Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste
(“Sympathy for the Devil,” The Rolling Stones)
I’m a registered Democrat. My father and his father were too.
My father worked as a brakeman on the P&LE railroad. His father was a Pennsylvania coalminer. My father’s uncle was a union organizer.
My father’s father died young, soon after a coalmining mishap, leaving seven children and their mother behind. The company offered no compensation. Sorry, it wasn’t our fault.
His uncle was blackballed. Sorry, no work for you today.
My father was a union man. Later he became disenchanted by the corruption. Still, he told me: A bad union is better than no union at all. The capitalists always exploit the working man.
My father saw the world in black and white. Good and evil. Workers and owners. Protestants and Catholics. He grew up in a mixed coalmining village. German Lutherans were honorable. Irish Catholics were not.
My parents were born-again fundamentalists. By age 5 I knew the world was divided into Baptists and Papists. By age 10, I knew the world was divided into Democrats and Republicans.
I once asked my father about the two parties. He told me: Democrats look out for the working man; Republicans look out for the businessman.
I know now it’s not that black and white. Still, I remain an unapologetic social democrat. I’m loyal to my tribe. (I’m also an Orioles’ fan.)
I watched the Democratic convention. I liked it.
I thought it was so convincing that the Republicans would throw in the towel and forfeit the race. After all, they could have no answer to the Democrats’ arguments.
I was wrong.
I watched (some of) the Republican convention. As it turns out, they have answers.
Good is evil. Evil is good. Fact is fiction. Fiction is fact. Real is fake. Fake is real. White is black. Night is day. Up is down. Heads is tails. Hate is love. Lies are truth.
Yes, it’s terribly confusing.
But what’s puzzlin’ you is the nature of my game. Pleased to meet you. Can you guess my name?
I know, I know. I know that’s unkind. I know it’s unfair. And I know it’s not helpful.
But sometimes I just can’t help myself.
(Must be the devil in me!)
See Paula’s impressionistic photograph on the home page.