Don’t Ask Me, I’ll Screw with You…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

Religion and Politics, two topics that are openly whispered about until it is time to run for some elected office.  All of a sudden, where you go to church is as important as the viewpoint you have on tax reform.  Let’s leave some of the more interesting crossovers of religion and politics out of this, most notably abortion.  I’m a guy, I have a viewpoint but in reality I don’t have a say in that arena.  So let’s run from that topic…

When John Kennedy ran for office they all thought the Pope would be running the country from afar.  The notion of our forefather’s that the separation of church and state was going to be blurred in some unrecoverable way.  Only that wasn’t the case.  I’m sure in the quiet of his office, when not being visited by Marilyn Monroe, Kennedy was more concerned with Cuba and Moon Shot dreams and didn’t pick up the phone because the Pope wanted to discuss trade policy. So later when Mitt Romney ran and they said the same things about Mormons, those same “rumors” fell aside quickly in the debates.  We had progressed to the point where religion was a biographical note, not the reason someone was qualified.

My aunt used to send me tshirts from Greenpeace when I was a teenager.  They had some wonderful depictions of whales or some other creature and I would call her up and poke fun at why she was hugging the trees!  Now I watch the news and see how crab prices are affected by the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.  Politics making it easy to have done one thing, until it reaches the point where those actions have a lasting effect on the consumer product and livelihood of thousands.  Makes me long for the days when you could drive along some oceanfront road in Maine and by a 2 lb lobster for pocket change off the back of some guy’s pickup truck.

Would I walk up to some random stranger on the D.C. Metro and start asking their viewpoint in the latest “reforms” in either politic or religion?  Not a chance, people are crazy.  Never know when some radical fundamentalist is going to start screaming about his gun rights or how Jesus saved his momma from some disease because she “testified” at the latest gathering.  Okay a little extreme, but you never know what you are going to encounter.  Someone asking me would get a long diatribe about how religion excludes more than it includes these days.  But that’s my opinion, based on my experiences and possibly not based on yours.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses like to wander around my neighborhood on Christmas.  I guess they know most people are home and they can spread the word.  I don’t have anything against them, but don’t knock on my door please.  The last pair were invited in so that they could attend the Satan worshiping we were having.  They would need to remove their shoes and put on cloven hooves if they wished to continue their conversation.  We had a small goat to sacrifice.  They politely declined, but I think I made a list.  No new visitors the past two years.

And just so you know that I don’t limit my mind screwing to religion, during the last election cycle someone representing an official running for reelection came knocking as well.  I listened to about two minutes of their talk and then asked a simple question, “Do you think we could get a change to the marriage laws in this state?”  “Well sir, what did you have in mind?”  I’m sure they thought this would be about marriage equality, but boy were they mistaken.  “I’m really attracted to this goat down the road.  I pass her every day and just want to tell her how much I love her.”  This followed by a series of facial ticks and uncomfortable silence.  Any idea how hard it is to keep a straight face while the person in front of you wonders what kind of illness you suffer from?  It’s hard work!!

I love a good debate about anything.  Learning from someone who is willing to share their viewpoint makes for a fun experience.  Talking about how most people are financially conservative, yet socially progressive makes for an interesting contradiction about modern society.  I want everyone to have health care, food, a safe place to raise their families.  No one wants war, not unless their moral compass is a little off.  You can’t blame religion for that, nor politics, that comes from a different place.

This is the lesson I learned at the holiday table of my grandparent’s as a child.  The phone would ring, and someone who wasn’t able to get home for whatever event was currently being celebrated was invited over to share a meal.  No one was ever turned away, no one was ever asked to do anything more than share food and some fun.  People from around the globe sat at that table, including the pen pal from Singapore I had as a 7 year old.  To me it was just the way things were done.

People, religion, politics; they are all going to bring vast shifts in the emotional spectrum.  The one unified theory not presented by Einstein would be that the universe is a large enough place for everyone to have an opinion.  Mine isn’t any more valid than yours, only in that is what I believe, today.

So come sit around my table, tell me about your thoughts, your hopes and dreams.  They are more important than politics or religion.  Let me offer you a “hot beverage” and learn about you.  Maybe I can learn about myself in the process.  And if you’re lucky enough, some telemarketer will call from “Windows Support” and you’ll get to watch me go into action.  I do love screwing with them.

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