DeMarco: Pop Quiz! For Whom Did They Vote?

Hawkeye and Trapper John would have had trouble with that riddle, too. So would Hot Lips, for that matter…

The Op-Ed Page

By Paul V. DeMarco
Guest Columnist

Guess how the two friends I’m about to describe voted in the 2020 presidential election.

The first is an older white male. One of his vehicles is a 1999 Ford F-150 pick-up whose radio is tuned to a country station. His gun safe contains a 12-gauge shotgun, a 20-gauge shotgun, and a pistol. He attends church almost every week and believes Jesus Christ is his Savior. He has the Fox News app on his phone. He favors robust border security. He thinks it unfair for transgender women to compete in collegiate and professional sports against cis-gender women.

The second is also an older white male, roughly the same age as the first. He drives a Ford Escape in which he generally listens to podcasts like NPRs “Fresh Air.” He has the Washington Post app on his phone. He believes in reasonable gun regulation, including registration of firearms with state governments. He comes from a family of immigrants – his grandfather emigrated from Sicily after World War I. He supports diversity, equity, and inclusion in all phases of society.

If you guessed the first voted for Trump and the second voted for Biden, you would be… wrong. Those two paragraphs both describe me. I drive the Escape most days but have the pick-up, a gift from my father-in-law, for hauling. Like most of America, I have nuanced views on guns, immigration, the transgender community, and the role of faith. I listen to many different types of music and get my news from multiple sites.

As to whom I voted for – it’s Biden. Trump is an inveterate liar and a danger to the country.

But the subject of this column is not Trump or Biden. It’s our tendency to pigeonhole. Let’s try another example in the form of a decades-old riddle I first heard in medical school: A father and son have a car accident and are both badly hurt. They are both taken to separate hospitals where they are immediately prepped for surgery. When the boy is wheeled into the OR, the surgeon looks down at him and says, “I can’t operate on him. This is my son.” How is this possible?

The answer is that the surgeon is the boy’s mother. Don’t worry if you missed it. I did too when I first heard it almost forty years ago. Over the past couple months, I have been retelling it to groups of young people to see if their answers are any more astute than mine was. I have queried a group of nurses, a group of medical students, and a group of teenagers, perhaps fifty young people in all. All the groups were primarily female and the vast majority were stumped. I was surprised that our collective mental image of a surgeon is still so strongly masculine, even among young women, some of whom are destined to become surgeons themselves.

Eventually, I hope, no one will be fooled by this riddle, as the idea of a female surgeon will be top of mind. Indeed, the way that women are outpacing men in many academic fields, including medicine, we may eventually reach the point where we can tell the riddle in reverse about a mother and a son.

But when it comes to politics, rather than harmful stereotypes being slowly eroded, our media environment depends on shoring them up and exaggerating them in a relentless drive for clicks. Each side reduces the other to a humiliating caricature, shown in the worst possible light. Because social media’s hyperpartisan atmosphere vastly overstates the extremism of both the right and the left, our worldview becomes more and more skewed.

This is why I write. I know better than anyone that there are more knowledgeable and more skilled columnists out there. But because so few of them speak to the middle ground, I feel obligated to plant a flag there. My big advantage is that I write for free, so I have no incentive to overstate to stoke anger.

I’ll end with the words of Martin Buber, who unsurprisingly, is rarely invoked in today’s political commentary. Buber was a Jewish philosopher who framed relationships as “I-Thou,” in which a person opens himself fully to another to achieve a connection, or “I-It,” in which a person encounters another as an object or instrument to be used and discarded. Almost without exception, when we meet people different from ourselves, we adopt an I-It posture.

Buber encourages us to instead choose the I-Thou posture, which he believed could occur instantaneously, in any circumstance, even between strangers. One easy place to practice is the grocery store. As you wait in line, imagine the cashier as a complete human being, who has a home, family, hopes and anxieties just like you. Try it with as many people as you can, especially those with whom you disagree.

This can be hard with a vicious somebody on social media. A couple of remedies are available. First, spend less time on social media. Second, wish your antagonist well and move on. There are too many thoughtful, interesting people out there to waste your time with someone who treats you like an “It” rather than a “Thou.”

A version of this column appeared in the August 8th edition of the Florence Morning News.

45 thoughts on “DeMarco: Pop Quiz! For Whom Did They Vote?

  1. Paul DeMarco

    My definition is 0-29 (young), 30-59 (middle aged), and 60 or greater (old). I turned 60 in May, so I just joined the “old” category. On that subject, today in church the minister mentioned Oral Roberts. “Who here remembers Oral Robert?” he asked. My hand shot up. Then he added, “See, some of the older members of the congregation remember him.” I immediately lowered my hand. A friend in the pew behind me laughed and said, “Too late, you’ve already given yourself up.”

  2. Ken

    Nobody operates wholly outside of history or of the political context in which they exist. We are all entangled in the times in which we live and the beliefs that shape them and therefore us. So it’s not which truck you drive or what news you consume that, at heart, identifies who you are, how you interpret the world and behave in it. But it is naïve (and a rather American notion) to suggest that simply being nice to one another will neutralize the larger movements, trends, ideologies and ontologies that drive world events. Political differences are real. They are not mere expressions of individual idiosyncrasies or personal animus. And manners or efforts to “connect” are not an antidote to what ails us, politically. The world is not some tweedy gents club where everything can be settled over a tumbler of brandy and a respectful tete-a-tete. Even a glancing reading of history demonstrates otherwise.

    1. Barry

      I agree with you.

      Some political issues are big enough- important enough to break friendships over. Some issues aren’t that important.

      I also believe that many people have come to realize they have different core values than many people on an opposing political side.

      There are people walking around that believe that gay people disappear or stay out of public life. I have different values than someone like that. That’s not someone I have any desire to have any dealing with of any kind.

      Someone went into a store in the last week in California and killed a woman because a Pride flag was hanging in her store.

      The days are over where people just overlook this type of stuff. Folks are not going to be treated like second class human beings anymore.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Of course, I disagree.

        Which is why I’m glad to have Paul’s contributions. His very sincere efforts to build bridges over the walls that divide us makes him a great fit for this blog…

        By the way, Bishop Barron had an interesting homily Sunday that touched on the walls and bridges. I don’t necessarily expect y’all to go listen to it, but if you want to, here it is…

  3. Doug Ross

    It would be helpful to know who Paul voted for in all of the Presidential elections, not just 2020.

    It would also be interesting to know WHY he chose to vote for Biden over Trump aside from Trump being “inveterate liar and a danger to the country”. Was it simply a matter of “anyone but Trump” or would he have voted for Biden over any other Republican (maybe name a few he does like to prove his balanced views).

    I’m also an older white male who doesn’t have any connection to Fox News or NPR. I don’t own a car myself but will buy a truck someday when I need a car. I have never owned a gun but don’t care how many or what type anyone else has until they use them to commit a crime – then I believe they should be punished severely including the death penalty enacted swiftly. I believe in God and think the New Testament offers great guidance on how we can live our lives but have little use for organized religion which typically ends up focusing on money or protecting the bad actors in their structures. I think people should be able to ingest anything they in whatever form they want without it being criminal unless they harm others while under the influence of those items. I think government is too big, too inefficient, too wasteful, too full of corruption (driven by the tax dollars government collects) and that the best step we could take to eliminate that would be term limits. I know a public health option will not be nirvana but it would be better than our current insurance systems which is all Obamacare turned out to be. My primary driving issue is our military and its presence around the world which has done more harm than good in my lifetime. It boggles my mind that people can be gungho on military actions yet think killing a killer like Dylan Roof makes our country look bad.

    There have been few politicians that I have supported in my adulthood starting with Steve Forbes then Ron Paul and then recently Tulsi Gabbard. There is a common thread across all of them — they are smart and honest.

    Jimmy Carter is the last honest president we had. Maybe Obama fit that category but he’s gone the same route of other politicians to turn his 8 years in office into a multi-multi-million dollar income stream. I honestly had hope for Obama when he took office but he ended up being just another partisan Democrat who put party before country. I’ve almost exclusively voted third party since Reagan (voted for Carter).. but I think I voted for Romney vs Obama because I didn’t think Obama lived up to the hype.

    And now we’re stuck with Trump and Biden again. I hope we end up with neither next year. Trump was and is a consummate con man and Biden is a low-rate politician conman as well with the added “benefit” of deteriorating mentally on a daily basis. We all deserve better.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m gonna try to be positive here, and concentrates on what unites Doug and me:

      I love Jimmy Carter. I think he’s a wonderful man.

      But I don’t think he was “the last honest president”…

      1. bud

        This cries out for something besides a “ones and zeros” treatment. I’ll go with a 1 to 10 honesty scale with 10 being the most honest president. Since WW2:

        Truman – 8 (not completely honest about Korea)
        Eisenhower – 8 ( loses a couple of points for selecting Nixon as VP)
        Kennedy – 7 (started the Vietnam fiasco. Infidelity issues)
        Johnson – 4 (that’s generous given his many lies about Vietnam. Domestically he was a straight shooter)
        Nixon – 2 (Only president who could talk out of both sides of his mouth and lie out of both sides)
        Ford – 6 (not sure what his motivation for Nixon pardon was but I don’t believe he was 100% honest with the American people)
        Carter – 10 (the gold standard for honesty)
        Reagan – 3 (lied about taxes, hostages, Lebanon, Iran-Contra)
        Bush, Sr. – 4 ( also lied about hostages and taxes. Not as bad as Reagan though)
        Clinton – 5 (I did not have sex with that woman. Really Bill)
        Bush, Jr – 2 (Lied us in to war. Just can’t be forgiven – EVER!)
        Obama – 9 (If you like your doctors you can keep them. Slightly tarnishes an otherwise stellar presidency)
        Trump -1 (The all time gold standard for dishonesty. Big things. Trivial things. Nothing is off limits for this mendacity machine. Biggest liar I’ve ever seen. And not just among POTUSes. Even worse than George Santos)
        Biden – 6 (Biden is more of a gaffe machine than a truly dishonest man. Still, he gets much wrong)

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Nice list.

          But let me ask you: Do you really think he didn’t mean it when he said “If you like your doctors you can keep them.”

          I see no reason to believe he wasn’t serious. But things don’t always work out the way you plan. That doesn’t mean you let the whole thing go down the tube if it doesn’t work out the way you predicted….

          1. Barry

            I don’t think Obama lied about that.

            His plan didn’t involve forcing doctors to quit their patients.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Well, I’m too backed up to go look it up right now, but I think the problem was that not all docs ended up in the network… sort of the way it works with private insurance. Or something like that.

              Someone with a better memory help us out here…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Interesting you should say that. I have a clear memory of standing there reading about what led to that resignation as it came across a machine in The Commercial Appeal’s wire room — which was walled off by glass to keep in the noise of about a dozen perpetually clacking teletypes.

            As a copy boy, I used to do that a lot before ripping it to deliver the news to the editors. I figured those guys could wait a bit.

            Anyway, my memory flashes on that moment whenever a news story mentions an “unindicted co-conspirator.” That’s the day I learned that term…

      2. Doug Ross

        Some people set a lower bar for honesty when it comes to politicians. I don’t.

        Reagan? Honest? Come on. If you believe he had no idea about Iran Contra, you’re kidding yourself.

        Bush Sr.? Maybe the closest to Carter.. His “read my lips, no new taxes” was either an out and
        out lie or a calculated political statement that he knew wasn’t true when he said it. I think you, Brad, believe that anything said on the campaign trail should not be treated as actual truthful statements. I do.

        Clinton? ha ha ha ha… and he’s not even the biggest liar in his own home..

        GW Bush? less of a liar and more of a puppet… more ignorant and intellectually lazy than downright dishonest

        Obama? A political liar… crafty in his words… “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”
        never admitted mistakes… deflect, divert when backed into a corner

        Trump? No further details required about the short fingered vulgarian

        Biden? His lies (especially related to Hunter) accumulate on a daily basis. Even Jake Tapper had to admit Biden lied during the debates with Trump about Hunter. Admitted plagiarist. Makes up stories on the campaign trail. Current strategy is to keep him from talking so he can’t lie.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “I think you, Brad, believe that anything said on the campaign trail should not be treated as actual truthful statements.”

          Not exactly. But that’s the way you perceive it, and you’re close to why we differ on him.

          I had liked George HW for a long time. I had liked him a lot back in the 70s, and was disappointed to see him play second banana to Reagan.

          I was very disappointed in him, over what you cite. But not that he broke the promise. I was disappointed that he made the stupid promise to begin with.

          I am opposed to campaign promises, especially promises that could turn out to be highly irresponsible, depending on what happens once you’re elected.

          Breaking it was a lesser sin than not breaking it, when keeping his promise meant failing to raise taxes when the situation called for it. I’d like everyone to keep their promises — and make as few promises as possible. But I feel even more strongly about following the intelligent policy, once in office…

        2. Doug Ross

          How exactly do you grade a person in a scale of being a liar? What’s your own rating? You’re either a 10 or a zero.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yes! That’s what I’m always saying about weather forecasts: There’s no such thing as a “60 percent chance of rain.” There might be reasons to expect rain, but it can’t be quantified. It either rains or it doesn’t.

            But in this case, I fully understand what Bud is saying. He’s rating people’s tendency to be truthful over the course of a term in office. And while I know you’ll disagree, veracity varies greatly. It’s not like rain…

            1. Doug Ross

              Please share the times you have lied in public statements so we can grade you 1-10. I told my kids there was a Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy. Does that put me at a 9.8?

              Close to lying is hiding behind anonymous posts because you are afraid to let people know what you really think.

            2. bud

              According to Doug these two lies are EXACTLY the same:

              Your elderly aunt just prepared a big pot of chicken and dumplings. She was recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Although her chicken and dumplings are good enough you actually find Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplings the best. When she asks you how they are you respond, “Aunt Bessie, your chicken and dumplings are the best I’ve ever eaten”.

              The POTUS just lost his re-election bid. Every audit, recount, expert analysis confirmed he lost. Every court decision stipulated there was no fraud.. Nor was there any bad faith among the various election officials. Yet after 2 months of intense scrutiny by hundreds of election experts, officials and judges from both major parties the incumbent president urges his supporters to overturn the “fraudulent” election by whatever means necessary in order to uphold the integrity of our democracy.

              Sorry Doug, I stand by my 1-10 scale. And by the way Doug I won’t answer your bad faith questions. You’ve proven repeatedly over the years those rhetorical queries are just meant to insult.

  4. Paul DeMarco

    Ken, I’m not sure why you picture me as an English gentleman. I’m a short, down-to-earth Italian guy. I don’t drink brandy and don’t own anything tweed. I agree with you that political differences are real but they must be settled non-violently, and the only way to do that in a civil society is by discussing and voting. The more we engage with one another, being curious as to why someone disagrees with us, the harder it is to hate. We will still probably disagree, but we won’t be moved to ransack the seat of government the next time we lose an election because we will understand that our opponents are human beings just like us, not warped, maniacal devils. We should get a beer, which I’m much more ready to drink than brandy.
    Doug, I have voted for the Democrat in every presidential election since I was old enough to vote (1984). The exception was 2004 when I voted for W. I just couldn’t stand Kerry-he is so off-putting. I could vote for a conservative Democrat like Joe Lieberman or a liberal Republican like John Kasich, but they never make it to the general. I did vote for Lieberman when he ran in 2004 in the SC primary. I checked the vote total to remind myself of how badly he lost. He got 2% of the vote-I was one of just 7,147 South Carolinians who voted for him. This cycle, I’ve been impressed with Will Hurd on the Republican side and would consider voting for him over Biden in the general.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m not surprised that you were one of the 7,146 who voted for Joe Lieberman.

      I’m another one. I’m also the one who went into an editorial board meeting on the previous Friday when we HAD TO make a decision, because the endorsement was running Sunday, and Friday was the day we had to finish the Sunday page.

      We had waited that late because we couldn’t get Kerry to come in for an interview until the last minute. And meeting him settled the deal — no way we were endorsing THAT guy, as far as I was concerned.

      Howard Dean came in AGAIN that same Friday morning. We told him we didn’t need a second interview, but he just wanted to come. Though we were busy, it was fine. I always enjoyed talking with him. But we weren’t about to endorse him, either.

      The endorsement meeting took three hours. I don’t think any of my colleagues were thrilled about any of the options, but some came in to present a case for Kerry, and some for John Edwards. I listened to them, and then I started talking. And I talked, and I talked, and I talked, and eventually lost my voice from the talking — couldn’t say anything normally all weekend.

      But I got the job done. We endorsed Joe.

      And the result was as you described, which was no surprise, but I did not care. Endorsements are about supporting the best candidate, not the one who’s going to win.

      I suppose that was my most heavy-handed performance in my 12 years as EPE. And I would do it again. There was no way I was going to be a part of endorsing any of those guys. Especially you-know-who. Although I had kind of liked Dick Gephardt — but if I remember correctly, he had dropped out by then.

      And I liked Joe.

      Not too thrilled about what he’s up to these days, though…

    2. Doug Ross

      Ok, thank you for that. now let’s hear who you voted for senator and governor in SC… Ever vote for Strom or Lindsey or DeMint or Haley or Sanford?

      Owning a gun, a truck, and a bibke doesn’t make you a conservative.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’ll play the role of Paul’s solicitor here, sitting next to him in the interview room…

        Dr. DeMarco, you don’t have to answer that… Unless you really want to.

        I lean toward sharing things like that, but my own transparency is sort of freakish. I know most people are not that comfortable with revealing all that they do in the privacy of the booth…

    3. Ken

      “I’m not sure why you picture me as an English gentleman. I’m a short, down-to-earth Italian guy. I don’t drink brandy and don’t own anything tweed.”

      Unfortunate literalism.

      ” The more we engage with one another, being curious as to why someone disagrees with us, the harder it is to hate.”

      Why go directly to violence and hate? As if there’s nothing between reaching out and hating? And some divides not only can’t be bridged, but actually shouldn’t be. My own effort to “connect” with a neighbor — over the course of YEARS — ended in a shambles when they wanted me to repect their view — expressed during and about the pandemic — that “It’s not OUR responsibility to protect OTHERS from risk!” That was a bridge too far for me and I said so, telling them I found that view asocial and irresposible. Consequently, I’ve since been shunned by them for my supposed “intollerance.” So, I can only repeat: some differences cannot and should not be brushed aside. Especially here in the South, which is infamous for avoiding and papering over problems by pretending we’re all the same under the skin….


        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          You know, I sometimes wonder what I would do without Ken to constantly tell me what I REALLY mean, as opposed to what I said.

          I suppose I’d just wander around happily in the darkness of contemptible ignorance of my own mind…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Well, I’m sure he was delighted…

            Seriously, I don’t think he’ll mind. I’m just not going to have it here….

            Not that you’ll care, I suppose, but my policies on this sort of thing developed over time. When I started blogging, I didn’t care about that stuff. I let people yell at each other. And I certainly didn’t care what they said to or about ME. I don’t know how to tell you the degree to which one becomes inured to the things people hurl at you — in person, on the phone, by letters, by email — when you’re an editorial page editor.

            So I just enjoyed the fact that there was all this bustle and energy on my new blog.

            Then I started noticing how some of the best, most thoughtful commenters were dropping out, not wanting to be a part of that. I missed them.

            So I banned the ad hominem stuff between commenters. It was quite awhile after that that I realized I had to do the same with comments aimed at ME — because that, too, contributed to an environment that thoughtful people didn’t want to visit or be a part of.

            Anyway, that’s the way this blog rolls now…

            1. Barry

              “Then I started noticing how some of the best, most thoughtful commenters were dropping out, not wanting to be a part of that. I missed them.”

              you realize that our esteemed policymakers and everything that supports them (campaigns, funding, fundraisers, legal advisors, volunteers, etc) engage in some of the most vicious name-calling, attacks and personal insults imaginable on a regular basis, right?

              I often wonder where these folks that run themselves off because people gripe at each other so fiercely on a message board live to keep themselves insulated above the fray.

              It certainly isn’t in the real world of 2023.

              It’s las incongruous as someone saying they don’t like cable news or social media because of all the drama and demeaning words but they wholeheartedly support Donald Trump.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                “you realize that our esteemed policymakers and everything that supports them (campaigns, funding, fundraisers, legal advisors, volunteers, etc) engage in some of the most vicious name-calling, attacks and personal insults imaginable on a regular basis, right?”

                Yeah. That’s probably the biggest reason I publish this blog. To provide a place where we can get away from that cesspool…

  5. Doug Ross

    Joe Biden in Hawaii today after reading a monotone speech off sheets of paper where he fumbled the names of most of the people he was supposed to recognize then went to a staged event with first responders:

    “Biden says “Jill and I have a little sense of what it’s like to lose a home” and then tells the story of when lightning struck his house in 2004 and says “I almost lost my ’67 corvette and my cat.”

    According to a report from the time, the lighting strike caused “a small fire contained to the kitchen” that “was under control in 20 minutes.””

    He’s either a liar or experiencing dementia. .. nevermind the total lack of empathy…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You have a truly bizarre way of evaluating the performance of people who are trying harder than I believe you would ever try to empathize with people.

      Which, of course, is the opposite of having “a total lack of empathy.” He’s showing it; you just think he’s bad at it.

      You’re an “empathy reviewer.” Like it’s a movie or something…

      1. Doug Ross

        He lied. He was in D.C, at the time of the fire. He wasn’t even there but implied that he showed up while it was going on.

        People in Maui lost their children and he empathized because his cat and Corvette might have been in trouble (which they were never in). That’s not empathy, it’s narcissism. Just shut up with the made up stories, Joe.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, I understood you. Still don’t see it the way you do.

          Apparently, you think he should go over and say, “Wow, your situation really sucks! Better you than me, though, huh?”

  6. Paul DeMarco

    I appreciate your reply. You and I are essentially agreeing, although you make it sound like we are not. Like you, I recognize that closely held beliefs are unlikely to change. And there are some people, many people perhaps, who don’t want to talk about difficult issues. That’s fine. Don’t waste your breath. But, taking your example, I don’t think your neighbor’s statement “It’s not OUR responsibility to protect OTHERS from risk!” would have been a deal breaker for me. I’d want to know more. What responsibility did he not want to shoulder? Was he saying he wanted to live his life as usual during the pandemic. That’s certainly a sentiment I can understand-but, of course, could have some devastating consequences. It sounds like he was willing to risk his own life and health. But, as I’m sure you pointed out, his behavior was also risking the lives of the many people who were obligated to work during the pandemic. His desire to go to the grocery store, unmasked and coughing, endangered everyone else there, especially the elderly customers. Perhaps you had that discussion with him. Still, I don’t know that I would have cut him out of my life. He was unlikely to change his view whatever you said to him. And his point of view was, unfortunately, not uncommon. It is hard to know when to hang in with someone who has beliefs that offend you and when to cut them loose for your own sanity. Part of my calculation would have been based on how good a neighbor he was in other ways-on the things he did rather than said or believed.
    Anyway, I’m sorry you lost your relationship with your neighbor. My object in dealing with someone like your neighbor is not to win the argument, simply to underscore that despite our disagreements, we can live in relative harmony, respecting, if not liking, one another. Yes, there is evil and hatred and injustice in the world. But its perpetrators are few. That’s why school shooting are news. Because evil is fortunately unusual. It’s important to recognize that, and it seems harder these days for people to accept that those who disagree are not (usually) their enemies. And that sometimes, they are in the right.

  7. Ken

    ” I’d want to know more. ”

    I had been on quite good terms with them for many years at this point (summer of 2021), despite their views on many things being much different than my own. So I was well aware of the … more, already. The comment quoted came at the end of a 45-minute otherwise cordial exchange that wrapped up on the pandemic — when the neighbor said that the pandemic wasn’t as bad as the experts were saying — many of whom didn’t really know anyway, and some of them were lying; that lots fewer people had died of COVID than was being reported; that SC had fared much better than, say, CA (which it hadn’t, not on a deaths/100,000 basis); and that the vaccines were experimental and they were “not gonna be experimented on!” They refused to mask or, needless to say, get vaccinated. Plus, there was great resentment over closures, as brief as they were in this state. In their view, everybody was supposed to take on their own risk as they saw fit — without the heavy hand of government intruding.

    That was the “more” in this instance.

    In any case, to return to your original post, I don’t hate these people, much less want to do violence to them. I wasn’t the one who cut them off. I would be perfectly willing to go back to the status quo ante — except that I am now persona non grata there. And I do not go where I am not wanted (though Brad probably has a different view on that).

    1. Brad Warthen Post author


      I just saw this photo on my Washington Post app today, and thought: Where do these people get this stuff? What makes them believe such, and more than that, WANT to believe such?

      Dang. I was going to show you the picture, but it’s gone now — from browser and app. I think I saw it in connection with this story.

      Basically, it was a young woman holding a sign saying crazy stuff like the COVID death statistics are lies, etc….

    2. Ken

      The view described above is the expression of an ideology that I observed developing over time. Which is what my original post above was pointing to.
      The one caveat to any willingness to return to the status quo ante would be: I would no longer be as circumspect about these matters as during the ante.

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