a brief foray into politics

At the super bowl party I attended last night, I chatted a bit with one of those couples who I don't see very often but who, every time I see them, I remember I want to hang out with more. They are nice and interesting and attractive and funny. The male half made a comment about being unemployed, and I asked what the story was, and it turns out he quit his job as a lawyer to work full-time for the Giuliani campaign, which did not really wind up being one of those career decisions that is going places.

I might or might not have just expressed this sentiment in a gchat to Leila, but dude. I had not really processed that there were actually people in this country who legitimately believed in Giuliani as a presidential candidate.

Maybe it was the shallow half (okay, 85%) of my brain, horrified by the spectacle of his--is it third?--wife, who by all accountsused her acrylic tips to claw her way to an expensed police escort, breaking up marriages (her own and others), having the audacity to wear a tiara on a non-first-wedding day that was not to an actual member of royalty (princess much?), and myriad other offenses. Could I -- or anyone? -- trust the judgment of a man who would marry that?

Or it's possible I was brainwashed into disbelief by the New York Times endorsement of John McCain, which eviscerated Giuliani with uncensored turns of phrase: "The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power ... Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking."

It's not a new problem that I assume everyone I meet has the same beliefs that I do. I am used to adjusting for the inevitable disappointment that their opinions and tastes are not as perfect and unassailable as mine. But it is weird to me that people who I like have quit their jobs to stump for someone who, to me, is so anathema to what is good and desirable in the world that I actually do not even think of his supporters as people.

Because the truth is that when I step outside my solipsistic bubble and consider the human reality of the individuals who financed his candidacy and hit the pavement in favor of him and manned phone banks, it is hard for me to imagine them as real people with parents and apartment leases and a regular need to use the bathroom. I think my mind always imagined his campaign workers were, like, reptilian aliens loosely outfitted in the skins of humans. Or were lifelike robots patented by Giuliani, Inc. Or were milk-carton kidnappees, all grown up and under the Imperius curse.

But it turns out they are my friends, and I watched the super bowl with them. And that is truly weird.


-j. said...

No no no, it's Kucinich who uses the robots.

RW said...

I'm waiting for Calvin Coolidge to rise from the dead and save us once and for all.

Marcin said...

I assume there were crucial deficiencies in their upbringing, and an inability to imagine that other people had different lives from theirs. They probably have never really known a person without a degree.

Mr. B. said...

Isn't "an inability to imagine that other people had different lives form theirs" kind of what Hels is admitting to in this post? ;)