FRIENDS ARE FORGIVING…AND EXHAUSTED
The best thing about living in Winston-Salem is the friends we’ve made. We have dinner with them, travel with them, go to events with them and discuss issues with them. A more pleasant and congenial group you couldn’t find. Except for me. For some reason I blame entirely on Washington D.C., I seem to have a burr under my saddle a good deal of the time.
Recently, a group of us gathered. The wine was flowing freely and the laughter was constant. Until someone innocently referred to something in the news that day. That set me off. As I lectured on and on, the room fell silent, eyes began to shift to what remained on their dinner plate, and even some chins sunk toward chests. Some were drinking a little more heavily than they probably should. I have to confess that I believe Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency. The problem is all my friends already know that and because most of them more or less agree with me, they are just being polite when they hear me out. Again and again. Polite, agreeable, and probably exhausted.
Recently, I read David Brooks’ column entitled The Politics of Exhaustion, in which he claims that “two power blocs are driving politics today: the proletariat and the precariat (meaning young and educated.). However, there is 75 percent of the electorate that is “not defined by any common ideology…and is simply worn out by the endless war between these two (other) armies.” Guess which one among our group of friends isn’t worn out. In my weak defense, I can’t help it. Politics is in my blood. I find Congressional hearings fascinating. It has been suggested that I may have too much time on my hands. What do they know? What could be more entertaining than watching otherwise normal people go off the rails?
For most of my life in Washington, D.C., I warned against zealots, especially after being abused by a true believer in supply-side economics at a reception during the Reagan years. Until it came back from the laundry, I thought my shirt would be permanently stained when he threw his $5 shrimp at me after I suggested that his favored economic theory sounded a lot like trickle-down economics to me. Suddenly, thanks to Brooks, I realized I was becoming a zealot.
So, my New Year’s Resolution will be to skip politics when friends gather. Instead, I think I will talk about the decline in the relevancy of mainstream religion. That ought to keep them awake.