Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Talking Politics at Ladies Christmas Luncheon One


Back in October, while driving up Interstate 81 to New York state, I did a random survey of truckers in several rest stops along the way to discover the candidates they were most leaning towards for president in next year's election.

Today, I'm going to the other end of the political spectrum and doing a little reporting from a few ladies Christmas luncheons that I either have attended or will attend during this festive time of year. Two of them are in Nashville, and one next week in Atlanta.


Luncheon 1 Monday: While there were undoubtedly many conservative women in the room at this grand old Southern ladies club, I was not sitting near any of them at my table. When the subject of politics came up, my hostess turned to me, on her left and inquired,

"You don't support Bush, do you? And the War? Bush is the worst! The worst!" This was a woman from a conservative background who, like me, has spent decades working in the conservation movement. However, from my perspective, this movement in past years has become increasingly one-focused (no other issue matters but the environment!) and radical in its dependence on government funding, legislating and assistance on the federal and state levels. Though my hostess is a born leader who's served her community with honor and distinction for years, in middle age she's become the new radicalism of the left-leaning, Al Gore movement crusading for the environment.

When I realized the extent of her Bush Derangement Syndrome, I quietly tempered my response: "I am much more supportive of our President than you. And the War. In fact, I've gone back to my days as a newspaper reporter and become a conservative blogger this past year. However, I don't think it's wise for us to continue talking politics here, now."

"A conservative blogger? Oh no! I can't believe you! How could you?" she said. "Bush is a traitor. Can't you see that?"

From across the table another lady chimed in....."A conservative? A conservative blogger? How unfortunate!"

No need to go any further. I changed the conversation and left politics behind, as best I could.

But the dark cloud hanging over us remained.

Several minutes passed and my hostess was still in severe scowl mode on my right, at the end of the table, so I turned to her and said, "Come on, deary, buck up. Get that look of impending disaster off your face!"

She replied, "I'm so sorry for my outburst, really. I should never have gone off on Bush."

"It's okay," I said. "It's's the way it is today....let's move on."

The truth, in my experience, is there is no reason to discuss this emotionally charged subject any further. Nothing I could say, or she could say, could have bridged the great divide between us. My position had been arrived at from years of rethinking my social and political stands, which were formed coming of age in the sixties and which were reformed from years of hard knocks and observing the way the world works, and doesn't work.

The day was barely rescued from BDS. I was glad, however, that I had been moving in another direction over the past ten years as a more conservative conservationist, and not as a radical Bush hating eco-political extremist. I simply don't have the time or energy for it. I'm a moderate conservationist who knows how to change a light bulb and refuses to let politics get in the way of a great luncheon.

Theses ladies are currently focused on being daughters of their current king incarnate---Al Gore! And that's okay by me. But I'm no longer in the club. That club. I have long since left and won't ever go back.

So please pass the hollandaise. Then tell me more about your grandchildren.

And that's all I have to say of Luncheon 1 this week in Nashville.

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