Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Mystery Stole & the American Spirit
I did finish the neck on Amira's dress while watching fireworks last night. The party was wonderful, a little smaller than it has been in the past couple years, but very fun. The food was amazing, and they brought in an organist to play the Wurlitzer.
I was once again astonished at things people feel they are at liberty to say to people whose politics, religion, world view is completely unknown to them. I got to sit in and smile wanly at people who were quite vociferous about what morons Christians were, how evil republicans are, how stupid conservative voters are, etc. One thing that tickled me particularly was how they described the recent gubernatorial race. The republican candidate was pro-life. Everyone I knew understood this, regardless of whether they agreed with him or not. Well, these women were talking about how he wasn't Pro-Choice! and how this was hidden from those stupid people who voted for him (because, after all, if they knew this, even they wouldn't vote for him). This was actually a positive thing for most of the people we know who voted for him, and neither he nor his campaign (nor, I might add, the opposing campaign) seemed to want to keep it a secret. These people also had some lovely things to say about Roman Catholics, Fundamentalists (who they seemed to think were the same thing, actually) and most heterosexual men. I pretty much stayed out of the discussion and accepted with celerity the refill on my margarita when the bartender came around. It gave me something to do with my mouth.
I was actually quite surprised that they were saying these things in front of me, given that we had never met and they didn't know what I thought or believed (and I was wearing my cross, but then, perhaps they thought I was a Christian they way two of them were Jews, they didn't actually believe or practice anything their religion taught). Perhaps they thought it a given that a friendly, somewhat attractive (at least I didn't look like those ogres on the religious right), intelligent and funny woman couldn't possibly be one of them. I know they thought it inconceivable that there were women working for this particular candidate's campaign, since he was NOT PRO-CHOICE! and all women must be in their estimation. They spent a good deal of time on "contraceptive equity" explaining it in terms of forcing health plans that cover other medicines to cover contraception. I did not take the opportunity to reply that medicine is for counteracting and curing illness and contraception is to counteract the normal, healthy action of a woman's body. I figured it wouldn't go over well with this crowd. They crowed over how the legislature had forced Roman Catholic health plans to provide contraception, even though it is forbidden by their religion, and nobody is forced to use Roman Catholic health care, and there are so many alternatives to them it makes your head spin. Then, they talked about government taking away private rights, and they didn't start laughing at the contrast of government stepping in on private religious rights and their indignation at people not being able to take knives on planes.
The hosts' daughter did very well, and stayed very non-committal on the topic. To our neighbors' credit, we know nearly nothing about their political views. We know a little of how they viewed the recent presidential election, and we know some of their fiscal views, and that is about it. We can guess, and are likely correct, but nothing firm. It is refreshing that people would show some discretion in a strictly social exchange.
The most amusing part of the night, though, was how these people fawned over Rich and the kids, for being such nice, kind (and in the children's case) well behaved people. They were pleasant and fun to be around. Even though our children were victims of a horror of abuse like spanking (they were surprisingly free and easy with us, their tormentors), and my husband was a control freak patriarch (who was amazingly caring and sensitive and loving to me and the children) and I was one of those stupid women who didn't know her own interests (but could have intelligent conversation, laugh at jokes and down margaritas like nobody's business). To coin one of the phrases they used: It's nice when you have such easy answers for every issue.
Labels: Culture and Politics