Our longest-lasting neighbors, now approaching their 80’s, are as nice a pair as I could imagine. When we moved into the cul de sac 40 years ago, we were the neighborhood’s young blood. Their two children were pre-teens; our son was 15 years from existing at all. Through the years, Red and Beth have helped us in every way imaginable. Red’s old pick-up truck hauled the set of my theater company’s first production. Beth has provided barbecued chicken, home harvested honey and pickles. We’ve dined together and partied in each others’ homes. Now their Husky-German Shepard mix ( a designer breed with the ridiculous name “Gerberian Shepsky”), Peaches, is Spuds’ best playmate.
I was sitting with Red in our neighbor’s back yard watching the two dogs run and frolic, when for no discernible reason, he launched into a diatribe about about his cousin’s wife. “She’s ‘an intelligent, educated woman with 6 grandkids, and yet she just thinks Donald Trump is wonderful. She actually voted for him! This is a woman, and she supports a man who has been charged with all these sexual assaults and even rape, and who cheated on all his wives and paid off mistresses and porn stars. Jack, I just can’t understand it.”
And I just sat there, smiling sympathetically, shaking my head like Angela Lansbury did on “Murder She Wrote” after about the sixth season when she started phoning it in. I didn’t point out that the President hasn’t been “charged” with anything, or that there are plenty of valid reasons a woman might reasonable decide to support his Presidency despite his obvious sexism and misogyny, or that it is at least as absurd for any women to support a political party that nominates a serial, photographically-proven sexual harasser (who has also been accused of rape) after making #MeToo its battle cry, or the party that continued to lionize Bill Clinton and that counts among its icons Jack Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, all of whom engaged in some of the conduct Red was deploring while in the White House, not just in their wile, pre-presidential days.
Then Red went off on the President’s challenges to the election. It was clear, as it has been before in periodic conversations with both Beth and Red, that they are victims of daily misinformation (the Washington Post is on their walk every day) and have been credulous victims of all the Big Lies.
I didn’t say a thing except appear to agree. That, of course, was dishonest.
But I couldn’t see the point in trying to undo years of propaganda while our dogs were playing, only to have Red tell someone else about his supposedly educated and intelligent lawyer neighbor who “loves Donald Trump,” thus making me the loser on the Cognitive Dissonance Scale.
After 40 years, it just didn’t seem worth it. But I’m the zealous advocate for our duty to confront.
Now I’m disgusted with myself, but I’ll be bringing Spuds over to their house to play, and to have a nice, neighborly chat with my well-meaning, ignorant friends.