Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How it is....

Desperately Seeking (Conservative) People

By Robin of Berkeley
A recovering liberal tries to do the impossible: create a social life in the most leftist place on earth.
Like most women, I'm a social creature. I need friends with whom I can confide, commiserate, complain. So when my 35 year love affair with the Democratic Party fell apart 1 1/2 years ago, I needed someone to talk to, someone who would understand that something was rotten in Denmark.
First I tried my husband, a supportive kind of a guy, but one who gets his news from Berkeley's KPFA, a radio station to the far left of Al-Jazeera.
Me: Something is seriously wrong with the Democratic Party.
Him: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Me: The brutality, the meanness, the cult like following of Obama.
Him: That's just politics as usual.
Me: But what about Obama's association with really far left radicals who hate Jews and America and Whites?
Him: I'm sure Obama would serve from the middle and bring everyone together.
Me: I don't think so. I think he'll lean toward socialism and divide everyone even more. I'm worried about paying taxes through the roof and the government involved in every aspect of our lives.
Him: (with barely contained disgust) Jeez, you're sounding like a conservative.
Ok, that didn't go so well.
My next stop was my friend, Laura, a level headed, moderate Democratic who is not very political.
Me: I don't feel good about Obama. He seems so angry and there's this weird Obama mania surrounding him.
Laura: Really? I think he's so cool.
Me: Cool, yes, as in icy cold.
Laura: (Looking infatuated, even possessed) Everyone just loves him! He's so great! I love watching him on TV!
Me: Oh, God, Laura, you've become one of them! Personally, if Obama gets the nomination, I'm voting Republican for the first time in my life.
Laura: (with a look of utter revulsion, as though I told her I microwaved a kitten) Republicans are disgusting.
My last hope was talking to my therapist, Bob; you need a psychotherapist, an acupuncturist, a masseuse, and a spiritual teacher to survive here in Berkeley. I've seen Bob for years, and we're generally on the same page. And, after all, I'm paying the dude to be nice to me.
I told him of my grave misgivings about Obama, that no one knows much about him aside from his seriously whacked out friends. He said (and these were his exact words), "I'm wondering whether your concerns about Obama have something to do with your childhood."
Bye bye Bobby. I can be humiliated for free, thank you very much.
Three strikes and I was out. So discussing my growing anxiety about Obama with my social support system wasn't working out very well. I considered my options:
A. I could close my private practice, move to Texas, and go on welfare (but I didn't want to give Obama the satisfaction, and I am not sure welfare in Texas is quite like what California hands out);
B. I could wait until I'm rich via Obamaeconomics (LOL) and then move to Texas;
C. I could numb out with megadoses of medical marijuana and vodka (though my aging body can't handle much more than my dose of Maalox.);
D. I could stay where I was and meet some new people. So my only option was finding a conservative around here, a challenge that would rival Middle East peace.
I considered running a personal ad in the Berkeley Daily Planet:
Wanted: New FriendsSize, height, weight, marital status, state of health, state of mind, age, race, income, class, hobbies, interests, jobs, length of life, unimportant.Felons, parolees, drug addicts, alcoholics, gamblers, hygiene-impaired, dwarfs, giants, heavily tattooed gang members, unemployed, unintelligible, schizophrenics, multiplepersonalities, fugitives, all encouraged.However, no Liberals.
But I worried that even this wouldn't attract any comers.
So, I put my thinking hat on and decided I should try trolling for new friends in the fancy outlying suburbs, which are largely Democratic but have small pockets of conservatives. I began hanging out weekends, keeping my eyes and ears open. Frankly, it's a miracle no one called the cops ("Officer, hurry! There's this unfashionably dressed woman from Berkeley who refuses to leave our town until she finds some friends!")
After a couple of weekends, I lucked out and discovered a downtown Farmer's Market and a nervous looking woman tabling for McCain. When I zipped over, introduced myself and said I was from Berkeley, the poor woman looked seriously scared. She calmed noticeably when I said, "I've left the Democratic Party and am voting for McCain." I told her that I was her bodyguard (joke: I'm 5'4 and have no muscle tone to speak of). Together we endured the taunts of Obama supporters; one guy shouted that we were a "cult" (hello? I'm not the one with the politico's face plastered all over my chest, car, wall, undies, etc. etc.) Anyway, this nice woman offered me her contact info and we started connecting.
I landed a few more people. I thought to call McCain headquarters out in the 'burbs and found another disgruntled former Dem. I even found a woman my age outside a Starbuck's, having a conversation with an acquaintance about her distrust of Obama. (I wasn't above eavesdropping.) When her acquaintance left, I zoomed in, and soon we were sitting together and talking for three hours.
Eventually I had assembled 5 other people and started an e tree where we offered support and shared war stories. When my new Farmers Market friend was tabling again, she had a liberal jerk dump a garbage can all over her and her table, while no one did a thing. Another person was proselytized by her Obama-loving gynecologist during a pelvic exam. Many of us were underground with others about our views (Ironic, isn't it, that that the architects of the Weather Underground, Bill Ayers and his enchanting wife Bernardine Dohrn, now have a friend in the Oval Office power while law abiding citizens are forced underground.) Through our e tree we could let our hair down and find safety and sanity.
I'm very grateful to my new friends for taking this lost Berkeley waif under their protective wings. But it's still really hard to have to hide who I am, to smile blankly when old friends talk up Obama. I'm the kind of person who doesn't have a public and a private face; with me, what you see is what you get. So masquerading around as a supporter of all things Obama is just not me and, frankly, having to do so pisses me off.
But part of my recovery from being a starry eyed utopian is living in reality zone. We are in dark times, uncharted waters, and I live at Ground Zero. Until it's safe to come out of the closet, I'll have to stay in here. But finding new friends, and knowing that there are others out there as well, makes the closet a bit less lonely.
(Dedicated, with appreciation, to my new buds, my not-fair-weather underground: A, G, J, M, and N.)

1 comment:

ww4cash said...

Take a shower and get away from there, while you have an ounce of self respect left.