Cup of Conversation – February 2017

There’s a reason why politics and religion are taboo topics at dinner parties. We can creatively design filters to guard the truth about what we really think but these days all it takes to pre-judge is a slip of the tongue about who we voted for in the last election. It’s prudent not to be all out there, so to speak. Reserving at least a fig leaf of private thought is wise policy. My wife loves dinner parties, me not so much.

There are however exceptions to the rule. There was a local man a while back who dedicated his social media feed to a virulent political stance. I’ve never seen anything quite as polarizing. When those disagreeing with him were told ‘MOVE’ or ‘LEAVE’ the country, we knew his days in a small town were likely numbered. We’ve not seen him around lately. This is not rocket science.

So the election is over; officially conceded to the victor but someone somewhere is still counting votes, furiously looking for reasons to be relevant or funded. Half the population feels like Dorothy after good Glinda’s evil archetype just west of Oz was doused with water.  The other half is raging butt-sore. The difference is Oz is not a constitutional republic, we are. Civics was removed from public school curriculums a generation ago so many to the left of middle-age don’t know the difference between a representative democratic republic and a social democracy (think America then Greece). That is unfortunate but no accident in case you’re wondering. Something tells me this is about to change.

It’s just a couple weeks past Thanksgiving and I’ve heard the words ‘Merry Christmas’ more times than all last season combined. Isn’t that interesting? Speaking of Thanksgiving, we celebrated with old family friends at their farm on the Applegate River.  There was great food, drink and lively conversation. We spoke of hope and gratitude and the ties that bind. Politics was never mentioned and religion only implied through shared memories of love one for another. No one picked up their smart phone except to confirm the accuracy of a trivia question.

On the other hand, an acquaintance just downloaded his Thanksgiving experience with the family and how the subject of politics soured the bird. One teed it up and the other swung for the fences. They know better, we all do. What a waste of precious moments we can’t get back. I think it’s time everybody take a deep breath and remember what’s really important. It is an absolute certainty the last thing anyone will be thinking standing over a loved one’s grave is what was wrong with their politics except maybe if they anchored for a cable news network.

Lest this sounds self-righteously above the ugly fray, let me confess the sore temptation to revisit the former neighbor’s social media feed and post a link to Preparation H and North American Moving and Storage, punctuated with smirking emoticons.  Mary would never let me do that but truth be told I’m mildly ashamed how much smallish pleasure the mere thought gives me.

Choosing instead to watch Dorothy return home, Tin Man find heart, Lion grow some…courage and Scarecrow discover the power of critical reasoning is a far better idea. Those scary flying monkey creatures were grateful in the end to be free from tyranny and the great Wizard was not what he pretended to be. Could it be the Yellow Brick Road is calling us home?

Be good not bitter.