Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Drinking, again

Henry, my dearest friend from Key West, called me Monday night. It was the first time we'd spoken since the tearful call on July 4, when we talked about the death of his friend, Ted.

He was not unhappy on Monday, just conversational. And, I suspect, a little lonely. His husband, Reg, was tending bar and wouldn't be home until after 2:00 AM, after Henry had gone to bed.

And he was drinking. He loves his white wine.

He was eager to hear all about my colonoscopy -- he worries about me and I love him for that. We talked about how their lives will change in August, when Reg gives up bartending for bookkeeping after 42 years of food/beverage service. Then he switched to life in Trump's America.

Oh, good goobies! His crazy partisanship kicked in at the same moment as the wine.

"All Republicans" ...

•  Want war, because it's good for their rich friends
•  Oppose healthcare, because Obamacare is bad for their rich friends
•  Hate minorities

Oh, for shit's sake!

As a Christian, I get upset when I hear Conservatives act as though they have exclusive province over faith and insist that, as a Liberal, I cannot possibly be religious. It turns me off to their arguments. Why wouldn't patriotic Conservatives of conscience get similarly upset when they hear themselves portrayed in a cartoonish manner?

Henry kept returning to his same, familiar bogeymen: Trump and Dick Cheney. I told him I could not say anything good about either of those men, and no one can make me, but they do not represent "all Republicans." As a matter of fact, I imagine Cheney finds Trump appalling, and vice versa.

I could have brought up Bernie Sanders. In the run up to the 2016 election, Henry was adamant that Sen. Sanders was damaging Clinton and the patriotic thing for him to do would be to get out of the way. "He can't win!" was Reg's refrain, noting "no one trusts him."

No, dear Henry, none of your friends trust him. I've listened to many a lathered up Sanders supporter complain that Hillary is the "tool of the oligarchy" and she couldn't be trusted, either. Sigh.

So naturally, I busted him for his silliness. I mentioned that the bloodiest war of our lifetime,  Vietnam, was escalated by the same President who signed the landmark 1964 civil rights legislation. If LBJ both "wanted war" and "loved minorities," was he a Republican or a Democrat?

Nothing is this simple. Nothing is this black and white. No one -- OK, except Trump and Cheney -- is simply bad. Or exclusively good.

I hope I got him leave the wine in the refrigerator and open his ears and his heart -- his huge and loving heart -- to listening instead of demonizing.

I hope that by advising him, I encouraged myself to do the same.

And if not, well, Henry ended the call by telling me how much he loves me. To borrow from The Lads, you know that can't be bad.