Take A Liberal - Or Conservative - To Lunch
Well, whaddya know.
Looks like dining out is about to get a lot more complicated. Less enjoyable, too.
After the owner of a Lexington, Va. restaurant tossed the president’s press secretary out last weekend and a nutty California congresswoman called on people everywhere to harass members of the Trump administration, it appears America may be on the verge of a new kind of segregation.
What's next? Will businesses hang signs on their doors, ordering those who didn’t vote as they did in the last election to take their business elsewhere?
What am I saying? That's already happening.
There was a blizzard of news stories shortly after the 2016 elections about friendships, marriages and families being torn apart because of deep political differences.
Instead of healing, the wounds are festering. To the point where many Americans don’t want to be around people who don’t agree with them.
I’ll go out on a limb to say that’s not good for America.
Ken Stern, former CEO of National Public Radio, spent the year after Donald Trump’s election visiting parts of the country that voted overwhelmingly for the Republican. After a career in a left-leaning media cocoon, Stern discovered parts of America that he’d never seen before. He was surprised to find that good people lived there whose life experiences were profoundly different from his. Shockingly, he also discovered that that he liked these folks.
"Spurred by a fear that red and blue America were drifting irrevocably apart, I decided to venture out from my overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhood and engage Republicans where they live, work and pray. For an entire year, I embedded myself with the other side, standing in pit row at a NASCAR race, hanging out at Tea Party meetings and sitting in on Steve Bannon’s radio show," he wrote in a piece published in The New York Post.
“You can’t cover America from the Acela corridor,” he added. “And the media need to get out and be part of the conversations that take place in churches and community centers and town halls.
"I did that, and loved it, though I regret waiting until well after I left NPR to do so.”
It works both ways, of course.
Remember the funny line in “The Blindside” when Tim McGraw, who played Sean Tuohy, said something like “Who would've thought we'd have a black son before we'd meet a Democrat?”
As America becomes increasingly Balkanized many of us find ourselves living in comfy echo chambers.
Maybe this would be a good time for all of us to do something small: Share a sandwich with someone who voted differently in the last election. Not with the intent of changing a mind, either.
I’ll be doing that on Wednesday night, when it’s my turn to host book club. If you could peek through my windows that night - and please don't - you’d see three liberals and two conservatives, laughing and drinking wine.
We’re great friends. We’ve been together for 28 years. We care about each other, know each other’s secrets and share a love of books.
How have we lasted so long despite sharp political differences? It's easy. We don’t discuss politics.