He smiled at me and, emboldened by a little champagne, I introduced myself.He was an Army veteran of Iraq, and I assumed he was a Republican, but that didn’t deter me. I’m an avowed liberal, actively engaged in politics and elections.But when I got home and looked at his online profile again, one word popped out that I previously overlooked: CONSERVATIVE.It hit me like a bullet: I am a staunch liberal Democrat.I met the guy I’ll call Nick at a New Year’s party last year.He was tall, good-looking with a short haircut and strong jaw line.
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Bob.” His father is pastor of an Evangelical church, a man who watches a defective television set built with only one channel. For someone like me, whose earliest memories are of a home with pictures of the pope and JFK hanging side by side on the wall, whose mother was known to say “God is not only Irish but a Democrat,” who comes from a family of self-described “Blue-bellied Yankees,” falling for a West Virginia-bred Republican was like admitting I love Darth Vader. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, then I was determined to get sane. I took one look at the tattooed arms, the flinty, Steve Mc Queen-like stare, the sardonic twist of his smile, and somehow I knew that he would smell of hickory smoke and Old Spice, and that the scruff of his 5 o’clock shadow would sometimes rub a rash on my pale skin.
I yelled over my shoulder, “Mom, check this one out!
I think this guy’s looking for me.”Mom, out visiting from her retirement in New Mexico, ambled up to assess the candidate on the screen. Then she added, “But he’s probably a Republican.”Coming from her that was like saying the man beats his dog when he’s not in prison.
During what we termed “the terrible years,” Mom had forsaken most major news outlets for fear of coming across the latest pronouncements from George W. Four months later, I found myself seated at a swanky fundraiser for the California Republican Party, deep in the red heart of Orange County.
I started to panic, fearing he could be Paul Ryan disguised as Ben Affleck.