Dear Robin: I Can’t Believe I Might Be Falling in Love With A Republican!
Friday, September 19, 2014
I met a man about six weeks ago who I really like. After our first date we hit it off and have spent most of our time together since then. I am a 34-year-old very loyal Democrat, and I have never dated a Republican. Last week the subject of the Oregon Health Plan came up and I was frankly shocked to hear that my new guy is against it, along with Obamacare. That conversation led to a longer one about politics and party loyalty and he is an unrelenting Republican. I can't believe I might be falling in love with a Republican and I know this sounds really stupid but it's bothering me. I'm not sure we should even date anymore.
Last night I asked him his thoughts on the Iraq and Afghanistan fiascos and we got into a pretty heated argument. Do you think people with diametrically opposed political viewpoints can find lasting love together? He thinks I'm silly to worry about our political differences, but I'd hate to be fighting with him every time a hot-button issue comes up.
Signed, Liberal Lady (and proud of it!)
Dear Liberal Lady,
I'm having trouble writing my answer to you because I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact you found a Republican in Portland. Are you aware that they are an endangered species here, especially in and around the Multnomah County area? Good for you for capturing one of your own! Can I come over sometime and take a look at him?
I'm picturing a romantic comedy "meet cute." There you are stumbling down Salmon Street, struggling with your cumbersome "Say No to Monsanto" protest sign that you carried like your own personal crucifix at the weekly South Park Blocks "Hemp Now!" rally. Your phone suddenly chirps as your Google alert for "climate change denial" has resulted in a press release by a Republican senator who claims that to the extent global warming exists at all, it is caused by abortion, homosexuals and "Muslims."
You quickly grab for your phone, but in the process you drop your protest sign along with your vegan purse, the contents of which spill out all over the sidewalk as Mr. Republican is exiting the Arlington Club, our own personal breeding ground for hedge fund managers and future residents of the Sheridan Hotel.
He, too, is distracted, reading his copy of "How to Screw the Little Guy" magazine and doing his best to pick the remains of the Spotted Owl with Sautéed Rhino Horn and Beluga Caviar lunch special out of his teeth with a golden monogrammed toothpick, passed down by his father and his father before him. You bump into each other and it's magic: You are instantly attracted to him and he to you. Ain't love grand?
Listen up, Liberal Lady: you aren't as liberal as you think you are. I know this because you describe yourself as a "very loyal" Democrat but your new friend as an "unrelenting" Republican. Your choice of adjectives is telling.
You have been dating this man for six weeks. It may be a bit premature to be agonizing over potential long-term relationship barriers, don't you think? At this phase in the game you are supposed to be discovering the nooks and crannies of each other's bodies and your favorite ice cream flavors, not worrying about candidates you may fight over in the primaries or when exactly conception occurs.
More importantly and assuming this relationship continues to escalate, you have no business marrying anyone, regardless of their political affiliation, if you think your marriage cannot withstand hearty disagreement on important subjects.
You may think his position and yours on the Affordable Care Act (please don't call it "Obamacare," because that's not its proper name) is "important," but that's nothing compared to figuring out what to do when little Sally is diagnosed with cancer or your house burns down and you realize you forgot to pay your insurance premiums last month. The real issue here isn't politics, it's values. If you think slapping a label like "unrelenting Republican" on someone is an accurate portrayal of their value system, you are engaging in the same type of snap judgment that I would wager you usually associate with the folks at the other end of the political spectrum.
There are plenty of places on that political spectrum within which those of different parties can reside. Republican Gov. Tom McCall was nothing like Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, after all. I see no reason why an intelligent and open Democrat could not enjoy a happy relationship with a Republican, unless that Republican had a diametrically opposed value system.
Let's take your issue of health care reform: if you told me the reason Ronnie Repub was against it is because of the cost, privacy and choice implications, I'd say you could have a healthy, spirited and productive debate about the subject. Even if you couldn't change his mind, you would know his reasoning had some logical basis to it. If instead he told you he was against health care reform because he finds poor people to be an unruly, undeserving and bad-smelling group of people who should be eradicated from society via the denial of health care, that's quite a different story, isn't it?
Any relationship can survive political differences if people have values and morals in common. Stop reacting to his position on issues or candidates and dig deeper to understand his motivations. It is within those more thoughtful conversations you will discover whether or not this man is right for you.
-Robin (Independent, thank you very much!)
Former Portland lawyer and current Portland big mouth Robin DesCamp is the Velvet Sledgehammer of Truth, smashing through socially acceptable niceties to tell you how to live your life, and why. She blogs at www.askdescamp.com. Write to her at i[email protected].
- Dear Robin: Should I tell my old boss what I think of him?
- Dear Robin: Is Mom Fleecing Dad?
- Dear Robin: How do I deal with my sexting son?