I was at a party the other night, and I got into it with this guy who is 100% behind Chris Collins, the County Executive. He went off about the holding center, the libraries, arts organizations, neighborhood health clinics, and blah, blah, blah. He said it’s about time we finally have somebody who’s running government like a business, the whole bit. I’d been biting my tongue through all this, but he went to freshen his drink, came back, and started pressing me on how I felt about the County Exec. I said I didn’t feel like talking politics with him. “Oh, you’re one of those tax and spend guys. How’s Obamacare working out for you?” He asked.
So I answered. It all came out. I said I’m not impressed with a guy who’s biggest boast is that he’s keeping county taxes the same, but cutting every public service that I thought we were paying taxes for in the first place. The holding center is a disgrace, and fighting to keep it that way is not heroic. Libraries fulfill an essential role, especially for struggling families during a period of economic hardship. We gain nothing by cutting funding to arts organizations that make our gray outpost vibrant and enhance our national profile—and why the hell does the Darwin Martin House need another cent from the county when they’ve already spent over $60 million over the years? Is money no object when it comes to dishing it out to his rich buddies? Any reasonable outsider would view his closing of health clinics in the country’s third poorest city as particularly harsh and elitist, if not flatly racist...I was, as they say, on a roll.
He called me a socialist, and walked away.
But, of course, the little scene put a crimp in the festivities for a while. Should I have just kept my mouth shut?
The Gay Perspective: No.
The Host says: Of course not. This oaf started the trouble. He was begging you for a confrontation. It was your duty to oblige him.
Those of us who walk on the left of the political road—if you accept the left-right divide, as opposed to, say, the bottom-top divide that separates poor and rich—have been too well trained to believe that political argument is impolite, that everyone’s beliefs must be respected and unchallenged. It’s exactly the sort of taught meekness that instructs the working class that it’s bad form to discuss money matters publicly, a societal more indigenous to capitalist societies that helps keep the proletariat down—because of course if the working class ever compared notes about money and production, they’d burn the motherfucker down.
But get a load of me, making like a socialist. In fact, it doesn’t matter where you stand politically on these specific issues. The point is, you can’t let bullshit statements hang unchallenged, especially before an audience, lest the impressionable believe they are unchallenged because they are correct.
Furthermore, as a guy who loves to throw a party, let me tell you: Nothing adds zest to the host’s post-mortem of the event than an unexpected squabble or two. So long as nothing valuable breaks and no one goes to the hospital, your drama only made the party more memorable.
The Straight Skinny: It sounds to me like you should be going to some different parties. Ones where it’s all right to be a socialist. Ones where people recognize that spending on social services and the arts is not the hallmark of a government run amok, but rather the sign of a fluorishing and just civilization.
You did the right thing. Keep it up.
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