Friday, May 11, 2007

Take a liberal to lunch

Most, if not all, of my childhood friends grew up to become conservatives. Lubbock in the 50's was not a city of many options.

I, too, was a conservative for my first 30 years. While working in Washington, I was invited to a cocktail party for the protesters who had come to D.C. to march against the Viet Nam War. Most of the evening, I drank only water, afraid that Scotch (my favorite) would loosen my emotions. And I felt strongly that the marchers were wrong-headed.

All night, I listened and nodded but said little. But around midnight, I cracked and asked for a Scotch. Make it a double.

"What happened?" asked my host. "This time, they've gone too far," I growled. "They can complain about the government all they want. But now the SOB's are insulting Walter Cronkite!"

Gradually, ever so gradually, my thinking came around to where I am today. After 9/11, I think we were right to go after the bastards hiding in Afghanistan. But I was always against the war with Iraq.

Flash forward to the present. I was at a party last week listening to a woman from Dallas express her wonderment that so many people in Austin wore flip-flops. Even in restaurants! "It's because Austin has so many liberals," she said knowingly.

"And in Austin," I replied gently, "we have a name for those liberals. We call them Patriots."

Pause.

We need national leaders who can bring this nation back together. Not red. Not blue. But American.

Stop playing politics. Stop lying. It isn't working. Both the President and the Congress suffer rock bottom approval ratings. Nobody believes anybody in government. This quagmire in Iraq is going to require the best thinking from both sides.

My conservative friends are good people. My liberal friends are good people. We just need to stop letting the politicians manipulate us. Stop the BS. Get smart.

Grumble, snarl, gripe, complain.

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