Better days

Starting the day off with some Tame Impala over the Airpods. So addictive, so cool, so calming. It’s hard to stop listening once you start. Puts a smile on my face every time. Kevin Parker is a gift.

The last few days have reminded me what it feels like to be healthy. It’s shockingly good. The previous months really knocked me out, and now that I seem to have recovered, it’s *wonderful*. An almost manic feeling.

I’ve reconnected with several good friends over the last 2-3 days, by phone and in person. Chuck, Art, T2, Rick – so good to catch up. Always makes me wonder why we wait so long.

Last evening I had a long conversation with one of them. Like many of my friends, he’s a fairly hard-core conservative. Voted for Trump and programmed by his media intake to hate Biden and crew. I’ve never let that get in the way of friendship. He asked me honestly how I could be so liberal, and we had a great chat about that. I told him I had 3-4 big issues that keep me on the liberal side of things:

  • Any civilized, rich country should provide healthcare for all. No one should have to suffer when we can afford to care for them.
  • Same for hunger and homelessness. It’s tragic and unnecessary at our stage of wealth and technology. I know, some people aren’t able to be regular citizens, but having them camp on our city streets isn’t the answer. Spend some real money on fixing that problem.
  • I want clean air and clean water. The EPA makes that happen, and the fact that corporations don’t like the EPA’s regulation is just tough. Shut up and have a glass of clean, lead-free water.
  • I want our tax dollars spent on useful things – roads, bridges, drug and food safety, airline safety, etc. Not BS cultural issues.

We found so much that we agree on. Term limits for all politicians and judges, a stronger and more rational border policy, small nukes as a replacement for fossil fuel energy, let the teachers be teachers and stay out of their business, “Defund the Police” is the stupidest and worst slogan ever, etc. It turns out that when you really sit down and talk through the details with reasonable people, there’s a lot to agree on.

He agreed with my big 3-4 issues, and said he wished the conservative party would just adopt those and we’d all be on the same side. Unlikely, but I’d be fine with that.

One tough area is that this friend is susceptible to believing conspiracy theories, and the right-wing media is great at creating them. The latest is that somehow the Biden administration used FTX (the now-defunct crypto exchange) to covertly funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to the Ukraine. I patiently took him through my thinking that (1) big conspiracies require hundreds of people to keep secrets, something that almost never works, (2) it’s much easier to believe that we simply are sending stockpiled weapons to them (truth) and those weapons will be replaced within next year’s 700 billion-ish Defense budget. Nothing covert about it. And we’ve done this for decades – we’ve sent weapons all over the globe in support of one faction or another, so why is this one so egregious?

I’m not sure I talked him off this particular ledge, but he listened. All in all, it was a great chat and I think he was satisfied that I’m not some crazed lefty, just a person who has some core beliefs that line up best with liberal leaders.