September 27, 2004
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Recently, a close friend here in Los Angeles came out. We consider ourselves open-minded Liberals but it's painful for us to admit that one of our favorite people had suddenly become a ... Republican.
Glenn (not his real name) seemed relieved at the non-judgmental way we reacted to the shattering news of his decision. Truth be told, we were stunned. The eagerly out-of-the-closet Glenn quickly owned up to his life-long secret attraction to the GOP and now thinks he may have been leaning "that way" as a teenager but lacked the courage then to act on these impulses. He recalled having rebuffed the advances of a handsome history teacher who'd asked him to stay after high school one day to discuss how Nixon was railroaded over Watergate.
We diplomatically suggested that Glenn had simply "chosen" this new alternative political life-style but he vehemently insisted he was "born this way." We tactfully inquired if it was possible that he wasn't really a Republican but went both ways and was in fact just ... Bipartisan. Glenn nixed this idea, too. We feared losing him to country clubs, N.R.A. rallies and The Wall Street Journal. To prove his loyalty, Glenn shockingly announced he would soon join his Conservative comrades as they tried to recruit politically naïve youths outside a Backstreet Boys concert.
Our eyes glazed over as Glenn rhapsodized about privatizing social security, blamed the 1960s for destroying American values and gloated that the Neo-Cons were going to make the world safe for pre-emptive Democracy. We stifled yawns over mawkish anecdotes about the insights of reactionary bloggers who nailed that big phony Dan Rather, got an earful about how the House Managers received a raw deal during Clinton's impeachment and how Air American Radio was polluting the airwaves. Adding insult to injury, Glenn then insisted on subjecting us to a bootleg tape of Trent Lott and The Singing Senators, featuring Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft. As they slaughtered a medley of gospel favorites, it made us wonder if perhaps the Taliban had the right idea about banning music. When we got home, we both needed a shower and a drink.
The next day, it dawned on us that we'd been duped: Glenn had been using us as Liberal "beards" to cover his canoodling with Conservatives. Is nothing sacred to "these people?" Did they have to be so "in your face" with their political beliefs? What ever happened to values, decency and shame? Where's Bill Bennett when you need him?
(Playing slot machines but we digress.)
A few days later, we wondered how we could have ever been so blind. Suddenly, all the clues snapped into focus like the last scene in "The Usual Suspects" --- an autographed copy of "Unfit For Duty" on Glenn's bedside table, the elephant-patterned ties, the angry defense of Ann Coulter's praise for Joe McCarthy and rants alleging Democrats were un-American to have questioned the war in Iraq.
Our grief and sorrow eventually shifted into a higher gear: guilt. What did we do wrong? Did we go overboard with that five-year subscription to Mother Jones? Should we not have dragged Glenn to a pre-release screening of "Fahrenheit 9-11"? Was the Free Mumia! tote bag the last straw?
We briefly considered kidnapping Glenn and bitch-slapping some political sense into him. Maybe a Liberal de-programmer could convince him that Connecticut cowboy George W. Bush is just pasting a happy face on his far right agenda, that public school teachers and their union aren't just a bunch of Commies and that Headstart and Nelson Mandela are okay (even though Dick Cheney was opposed to both of them.) Before we could find out if there actually were any Liberal de-programmers, Glenn invited us to dinner the following week. While we accepted his invitation, we dreaded the encounter more than the prospect of a Bush Supreme Court appointment.
We desperately needed some spiritual guidance. Luckily, the Dalai Lama was having a fund-raiser that weekend at Richard Gere's house. At the event, we noticed a couple of rabbis, a bevy of Baldwin brothers and the head of the Sierra Club. But we sailed right by all of them and made a beeline for actor Dennis Haysbert. Martin Sheen was also there lingering over the hors d'oeuvres but the first Black president from "24" seemed more au courant than the longtime White chief executive from "The West Wing." Haysbert graciously helped us make our big decision. Yes, we could still be friends with Glenn. After all, you can hate the sin but love and forgive the sinner. We don't approve of his new political "life-style" which has exchanged the Coen Brothers for the Gatlin Brothers. But we'll still try to include Glenn in our lives.
We can only hope that someday Glenn will return to the fold as our prodigal Democrat.
After all, back in the early 1990s, he defiantly converted to being a vegan but quickly fell off the meat and dairy-free wagon with a porterhouse steak and a pint of Ben & Jerry's and never looked back. Sometimes, people do eventually see the light instead of the Right.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
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