News”. I said “not likely” & he sort of chuckled. No further discourse on the subject & I still don’t really know his political leanings or the redness of his neck. I do know that he is a highly educated, retired MD., well traveled man of the world.
We do not talk about politics or religion, even if he is a Presbyterian. I do know I want to continue having him as a friend so we coexist. I also have a couple Republican friends, well maybe one.