“I’m buying a whole lot of tissues in preparation for election night,” said a woman in line in front of me in a trendy Manhattan eatery.
“Well, I’m buying a whole lot of champagne,” said a guy to her right with a laugh. He leaned in to kiss her, but she yanked her face away and rolled her eyes with displeasure.
I chose a small table beside them, intrigued by their diametrically opposed political persuasions. Armed with my usual old-fashioned pen and writing pad, I had entered the café with the hope of jotting down some notes for an upcoming column. I hadn’t expected to find a new one there waiting for me.
What I discovered was a perfect, spontaneous, honest representation of the conservative vs. liberal world view, brought to life through the words of an Obama-loving lady and her Reaganesque leading man.
She talked about how she wishes the government would impose a ban on high levels of salt in restaurant food so that she wouldn’t put on so much water weight. He talked about how he needs to put himself on a diet and learn some self-control if he’s ever going to fit into his suit for her sister’s wedding.
She talked about how it’s good that Obama is forcing everyone to have health insurance because it’s simply unsafe not to have it. He talked about how he’d like to be the one to decide what’s unsafe for his own life, and wondered what judgment call Obama would be making for him next.
She talked about how the TEA Party is dangerous and profoundly unsettling because it’s “a whole bunch of random people unchecked by a superior authority.” He talked about how the TEA Party is inspiring and profoundly American because it’s “a whole bunch of random people unchecked by a superior authority.”
She talked about how it’s the responsibility of government to provide opportunities to grow and prosper for people of all incomes, shapes, and sizes. He talked about how it’s the responsibility of people of all incomes, shapes, and sizes to create opportunities for themselves.
She talked about how she’s entitled to tax cuts because she makes less than 50K a year. He talked about how the only thing he feels entitled to is the right to work his butt off to earn more than the 60K he does.
She talked about how our Constitution needs to become a living and breathing document because it’s out of date. He talked about how if everything was living and breathing, there would be no foundation, and how securing our liberty will never be out of date.
She talked about how Obama’s hope and change are being stifled by those who don’t realize that the government may need to bail us out sometimes, may need to step in to make things more fair, and may need to do what some can’t be trusted to do themselves. He talked about how Obama’s hope and change are being exposed by those who realize that it’s our job to bail ourselves out, that there’s nothing fair about stealing from one person to give to another, and that the government shouldn’t be doing for us what we can and should do for ourselves.
They carried on a bit longer, but you get the gist. The whole thing reminded me of a conversation I had with a far-left buddy of mine last year, one which left me wondering if two politically engaged people with conflicting world views can have a successful long-term relationship. After all, one’s politics encompasses his/her perception of responsibility, government, freedom, and a whole lot more.
I don’t have the answer to that. What I do have is the knowledge that the Right and Left in this country see things through remarkably different lenses.
And what that means for America—for our ability to move forward with pro-growth, pro-American, pro-liberty policies for future generations—remains to be seen.