Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll wonders: IS THERE ANYTHING MORE TO SAY? She writes:

Regular readers have heard me whine and moan before about the difficulty of remaining topical in a once a week column. But this week should really take the cake – that one left out in the rain for which we won’t ever have that recipe again…

I submitted last week’s column on Tuesday, a day before my customary deadline because of computer issues. And Thursday the proverbial poo hit the proverbial fan, big time! That Friday column was a mildly amusing little piffle which was NOT on the only topic everyone was discussing! And NOW, eight days later, everything that could possibly be said on the subject has been said, not only by my excellent and articulate colleagues but by a legion of witty and perceptive commenters and columnists.

About all I could add is “Who are the 37 percent who, immediately following the debate, expressed the opinion that Biden had ‘won’ the debate?” Even I know a dedicated Trump loather who has eyes and an otherwise excellent brain and conceded that Biden had been KO’d in the first round. It would be like a prizefight between the scrawny, addled, possibly drunk Nancy Pelosi and Mike Tyson wherein Ms. Pelosi lay comatose on the mat (a Grrrll can dream…) while Tyson finished ingesting her ear and a third of the witnesses declared Nanny State Nancy the “winnah and still champeen.”

Joseph Robinette Biden stood in front of the American public and, like the little boy outing the nude Emperor of storybook fame, some 57 million members of the American public finally noticed that he was not fit even to be an Emperor’s Chamber Pot Emptier and also was completely unclothed!

Apart from that, I got nuthin’. But I do know that the world is quite different this Friday from last Friday in ways that will become clearer in the days and weeks to come. And the Democrats are clearly panicked. Be careful, friends. A rabid animal when cornered can still inflict great harm. Take nothing for granted. Nothing.

Meanwhile, the column I had prepared for this week was an elaboration on CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s excellent graduation speech AGAINST the tide of divisiveness, hatred, and intolerance that threatens to engulf us all. So, I might as well give you that.

His college graduation talk – which naturally, he was “disinvited” from because of some 20 year old failure to toe the DEI line — asserted that we Americans are not as far apart as is advertised; that we need to come back together again if America is to move forward, and that we should MINGLE more with people with whom we might not agree on everything. Mr. Smerconish referenced a book published in 2000 by Robert D. Putnam about loneliness and isolation in America titled Bowling Alone.

I wish I knew the exact “point in time,” as the witnesses kept mentioning in the Watergate hearings, when EVERY GOSHDARN THING became political and divisive. In 1968, Joe (not yet Max) and I were 22 years old and lived in a tiny rural Minnesota town of some 744 souls while he taught English to 7th, 8th and 10th grade farm kids. Two sets of kids were first cousins from families of 18 and 20 kids apiece and there was one kid from each family in every class from kindergarten through high school. Those were the days of SERIOUS Catholics!

For my part, I ran a little nursery school for four hours a day, three days a week. It was basically a chance for me to play with some adorable pre-schoolers for a few hours a day. And my first but not last business venture to fail – if by “fail” you mean in the technical sense of putting more money into the venture than was made. Sigh.

At 75 cents an hour, it included creative activities, lunch, games, storytelling by a young heterosexual non-drag queen (moi) and if I had had a shirt, I would have lost it. But, Miss Susan’s Nursery School was THE place for the cool youngsters to be and I had a ball. We even had an Easter Parade up Main Street. Both blocks.

We didn’t have a car so we couldn’t really leave town and we couldn’t drink at the American Legion without a vet to invite us. For fun we had other young couples over for dinner (which was called supper in those days and at that place) and we bowled in a league. We were both terrible bowlers, which kind of surprised me because I was pretty athletic and thought I should be better. Well, I wasn’t. One of us — why point fingers? — once got a score of 33 on a game. More gutter balls than pins knocked down will do that to a score.

But the main point I want to make here is that even though it was during the acrimonious Nixon/Humphrey election season, nobody in the league had any idea of anybody else’s politics. It was my first election, and I wore my nicest dress and high heels to the in-person polling place to pull the lever for Humphrey. It almost goes without saying that he lost.

Sometime later in this little German/Polish town, swastikas were drawn on our sidewalk – — backwards of course – but the good news was that the WW2 vets were outraged. The miscreants were tracked down and it was a truly “teachable” moment.

Back in the day in my hometown, which was all white and all Christian, a “mixed marriage” was between a Catholic and a Protestant. Usually at least one of the families was less than thrilled until the first grandchild, when all was forgiven. Mama, a lifelong Republican Methodist walked a mile every single day for decades with her best friend, Lou, who was a lifelong Democrat and Catholic. (They were both “minorities” in a town of several Lutheran churches.)

They talked about annoying husbands and brilliant children, birthin’ babies and recipes for something new to do with chicken or with a new flavor of JELL-O. Had it even been a topic back then, they both would have agreed to the max on abortion, but they did not tackle papal infallibility or anything else that could have led to controversy and a disruption of the friendship. I was taught that polite people didn’t discuss “sex, religion, or politics.” Haha. Now it seems people discuss almost nothing else. And as unpleasantly as possible.

Research, however, shows that it’s almost always the LEFTIES who Unfriend conservatives on Facebook and ban them from the knitting circles and yoga classes. Leftists seem to have a much higher sense of permanent outrage than happier right-leaning folks do.

Sadly, almost all my relatives are Democrats – with Mama and Daddy gone, we are the only conservatives left. I use conservatives instead of Republicans advisedly. I have minimal confidence in the Republican Establishment. IF the Republicans can possibly find a way to lose to avoid having to put DJT back in the White House, they will git ‘er done.

Just yesterday, a former hero of mine, Bill Kristol, proudly announced that he would not let a little thing like Biden’s galloping Dementia (or, evidently, his virulent anti-Semitism) keep him from voting for him! Wow! “Break on through to the other side…” I guess I am still capable of being shocked.

But when you’re in that voting booth – or filling out your Absentee Ballot at home – ultimately you really truly DO have to make a binary choice. And I will pick Republican every time until I am convinced that some third party ultra-conservative has a ghost of a chance.

Distant relatives can be avoided most of the year. But several of our dearest friends are Democrats. How do we handle it? We just don’t talk about it. It’s pretty hard, sometimes, but my experience with trying to change someone’s mind is to let THEM come to the conclusion themselves. Nagging, mocking or arguing only hardens their resistance.

Take it from one who knows: when your cherished beliefs are smashed on the hard rocks of reality, you can either admit you were in error, which is extremely difficult and requires a lot of self-examination and, often, a whole new set of friends. Or you can just carry on as if “reality” did not exist.

But to those who would like to see friends and relatives change their minds, for the love of Pete, WELCOME baby steps! Do NOT insist they must agree to every jot and tittle of your creed. In 2016, when liberals attended a Trump rally – mostly to mock or reinforce their spoon-fed propaganda that these are HORRIBLE “ist” people, racist, sexist, blah blah blah – they often came away astonished enough to admit that people were friendly, intelligent, welcoming and seemed to be having a great time at the rallies. For the hard-core, mind-changing is never going to happen, so why make each other miserable?

I remember an Ann Landers column that stuck with me for over half a century. She said, “If two people agree on EVERYTHING, one of them is unnecessary.” So, I guess Joe/Max will have to find a new home, since we agree on almost everything. Haha. I kid. And besides, we do have a couple of areas where we are not in complete agreement. He likes Jazz more than I do, although I enjoy it live. I like country music more than he does, although he loves Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Patty Loveless, and Alison Krauss.

I like spicy food more than he does. He likes pizza more than I do. I like almost every light in the house on at all times, even in the pantry when we go to bed. What if a home invader should trip in the dark and sue? What if I need a snack at 3:00 a.m.? Joe believes “it is better to light one candle than to curse the Electric Bill.”

So I guess one of us is not “unnecessary” after all. Which is lucky because we just celebrated 59 years together, 57 of them married! That’s a whole lotta “mingling.”

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