Thingish Things

Dinner and a Movement

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Dec• 14•11

Had a great dinner last night with a couple of good friends. Both are from the political left (one used to weigh in daily on this blog under “your friend” before writing me off as hopeless; the other, a young Ph.D. in philosophy and an adjunct professor at a leading university, I had not seen in more than six years.)

After rhetorical appetizers — what have you been up to?  Where are you working? — we dived into the main course of politics, the upcoming elections, etc.

In discussing President Obama, I could sense discomfort emanating from the professor, who is one of the nicest people I have met, and someone who has never worn politics on her sleeve in my company. Sensing the division, I pressed.

“Are you not thrilled with President Obama,?” I asked, hoping to gain an ally against “your friend,” a childhood buddy, and a far better political debater than I.

She was not thrilled, but I was floored to learn why. She is an avowed political anarchist, way to the left of President Obama, who had spent July-November as a member of the central committee of Occupy Wall Street. I was thinking she might have turned Republican

My immediate thought was, “No sh*t! — I almost fell off my seat — followed closely by “I really hope she wasn’t reading my OWS-bashing blogs.” As much as I enjoy the combat of politics, I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. She was too polite to tell me if she had. I then went on to pepper her with a hundred questions about what it was like on the ground, how the group evolved, and what happens next. (No prying for trade secrets, just genuine interest questions.)

One thing about the political left I’ve always found alluring is the grandiosity of its thinking, however much I reject it philosophically. The Left seeks to remake society in an unlimited number of ways, while conservatives believe in the tried and true — stick with the time-tested wisdom of generations past until change is absolutely necessary. Radical change is dangerous.

I believe the latter to be true — I know it to be true — but it is vitalizing nonetheless, every once in a while, to listen to idealistic people of good will think outside the box. Way outside it.

Dinner last night changed our opinions and outlooks on life not one iota, but it did remind me how very easy it is to like the heck out of people with whom you totally disagree.

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  1. Daniel Suib says:

    Very good Bill. I think you’ve…grown up…LOL. Seriously…as much as we disagree on the core issues and how they should be handled, we have always had the understanding and mutual respect for each other, and each other’s views and opinions, with the ability to walk away pissed or confused…but always admiring the other as a fantastic friend.

  2. Rachel says:

    There’s still so much more to talk about! In the meantime, I’ll go watch Reds…

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