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No big deal, I didn't change his vote, but we actually had a discussion.  He's a bright guy, ten years my senior which makes him really old! a strong supporter of Israel having family living there, which is probably his main focus.  I may have made an extra effort in talking to him, as another Republican friend and I have had a rather deep breach because of our political positions, and I felt a need to find a way to express my views while maintaining a friendship.

Here were some of the most important elements in this hour long conversation.  First, I made the distinction between this Republican party and those of earlier decades, when there was a progressive wing, called the Rockefeller or Jacob Javitts contingent.  I then described how this version would not accept Richard Nixon in the party, who tried to get universal health care and a negative income tax enacted.  

When he asked why I disliked Paul Ryan, I explained that he is an idealog, not of the Economist Fredrich Heyak as he claims, but Ayn Rand.  And I summarized Rand as someone who so admires the independent man, the John Galts, that those who don't make it should be allowed to suffer and die.  I then asked him, if this is what they really deep down believe then if a woman is pregnant and is destitute and doesn't want her child to suffer, and if government isn't there to make the infant's life bearable, what would a real Randian party propose.

I waited for his response, as he had admitted he helped his own child get an abortion, as he would want for others, which as I explained to him put him at odds with the Republican party.  Finally, he responded, "They would allow the child to be aborted."
With that there was a connection. I explained that the merger of Randian radical conservationism doesn't fit with fundamentalist Christianity.  

He then fell back on his Limbaugh Fox indoctrination saying, "Isn't it true that Obama doing socialist stuff, trying to make everyone dependent of government to solve all their problems"  I thought for a bit and then said, "Yes, in the case of health care, which like in every other wealth country people do not have to live their lives in fear of sickness or injury destroying not only their own lives but those dependent on them."

He thought a bit, and sort shook his head in agreement.  I went on describing that Obama's plan still kept private doctors and most every other part of the medical establshiment, but it does lessen this fear, and this is a good thing.  

We got onto foreign affairs, and his belief that Obama was weak which I responded by polls of many countries showing he and our country are more accepted now than under the previous administration. The main point is that it is possible to have this type of conversation.  I don't think it is to the other person whom I had the breach with, although it could yet turn out to be, but it was with this one.  It only worked because I could not let myself have another hostile outcome, so I showed him  respect, acknowledging, for instance, that the Obama administration may have ramped up environmental regulations too much, saying, "You're the expert (an environmental engineer) and you know more about this than I do"

I write this to say that this kind of conversation can be both intellectually and emotionally satisfying, something that is valueable during this contentious time. With affection and respect, there are those who can be brought to understand a different picture.  It may help that I personally have negative response to strident ideological based political views of both the left and the right.  That allows me to be sincere when I tell him that on balance this is why I support Obama.  The conversation was about an hour, but I could have continued much longer, as I'm fully aware of the defects of the Democratic party, the President and our political system, and didn't have a need to try to demolish my friend's views when we discussed the issues.

If only all political discussions could be like this.

 

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have dozens of friends like this and we have (17+ / 0-)

    respectful conversations.  Mostly they will agree point for point with me but will end up voting for Romney anyway.  Shows how deep ideology and tribalism run in human beings.

  •  If He Supports Both Israel and Romney Then I (7+ / 0-)

    presume he supports remaking the Israeli economy along the lines Romney and Ryan want? No public education, no welfare, only private retirement plans, those sorts of things?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 05:36:23 PM PDT

  •  Nearly all Jews in the US support Obama (9+ / 0-)

    and it is not because they don't care about Israel.

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 05:42:08 PM PDT

    •  Yes, about 75%..... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North, sharman, Lujane

      While Jews are generally liberal, and are especially repelled by Romney "God-Jesus is essential to be an American," there has long been a strain of those who saw Republican Jingoism as being to Israels benefit.  My friend is an active AIPAC member who is one of this segment of Jews.

  •  My 29yo daughter has been asking her Romney (18+ / 0-)

    supporting friends if they want their parents living with them. LOL!

    •  Not only living with them (9+ / 0-)

      but paying for their health care too!

      Everyone! Arms akimbo!

      by tobendaro on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:07:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some of them may have already (5+ / 0-)

      picked out a nice ice floe on which to send the parents out to sea if they get a disease that their vouchers won't cover.

      I am joking. Most Republicans think that the people who run their party are perfectly normal, decent, sensible humans. Astounding, given 2000-2008.

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:18:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's deliberate selective blindness (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FarWestGirl, arodb

        That is to say, I think most folks who would say the current GOP is run by normal decent folks are either REALLY under-informed (quite possibly by choice) or... don't really believe that.  They believe, "Well, sure the current Republicans aren't super great, but you know, Democrats socialism satan-worshipping stuff.  And they eat babies too."

        FWIW, to Arodb:  sir, I sincerely admire you, and your friend.  I chose to end one friendship over the political divide (in my defense, that guy's crazy) and have also broken off all relationship with my last living uncle, over the same issue.  Great on you to continue an open, healthy dialog, and great on your friend for being open to one.  Kudos.

        •  Sorry about the Uncle.... (0+ / 0-)

          if it's at all possible, and only you know, maybe the relationship can be restored.  Maybe you can agree to disagree, and if there is some affection build on it.  How you and he feel about politics won't really change events, but as an Uncle who has lost his connections with his Nieces, I know it could be a loss to him.

          Maybe, some day, try to find another connection, and accept your differences,  It could be sometihng you both would value.

          All the best.

          •  Thanks for the kind words! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            arodb

            I'm sorry to hear about you and your nieces, Arodb.  If it's possible and if you wish it, I hope you can reconnect with them at some point.

            In all honesty, I doubt I have the slightest value to this fellow (my uncle).  I am 42 years old and have met him once in all that time, when my father died.

            The disconnect started when he began sending me politically charged anti-Obama/Democrat e-mails.  Like weekly, sometimes more frequently.  I asked him to stop; he didn't (later he would say he doesn't remember me asking).  I then began answering back some of the e-mails with debunking - for instance, the old Cindy Williams Military Pay canard (he sent an e-mail saying Williams had been appointed by the Obama administration, when she served in the CBO in 2000).  I noticed that he didn't seem to remember much of what his e-mails contained, and I asked him if he actually read them before he forwarded them.  In a nutshell, the conversation became very acrimonious (and in all fairness this was as much my doing as his), and at one point I just stopped replying and put him on block status.

            I really do appreciate your thoughts, but this man is a senior living in one of the reddest parts of Florida.  His e-mails could have come directly off Fox & Friends, or Glenn Beck's whiteboard.  And as I said above, he and I have no prior relationship.  I think the situation is different from you and your nieces.  Too, during the one meeting I had with him, frankly there was some friction even without the subject of politics on the table.  I don't think much would be gained by our trying to have a relationship at this point, and there's no way either of our minds will change on the political issues.

            Sorry the lengthy reply, thanks for reading.

            •  Jon, sure the name of the relationship... (0+ / 0-)

              is not what determines a "relationship"  He is just a guy who is a simplistic ideologue and of course it's not worth trying to repair as there never was anything.  

              I've had friends who send this stuff, also without reading it.  The subject of this diary does that, and I just don't read it, but we also play tennis and then have coffee together, and we have some connections that transcend his "Fox disease."  So, I broke through and built on that yesterday, which I'm glad to see the readership here could resonate with.

              I have one sister who had three girls, whom I was close to, especially the oldest.  Somewhere along the line, of course she changed, and as I have no kids the connection meant more to me.  Ironically, she is probably more to the left than I am, especially on following certain social issues that I am an outlier among the left.

              When our Aunt died recently, I wrote a diary here a few weeks ago (check it out) that cause the other girls to at least write to me, but not she, who is firm in her coolness.  I sent her an email, and got a very cool response, sealing the separation.

              This and other things one accepts as life goes on, (my being 30 years older than you)  I think there is quite a bit of personal projection, identification and proxy expressions in politics.  And at time's one's ego is closer to the surface than we would like.

              Good connecting, and I read my messages here.

              Al Rodbell

  •  Exactly..... (6+ / 0-)

    Do they want their parents living in he basement underneath them, in their guest room or over the garage in the mother-in-law apartment?  

    For the moment, I'm laying low w/ Republicans.  Don't think I'm in the mood to discuss the debate.  I think it's the gloating that I won't be able to bare.  

    •  This is the spark that ended the other..... (4+ / 0-)

      relationship.  He gave me a synopsis of the debate with especial disdain.  It has been unpleasant for the last few days, exchanging acrimonious emails for a while, We play tennis at the same facility, so we will interact soon.

      Unlike what I describe here, we can only talk across each other, so I'm not going to have any more political conversations with him at all.

      •  Sounds Like A Good Plan.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arodb, Creosote, FarWestGirl, myboo

        Odd how they aren't talking about skewed polls anymore.  All of a sudden, the polls are fine, just fine.  

        •  Haha, good catch! (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote, FarWestGirl, myboo, arodb

          So Obama owning = must be fishy, Romney starting to look like he might have slightly better chances than a snowball in a blast furnace = valid.  Nice.  :^/

          I guess there is one minor upside to the debate "loss."  (I don't wholly subscribe to the public/Village view.)  Simply put, Romney looked like he was going out.  Now after this rally, the big funders who (according to rumor) were considering pulling the plug on him and focusing on vulnerable or shaky downticket races might instead keep funds focused on the Presidential race.  Which means there's a better chance, in my hopeful opinion, of ousting Akin, Bachmann (fingers crossed), Rivera, West et al.  Here's hoping.

  •  Socialist Obama care (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arodb, FarWestGirl

    Ask them do you think Medicare is socialism.  If they say no then say more so obamacare. Because it relies on private insurances like what congress has.

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:40:47 PM PDT

  •  You are wrong about Obama doing socialist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    stuff re health care.

    All he is doing is making sure that everyone can purchase health insurance from a privately owned, profit-making health insurance company.

  •  Someone on the fence (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arodb, sharman, Creosote, FarWestGirl

    talked to my husband today. He wanted to know where President Obama's birth certificate was posted online. My husband actually directed him to an article about Paul Ryan sending the certificate out to his constituents.
    Seriously, this was the deciding factor - but like my husband said, we'll take his vote and educate him later!

  •  I'm just glad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, arodb

    I have no friends who are supporters of Romney. Of course, that is not an accident.

    We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

    by CatM on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 08:03:41 PM PDT

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