When I was a child, according to a story that my mother has told me a few times, I apparently went into the voting booth with one of my grandmothers and pulled the lever to vote for Ronald Reagan. Not only this, but I repeated this four years later — and I wasn’t even ten years old yet! It was not until 1996 that I was able to legitimately vote for myself and my vote went for Ralph Nader, as I thought that it would be good to get the Green party officially recognized and taken more seriously in the following election — that did not work out so well.

Well it has been in the last two elections that I have voted for the Democratic candidate, our President Barack Obama and for this I have received a lot of flak from people in my synagogue who don’t understand why I voted for someone who they believe is terrible for the state of Israel. They give me a hard time for being in favor of Obamacare and raising taxes on the top two percent earners in the country.

For the sake of understanding this story well it is important that you know that after prayer in the morning, coffee and pastries are served in the kitchen area of the synagogue. People volunteer to bring in both ground coffee to brew and pastries to be served. There was one week in particular when I noticed that a couple of people were regularly complaining about a lack of pastries and asking where the pastries were to be found.

I asked the gentleman who makes the coffee every morning what I thought was a fairly straight forward question. “Why is it,” I asked, “that these people cannot stop complaining about where the pastries are to be found and that there are no pastries and never consider perhaps taking a turn bringing in the pastries?”

“That is a very Republican observation you just made” he said, smiling. I wasn’t sure what to say.

“Look,” I said, “It’s one thing if people don’t have the means to bring in the pastries. It’s another thing with the people that come to this synagogue — as far as I can tell, people are fairly well to do and yet they don’t have anything better to do than to complain about not getting their free pastries instead of helping to make a change in the situation.”

“There you are again,” he pointed out, “you see — the people who contribute the least are the ones who complain the most.”

I suppose it should not have surprised me that I could possibly have thoughts that would be considered Republican. I believe that every able person should work for a living if they can, and I have some extremely right wing thoughts when it comes to defending the state of Israel. On the other hand, I also believe that everyone who wishes to marry should be able to do so and that affordable health care is a right and not a privilege. I suppose that just makes me a well rounded person!


  1. Hmm. I admit I’m not getting the guy’s argument that you’re a Republican just because you expect people to properly behave as part of the whole. I would’ve pounded the guy with his own illogic instead of giving into him!

    1. I didn’t fully follow it either. I think he was playing off of the whole “people who contribute nothing but want to be supported by everyone” that some Republicans think that the Democratic Party just adore.

      1. But what he’s arguing isn’t true — and it’s nasty and cruel and condescending. Millionaires who want to pay no taxes still benefit from the same public services as the rest of us. We are all dependent on each other and it is hateful speech like that guy you met that creates unnecessary gridlock in D.C.

        1. Quite! And when they pay nearly no taxes through their cayman island loopholes, there is no problem but when someone who makes 17K a year ends up paying no federal taxes because they are barely scraping by, suddenly they are the 47% that Romney said he didn’t care about!

          1. Right! So don’t you have a duty to stand up to these false-sayers and confront them as they are confronting you without allowing them to redefine you and change you with their purposeful lies and ugly malfeasance?

          2. One of my biggest problems is that I almost always tend to quiet down during political confrontations because I am afraid of not having all of the facts straight in my head before starting to talk back. Either that or I should have had a second cup of coffee before leaving to give me the courage to tell them what I think!

            I generally tend to get paralyzed in tense confrontational situations. I lose the ability to think of the right thing to say and only later do the words come rushing to me, like the “jerk store” episode of Seinfeld.

          3. Well, that’s a very honest and sweet and human assessment of yourself, Gordon. You are certainly admirably self-aware and that’s a tremendous benefit in a fuzzy world.

            When people like that — bullies — bully me, I don’t accept their slurs for a second. I don’t yell or confront them with my own rebuttal. I just ask questions. “What do you mean?” “How is that so?” “Can you explain that a little further?” That sort of non-confrontational attack usually helps them spiral down into their own dissolving illogic and the point is made even if they are not aware of what just happened. If the person is a hardcore true-believer, they won’t begin to answer my questions because they are immediately offended that they are being “challenged” and “bullied back” by simple reality. They tend to leave the discussion.

  2. So, the old answer a question with a question strategy with a twist…. I like that.

    Since Mr. Boles is a leader and teacher; by definition of his profession, he will get challenged in his way(s) of thinking by default. He has refined a method that leaves him in the authority position without demeaning his ‘subjects’. It’s a good system.
    But as to the likes of Gordon and myself, who don’t need to establish the authoritative role in most public situations, ’tis better to remain verbally neutral, and disagree silently.
    So I’m with Gordon on this one. His original post – AND – his lack of confrontational speech. It generally accomplishes no mind change and usually does nothing but nurture resentment in the end.

    I’ve always referred to the pastry whiners and their ilk as armchair quarterbacks. They holler out instructions from the sidelines, yet do nothing at all to change the situation themselves. And most times, if they were actually asked to do something they wouldn’t have the slightest idea where to start, or how to finish.

    So does that make me ‘part Republican’ too? Smile

    1. Lillian,

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one dealing with pastry whiners. It’s so true that when you realize that someone is going to keep their mindset no matter what you say, it is sometimes better to just not say anything at all and have them not dislike you at the end of the day.

    2. Lillian —

      The problem with your argument is that Gordon was, and indelibly — if falsely — changed by the encounter. He wasn’t passive as you suggest. He certainly wasn’t neutral, and we know that fact by what he chose to title his article: “The Day I Learned I am Part Republican.” Gordon bought the bully argument — and not only did he submit, he cemented the bully’s method in print online forever!

      1. Maybe I should have put “learned” in quotation marks or “part republican” ? I wasn’t entirely serious with the title. Like if someone says “What are you, an idiot?” and you say “yeah of course I’m an idiot, buddy!

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