Unionited we stand
Tuesday November 01st 2011, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Friends,Politics

I have an elderly friend who was interested in trying out this birdfeeding thing. I told her the place I go to delivers for a nominal fee if she wants, but that if she’d like to pick out her feeder in person to get started, I’d be glad to take her on my next trip down to Los Gatos.


And so that’s what we did yesterday afternoon.

Setting out, though, we hadn’t seen each other in awhile, so I reminded her that my hearing in a car wasn’t great.

That, as it turned out, was a good thing.

She was sure we were on the same page politically, and had a lot of opinions; while I struggled to keep my eyes on the road but still keep up with what she was saying, she was enjoying her audience. We are quite fond of each other.

She didn’t like how her favored presidential candidate was being treated by the press. I sympathized.

Wasn’t it terrible how Obama was trying to force everybody into one big union?

“Huh!” I said with a smile, delighted I’d heard her that time without having to make her repeat. “That one would grab big headlines. I read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even our little Merc every day, but somehow I missed that one.”

She went on at length about the healthcare bill. I, blissfully deaf and cheerfully missing the point, got a word in: wasn’t it wonderful that my daughters were going to be able to get health insurance now? When one got turned down for no good reason whatsoever, and the other–well. She’s covered under one of the university micro-plans that the bill is phasing out, meaning that, till then, her maximum allowable coverage for medications is $2,000 a year.  Her doctor wanted to put her on a med that costs more than her annual income; she needs that med to treat her ITP, and appealed to the manufacturer because they do sometimes provide a cut rate for those in need, but they turned her down on the grounds that she has insurance.

Which it isn’t, really. But after next year, I think is the time frame, she’ll be able to get covered. Isn’t that wonderful?!

Finally, the woman tapped my arm, smiling, and said, “I think we’re on different sides; let’s talk about something else.”

We had a perfectly lovely time of it all. She got to meet new people with a deep interest in things she’s been wanting to learn about, she got her feeder, she got some seed, she added in a suet cake and wire cage after I got more to refill mine and we talked about how to show the birds the place was worth checking out: hang a stick. Let them perch near it first to get a good look.

And I think she actually heard some of what I had to say: because I was able to avoid the distractions of negative emotions and to concentrate on just enjoying the time I had with her, without letting all that Ailes America rile me up.  Who knew that deafness could contribute to maintaining a sense of closeness.

I avoided the temptation (but I won’t here) to stir things up by quoting Thomas Friedman from when he put context around the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators for those who don’t get it:

“Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.” He quotes the Wall Street Journal as saying, “As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits.”

To women of her age, that could well have been part of her own retirement going poof. It is criminal.

We, yes, we, are the 99%. Heck–I guess we’ve all been put in one really big union, haven’t we?

12 Comments so far
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I’m with you. Keep up the good work.

Comment by Beth in Maryland 11.02.11 @ 6:24 am

You responded in a wonderful way to a disagreeing opinion, even if it was inadvertent. I’m going to use that one with my friends.

Comment by Pegi 11.02.11 @ 6:47 am

Well-done, as always. That’s why even though our political views are different, you’re one of the few I’ll have discussions with…

Comment by Channon 11.02.11 @ 6:52 am

I noted an article this morning about knitting hats and mittens for OWS. I am undecided.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 11.02.11 @ 7:22 am

I have a tea party friend who goes on and on, but I just ignore her. She knows what she’s doing, as she has seen my bumper stickers and yard signs. I asked her once if she was willing to ride in a car with an Obama bumper sticker on it. And she ignored me. Dicey at times, but we’re still friends

Comment by Abby 11.02.11 @ 8:01 am

I actually like this idea. I may have to use it. Although our current method of defusing polical disagreement is pretty effective too- if discussions become too heated we invoke the house rule that all political discussions must be conducted in limerick.

Comment by RobinH 11.02.11 @ 8:38 am

Most important: cute pic of Parker
Next: Your ability to defuse touchy situation.
Other: I love the idea that political discussions must be conducted in limerick.

I understand what crappy things the financial institutions have done. What is the solution?

Comment by Don Meyer 11.02.11 @ 9:10 am

Thanks for sharing your vignette.I’m interested in hearing about ways people handle political differences in relationships with friends and relatives. It is challenging to “avoid the distractions of negative emotions.”I applaud the way your handled your situation with your friend.

Comment by Elaine Boston 11.02.11 @ 9:40 am

love it! you are, as ever, so much more tactful than I am — the voting public here in CO decided once again that paying for schools is the responsibility of someone other than themselves — it’s pretty discouraging (we voted for that 0.01% sales tax increase even though we do not now, nor have we ever, had a child in these schools!) then these same folks will complain when there are no activities, no school buses, huge class sizes, etc., etc. — I just don’t get why they don’t get it

Comment by Bev 11.02.11 @ 2:24 pm

And it was the 1% that put us in that great big union, wasn’t it? How ironic…

Comment by Jocelyn 11.02.11 @ 5:22 pm

What I love is the focus on the commonality. Because to get anything done in this country, that is what we need to do – even if we can’t agree on a lot, let’s find what we do agree on and get that done. And in the process we build relationships that let us find more subtle commonalities and maybe even move some of those differences closer together. And we get a few birdfeeders hung.

Comment by twinsetellen 11.02.11 @ 6:23 pm

“Turning a deaf ear” goes literal, hey? Hope you found a good bird feeder, anyway!

Comment by Erica 11.02.11 @ 6:50 pm

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