I heard James Carville on the radio the other day. The first thing that comes to my mind whenever I hear his voice is not, "I wonder what James Carville thinks about the current state of the economy/world/politics?" or, "Oh, what does Mr. Carville have to say about the upcoming election?" but rather, "How in the world can he be married to Mary Matalin??" I mean, seriously. These days?
How do you do it, James? How do you leave your own Democratic values and moral compass at the door? Does it get easier as time goes on to hear your beloved chat it up with O'Reilly on Fox News, hurl vile insults at the President and disparage the unemployed and poor? I just can't wrap my head around it. Does an ongoing political battle within a marriage keep things "fresh" or something? How do you sit at the dinner table night after night with someone who believes gay people are "choosing" their "lifestyle," and should not have the same rights as the rest of us? How do you put on your jammies and hang out in front of the TV with someone who thinks we need to shrink the government, except when it comes to certain rights a woman has over her own body? Isn't marriage fraught with enough of the normal bumps and obstacles without adding irreconcilable worldviews to the mix? James. Mary. Is this all just a big game to you people?
With the Thanksgiving holiday soon upon us, many of you may be bracing yourselves for Thanksgiving Dinner with your Republican relatives. All year long we've kept contact to a polite minimum, and political discussions to a polite non-existence. But the yearly sit-down dinner is inevitable, and when our sister-in-law thinks she's being conciliatory by making a comment about how "Both sides are equally to blame for the economy, really" we know we must bite our tongues and hope our heads do not explode before we've even served the Brussels sprouts. We must attempt to avoid sticky topics of conversation, like the weather. Because that will inevitably lead Uncle Frank to smugly chime in with his predictable "Say, how 'bout those snow storms back east? So much for your global warming!" Heh heh.
We will suspend our snarky comments and our disbelief for one evening, because we love you. We will "agree to disagree," as if it's simply our "opinions" that differ, like it's your opinion that tax breaks for corporations and the super-rich will create jobs, even though exactly the opposite has happened in real life. We'll all drink a lot of wine and attempt to keep to safe subjects, like our children, and our shared history, and how good the stuffing is this year.
Surely we can do it for one night. Surely we can serve up some pie while keeping our pie-holes from blurting out something about Palin's crass, naked opportunism or how just how bizarre the Republican Presidential candidates are or how much Mitch McConnell resembles the turkey. We just have to eat green beans and mashed yams with them, not wake up every morning next to them, not bring up children with them, not make the kind of decisions that married people have to make with each other. So when we raise our glasses for the Thanksgiving toast, just imagine life with James and Mary. Then imagine their Thanksgiving dinner, with a whole table full of relatives on opposite sides of the political fence. And let us give thanks.
(And that little toast I'll be making to the people of Tunisia and Libya and Egypt and the stalwart people of the "Occupy" movement? I really don't mean to start anything.)