Sometimes I meet the nicest people, kind, outgoing, articulate and with many shared interests. A Saturday afternoon barbecue, a manicured garden, a convivial crowd of fellow boaters; many with experiences I can only envy, of cruising the beautiful and exotic parts of the globe.
I mention a planned sail to the Leeward Islands and a stop in beautiful Dominica with it's mountains and waterfalls and hot springs and black sand beaches like the Hawaii of long ago. "Maybe I'll never come back," I say.
"Maybe we'll all have to go elsewhere" says she, "before those Liberals ruin the country with all that debt and, you know before that Obama destroys capitalism."
There's that sick, sinking feeling again; the realization that beneath the tranquil surface, there's a dangerous reef to rip your bottom out. I should have known; but facing the isolation one feels when surrounded by people passionately inimical to your every thought and steadfastly obstinate in resisting any facts or any argument that might diminish the comfort of their cherished anger, makes one too desperate to believe someone might not have been infected with that alien zombie virus. Damn it, I let my guard down again.
"I can't watch the news any more, it's all Liberal" she says. Perhaps she doesn't, but she's listening to someone. Someone is not telling her that the debt began so soar in terrifying fashion when George entered the white house; has soared under every Republican president since Ford or reminding her that the tax cuts that were supposed to increase government revenues didn't and that were supposed to create new jobs created no private sector jobs whatever while government jobs and government coasts soared. Someone isn't telling her that our senseless military endeavor that appears now to have been embarked upon for profit has already cost more that World War II and continues to burn through billions. That kind of debt doesn't count, only debt that might help Americans who aren't already in the club. No -- best not to listen to the Liberals on the TV news.
"It's true that 24 hour coverage leads to a format that's mostly speculation and opinion and it's true that at least one network simply lies and invents and misquotes and twists facts, " I said. Her brow began to furrow. "That's why I try to read as many sources as I can. "I read three or four to a dozen newspapers most every morning," I say. " I listen to everything from Al Jazeera to Haaretz on line." I can see the suspicion growing, the bestial voice in her head growling liberal.
I'd ask her to define liberal, but I know she's define it as its opposite. I know she has no awareness of current events, history or anything outside the Yacht Club Republican cocktail-hour school of economics and social criticism. I know there's no point in flexing a consciousness that's been ossified in one position for 75 years, so I do what I always have to do and smile and say:
"Oh, don't worry, it's a strong country and I'm sure we'll survive," even though I'm far from certain.