The other night, at a dinner party, I practiced biting my tongue. Hard.
One of the couples present was visiting from Texas, and they looked—and drawled—the part. Forgive me the stereotype, but if you’ve ever wondered who in the world votes for people like Rick Perry or Louis Gohmert, I think I know…
Parties aren’t the place for unpleasant behaviors, so I actually participated in two conversations: one verbalized, one in my head.
After some general chatter from those present about the unusually brutal winter, the wife smirked, “I guess that shows those liberals who are always talking about global warming!”
I was quiet.
I didn’t say, you twit. It’s climate change, and the escalation of unusual weather patterns is precisely what “those liberals” have been warning about.
A few minutes later, someone mentioned news coverage, and the wife once again spoke up. “I never watch NBC or CBS or—of course—MSNBC. I watch Fox, because Fox gives both sides.”
I choked. “Really?” I said mildly, wondering what my blood pressure might be.
I didn’t say, I guess you aren’t aware of all those studies showing that Fox audiences know less than people who don’t watch any news at all. (My husband, sitting across the table, later shared that he’d barely suppressed the impulse to tell her he prefers Al Jazeera. I would have given a lot to see her reaction….)
I remained pleasantly noncommittal when she speculated that Pakistani Muslims had probably hijacked the missing plane.
At that point, everyone at the table became aware of the husband, who had stopped explaining to a couple from London why “the King’s English” isn’t really proper English, in order to pontificate about America’s descent into socialism. After sneering about “those people” who were “going through” the assets of the entrepreneurs and “makers” who had earned them, he let out a knowing sigh. “They’ll never learn.”
I asked him—sweetly—what he’d done prior to his retirement. He’d worked for government.
You know—the institution that pays its employees with tax money that has been extorted from the makers.
I murmured something about a migraine…so sorry…and left.
My jaw should unclench in a day or so.