I'm not a big party goer. Never have been, really. Back in college (has it been 10 years already?) I attended a few, but I tend to have more fun when the people around me can still carry on a conversation and don't look like they're two seconds away from redecorating my shoes with the cheese dip they just noshed on. Despite this, New Year's calls out for a party ... a holiday that is pretty much wholly secular, where everyone gets a little tipsy and starts kissing people at midnight? What's not to love (even if Ryan Seacrest is now an indelible part of the evening)?
This year, though, I decided to spend the evening with my father. That made it pretty similar to most other evenings - as a result of the economic downturn and my crushing student loan debt, I'm one of many from my generation who are back in the nest. It's not so bad - like having a grumpy, balding roommate who likes to sit in a recliner all day. What makes it difficult isn't so much living at home (splitting bills actually has a lot of upside, and it's not like I'm ever told to go clean my room). No ... the difficult part stems from our political differences.
Needless to say, my dad is a diehard Republican. He professes to be neutral, but the man has never voted for a Democrat and when asked to name a Democrat he can even stand, let alone likes, he pulls Hubert Humphrey out of his hat. Clearly I lived on a hill when I was born, because this apple didn't just fall far from the tree -- I rolled several miles away, was picked up by a wandering shoe salesman and thrown in the back of a truck, and then ferried from Reaganland to the more reality-based shores of wherever it is I am now.
Nevertheless, late on the night of the 31st and into the early morning hours of the 1st, and then again late on the night of the 1st, we found ourselves glued to C-Span 2 and C-Span watching first the Senate, and then the House, pass a mashed together bill that, despite all its faults, saved us several (badly needed) grand in taxes. For the first time in a long time, we were rooting for the same political result. I even heard him say several versions of "G_d damned Republicans" last night while waiting for the vote to take place. Say what you want about the deal (and there is a lot not to like) - from where I'm sitting it wasn't just welcome, it was needed.
Maybe, just maybe, the time is not far away when voters like my father finally realize what Republicans today are really fighting for, and will decide that they're better off ignoring the cultural issues that aren't affecting their lives in any real way (my father is a staunch gun rights defender ... but hasn't shot a gun in 30 years; he's anti-abortion but doesn't know anyone who has been placed in the position of availing themselves of one; he's anti-gay for reasons he can't articulate).
In any case, the last couple of days may have lacked the pizzazz of an ordinary New Year's celebration, but I don't regret not going out. I can drink wine and eat cheese dip anyday ... but there's only so many times I can yell at Republicans with my conservative father over the fiscal cliff.