Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Sad State of American Political Debate, Part MCMXLVIII

Every Friday we have a small breakfast for area businessmen and professionals here in the red part of the map. A couple of attorneys, an accountant or two, maybe an elected official. Basically the Rotary Club without, well, rotating.

One of the members of this breakfast group is an area businessman, Jerry, who has spent many years being very active in the Libertarian Party. I think he's run for governor a few times. Once upon a time, he was the Democrat Mayor of Rhinelander. Generally, the discussion is along the lines of local county politics, difficult clients we deal with and the odd professional war story. Very friendly.

As readers know, I'm pretty easy going about my politics. I can take it, I can give it, but I ain't backing down. I'm holding my ground, I'm smiling, everyone is comfortable, but I'm about as likely to back down as I am to raise my voice.

Jerry has been baiting me for several months now - Bushitler did this, Ashkkkroft took away that, the whole damn show is coming to an end. Finally, he pulled everybody's favorite piece of bait - "Brian, you're an intelligent and reasonable man, how can you possibly support . . . " fill in the usual ad hominem attacks.

Well, I figure, this is it. Time to let Jerry have it straight between the eyes. I won't bore you all with my arguments - you've heard them, you can parrot them, you may even be able to counter (some of) them with logic and reason.

Something unexpected happened - this intelligent, reasonable successful businessman reverted to some whiny college freshman. It was actually fairly impressive to watch the meltdown, inside of twenty minutes I was being referred to as "a good German".

I wasn't told how to fix the problem with Radical Islam, I wasn't told how to resolve the energy crisis to keep us out of the Middle East, I wasn't informed of how the Palestinians have any greater claim to Israel then the Jews do. I was never told which particular piece of the Patriot Act was being used in contravention to the Constitution, I didn't hear how any candidate for president had a plan to his liking to win the war.

But I did hear that everybody in the right is a crypto fascist, I did hear that I was a "good German" for going along with the government and I did hear that we were losing the war in Iraq and there was simply no solution.

I should've asked him if he needed a carryout for his next dorm kegger.
The funny thing is, I'm sure he'll tell me next week that he still respects me despite my beliefs. What's funny is that I no longer respect him because of his lack of beliefs.


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