Friday morning on CNBC, Joe Kernan was teasing Jack Welch about living in NYC. Joe said, “Most of your friends are liberal.”. I empathize with that.
I live in Chicago. It’s home of machine politics. Politicians of course will tell you there is no machine but they are full of Obama stimulus. Normal Chicagoans that try to do business in the city will quote you chapter and verse stories of graft and payola. Chicagoans know how the machine works.
I actually find that there are very few true blue Democrats in Chicago. It’s just that the machine is established in the Democratic Party and inertia pushes them that way. So many people make so much money off the machine, you just can’t change it. But, there are enough hard core true believing Democrats around to keep the ship sailing straight.
When people find out that I am a conservative, there are three reactions. One, they can’t believe it and think I am kidding them, but then talk to me and we become friends. The second is abject horror, they sort of tolerate me but behind my back they insult me. The third is they start pigeon holing me into the most radical of conservative classes.
There are many people in Chicago that I know that will not invite me to parties because I am a conservative. It makes them uncomfortable. Welch said on CNBC that sometimes he has to keep his mouth shut if he wants to have a social life on the upper east side of NYC.
Many times at cocktail parties, my wife and I are introduced as “their conservatives but they are okay”, or “our favorite Republicans”, or “the only Republicans I know”.
I do have some very good friends that are pretty liberal and they are accepting of me. We actually have a lot of common ground on some things. We get together and have a good time, but I wonder how they would feel if they were in the minority?
At some parties that I have been to, I have found some conservatives. They tell me in hushed tones under their breath. They are afraid people might find out. It would compromise them professionally, and personally. It’s far easier to be gay and come out of the closet than it is to be a conservative in the city of Chicago.
I have been invited to parties as the “token Republican” in a room full of fire breathing liberals. Once, as I was riding in the elevator down from one, a professor said, “Wouldn’t it be better if only people like us could vote.”. When I mentioned to him his statement sounded like the poll taxes and Jim Crow laws he was not amused.