I am on a southern swing for work/pleasure, hence no northwoods or Lake Superior posts. The weekend was spent in N'Awlins with long time buddy Woody and DowntownDon, patrolling the French Quarter and watching Viking fans behave badly during Sunday's football game. Even I thought chanting 'Romo, you homo' was a bit over the top. A work stop in Atlanta included a lovely Italian dinner with AuburnAnne and then off to Memphis where I found myself dining and beer sampling in McEwen's, a small local bar and restaurant, and intently watching the election returns from Massachusetts.
I've never been bashful about striking up a conversation in a bar when I'm flying solo, and the two fellows I was talking to in the 'Norm' corner of the bar were about as different as could be. John was a self proclaimed bleeding heart liberal from Cape Cod, MA. Tim was a North Carolina conservative who would disappear out the front door frequently to ignite and inhale the product that made his home state famous. Three guys from three very different states with three varied political viewpoints. I need to confess at this point that I have A BA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin. This degree makes me uniquely suited to sell medical device packaging, my long time career, and basically little else. That is why I was more than a bit interested when John confessed that he pulled the lever for Scott Brown before he got on the airplane for Memphis.
He apparently was not alone. Mr.Brown was declared the winner minutes ago in what had to be a surprise to most observers around the country. I asked John what prompted him ( and a million plus others) to pull the lever for a Republican. He said a combination of the screwed up healthcare bill, the blatant politics (Nebraska was mentioned) that have swirled around the bill, the "venal, smug, mostly indicted, Beacon Hill Democrats" that thought they had a slam dunk with Teddy's seat, and just the general stench of politics as usual. He informed me that Massachusetts has had a tradition of electing socially aware and fiscally conservative Republicans as Governer and this just seemed like an extension of that and the right thing to do. My new buddy Tim was crowing about the setback for 'BO' and his agenda and leadership, and how more than a handful of Democrats that had been on the fence might fall back to the other side after the ascertained the political wind direction with this electoral upset. Strangely, both guys agreed that a single payer healthcare system would be the ideal thing and railed against the insurance companies and their effort to scale back meaningful reform.
This is not nor will it ever be a political blog. I washed my hands of that particular avocation and vice years ago. Still it was interesting and just a bit weird to sit and drink beer and discuss politics with these two disparate individuals on a momentous night. Interestingly enough, I was drinking the fine products of the Ghost River Brewery, NC Tim was drinking vodka martini's, and MA John was sipping Knob Creek, straight up with a water back. We couldn't even agree on what to drink but we seemed to agree on one thing. People are pissed with partisan politics as usual and all three of us hoped that this would be the tip of the iceberg and the tipping point for meaningful change.