No boloney, I didn't meet a Republican until I was in college. There I became aware that there was 'one' on campus and only then because he self-identified as Republican and I was honestly, like, "Wow, there goes that Republican guy. " As I recall he was a big blowhard windbag, and so all the unknowns were affirmed for me. "There's one of those republicans, and look, he's an opinionated ass." Case closed.
I grew up in a community of hot headed liberal New yorkers; people who believed, in true liberal fashion, that they're owed something. Those are my peoples. The entitled- egoist -upper middle class- east coast elitist- scrabble playing- prep school-arty set? My peeps. The fact that I am not Jewish is still somewhat of a mystery to me.
So anyway, I'd heard about these republicans for a long time. And as I got older and more embedded with my tribe of abortion seeking, pot-smoking, Christ-forsaking, bag recycling, pacifist brethren, the easier it was to villify the opposing team. But again, I'd never met 'one' personally. All I knew was that they wanted to steal my money and kill poor people. And also that if I let them, they'd drive my uterus like a big school bus, into the parking lot of poverty and despair because they like the 7 cells of my one night stand more than me.
Then I fell in love. With one of my oldest and best friends. Crazy in love. Talk on the phone from midnight to six a.m. every night, in love. Lingerie photos love. See the future, feel all your heart's blood squeeze throught the tiny portal of what is possible, LOVE love.
But there were a couple of problems.
One, he lived in Ohio and no self-respecting bagel-eater would ever live in Ohio. And then there was that other little problem...
I only discovered his condition very slowly. Its how I imagine being poisoned with grains of uranium might be - from pink and healthy to coughing an eyeball out your nostrill in about six months. My sweet lovin' man was that most dreaded of all beasts, and, what's more, he owned a gun. He hid these truths from me for a long time, knowing I think that he was in enemy territory, he camoflaged by playing up his funny, disarming, self-depreciating, love-stricken characteristics, and downplaying his paranoid, tax-break loving, capitalist, isolationist bomb-shelter tendencies.
I am not kidding when I say that I think my family might rather I have dated a pedophile. At least then there would have been help for him, some kind of rehabilitative program or protocol. He would have shown as a big red dot on the neighborhood map, but this, this was way more complex. He might actually co-mingle with my people, might even cross-breed! Or worse, occupy my body and operate my voting finger - work me like a sock puppet, his giant fist up my lily white, tube sock ass.
No one was more suspicious than I. When I found out he owned a gun, the conversation went something like this:
"I hate you so much right now, I think I might have to kill you with your own gun." The perfect argument for why I don't think people should have guns in the first place.
And then he brought me to the breeding ground of his people, the fertile, alien petrie dish where republicans coat the intellectual water's surface like trout eggs waiting to be fertilized by the giant semen hose of racism and xenophobia. And what did those psychos do? They invited me in and offered me love. Unconditional, whole-hearted, good-to-the-last-drop, L-o-v-e.
Me, with my foul mouth and naughty past. I was squeezed into the big table, with my inconsistent manners and sloppy values, my unfiltered opinions and emotional arguments, I was offered a seat at the table. Suddenly I was the novelty act. "So Jess, tell us what you think we should do about terrorism." Fifteen faces, ages 4-74, staring down the table over a steaming turkey, three pies and fourteen kinds of cookies, to see what I might come up with.
"Be quiet old man, or I'll have to ask Vildy to shoot you with his gun. Now pass the gravy."