I play cards every Wednesday night with a group at the local senior citizens' center. The people at those games are primarily in their seventies and eighties (I am one of the young ones!), nearly all white - with the exception of one black couple, and all very conservative - excluding me, of course.
I don't talk politics with these people because I enjoy playing cards and I know that once that scab is picked I will get angry and find something else to do on my Wednesday nights. And for the most part, the others refrain from discussing politics as well. One lady does have an old Romney-Ryan bumper sticker on her car, but that is the only political sticker that I have noticed.
However, when it comes to talking politics, there is one exception to the civility rule. One of our players is a functionary within the county Republican party, and he will occasionally let slip with some anti-Hillary, anti-Obama, or anti-gay remark. Last night I overheard him do a brilliant little shellacking of the Democratic party by painting it as "anti-Christian." As I sat down at the table he told the lady across from him that there are beginning to be lots of anti-Christians in America, and most of them are "controlled" by one particular political party. "Oh yes," she replied with a deep level of concern in her voice, "I know. I know."
And I probably should have called "bullshit," but then it would have quickly descended into me against everyone else, and I would have felt compelled to leave. I suspect the entire conversation was staged just to get a rise out of me, and I wasn't in the mood to entertain the house.
But I understood what the old political codger had done. He was using the national party line that paints Republicans as victims. People are picking on Christians, Republicans are overwhelmingly Christian, therefore people are picking on Republicans. Poor us, poor us, poor us.
The other side of that coin is that today's Republican party thrives on being the oppressors - of the poor, of immigrants, of racial and ethnic minorities, of women, of the homeless, of union members, of struggling college students, of public schools, and of gays. They are overtly opposed to most groups in society with the notable exceptions of the extremely wealthy and, of course, old, white people.
Can I hear an "amen?"
My card-playing colleague played his political hand well last night, solidly linking Democrats with godless heathen, but what he said was just malarkey - much like what the national Republican candidates routinely spew. Sadly for them, the constituency for that nonsense shrinks every day. If God is under attack, one has to wonder why why She is calling so many of her loyal soldiers home instead of leaving them on the field to do battle with Democrats.
Why would anyone even want a Jesus based in hate?