My best friend Theresa broke up with me about six months ago because she said that she decided that she was a socialist. I said, “I know: you’ve always been a socialist.” She responded with “I’ve now decided that I’m a religious fanatic socialist, sort of like a Jew who won’t date outside their race. I’ve decided that anyone who is not a socialist is evil and I can’t be around them.”
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I met Theresa when I first moved to LA and have known her for about ten years; we went through our twenties together being best friends. We know everything about each other. We have cried with each other and been happy for each other and even discussed Oprah together. We loved each other. But because of her political beliefs, now she won’t talk to me. She was in town this week. She didn’t contact me. She’s changed her phone number: she’s serious. She thinks that I’m evil because I’m not a socialist. It is horrible being dumped by a friend. It’s worse than being dumped by a guy because it is far more personal. I am so angry with the political scene and with Obama because his stupid politics of polarization have made me lose my best friend.
Where have friendly rivalries gone? I used to be able to discuss the merits of socialism vs. smaller government with Theresa. Or discuss Israel vs. Palestine with my family: my stepsister accused me of being unable to think for myself and of being controlled by my Jewish husband because I didn’t believe that there was a group of Palestinians who were born in Israel forced into a colony and not given the same rights of other Israeli citizens: I just said that I’d have to look into it but that it didn’t sound right. That sort of reasoned answer was not good enough for her. I’ve found that I can’t just have a dispassionate political discussion with anybody on the left anymore: it becomes an all out fight, or they block you on Facebook or they never want to talk to you again. I know that now to bring up politics is not only unpleasant but has become socially dangerous.
Which brings me to what happened at Dodger Stadium this week: the Dodger fan has always been known as among the most docile of creatures in the pantheon of modern American professional sport they would arrive to a game late, they would leave games early. Los Angeles is not a great sports town, it’s a great entertainment town and the fans would watch games to be entertained, not to participate in some weird fantasy sports fetish. They care more about beating traffic out of the stadium then who wins or loses. They didn’t yell, they didn’t scream and there was always a friendly rivalry with the Giants Fans: razzing and teasing and that sort of thing. This week, Dodgers Fans: granted, most likely gang members, but Dodgers fans nonetheless have for all intents and purposes killed a man because he was wearing a Giants hat. I have always gotten along with my friends who have different opinions because I love my friends and I believe that everyone wants to do the right thing. They just have different ways of going about it. One knew that in a baseball rivalry we were all in reality the same because we were all baseball fans. But now even my best friend won’t give the goodness of my intentions the benefit of the doubt. I have been labeled different. I wear a different uniform: anybody who is different is evil. Which means subhuman. That is a dangerous way to start thinking of each other. Historically, that has led to violence in politics and now it has led to violence in sports.
Obama ran on the nebulous platform of ‘change’ and without definition ‘change’ in general means things will never be the same. My relationship with my best and dearest friend will never be the same. Now the good people of Los Angeles will have a relationship with their Dodgers that will never be the same. Both of these relationships did not change for the better. They have changed for the worse. Much worse.
Let’s hope this insane tribalistic behavior ends before the 2012 election but with the democrats track record and the flame throwing lapdog media colluding with them, I fear it won’t.