Jeff and I met at the polls about half past dark this morning, “poll openers’; put up the signs, hand out sample ballots and suffer through 29 degree weather. Jeff represented the Democratic candidate, me the Republican. Jeff and I discovered we are both Massachusetts natives, lived in side by side towns; we had some fun revisiting the political personalities of the Bay State. We also quickly reached a bi-partisan agreement when it came time to head to the cars to warm up we would do it together.
Jeff is a good guy; smart, rational, civil, good sense of humor. We discussed politics for two and a half hours. No angry words, no confrontation; just two decent guys demonstrating some mutual respect for the evolution of ideas and the sincerity of their positions. Jeff was interested in what my path to conservatism was; I was interested in how he saw things. We had a, wait for it………… civil conversation punctuated by good humor and self deprecation.
Jeff knew there was a beat down coming, but he was there anyway. He knew his candidate might not break 40%, he was there anyway; he regretted a lack of energy for his candidate, he was there anyway. There can be no question that win or lose Jeff was committed, above all, to the process. Jeff, in hopes you’ll visit this site, you are a patriot in the best sense of the word!
I’ll bet, given a couple of days, Jeff and I could define any number of agreements in the middle that we could both live with. I seriously doubt either of us would end up pushing the other to “cross over”, but that’s not the point. We may not ultimately come to agree on a majority of the issues but that’s not the point either. The point is that there is room for civil engagement of sincere differences.
Jeff, hope to see you again.