Mom called one day and said "Guess what, Bill? Your cousin Ernie is coming down with Tina and the kids, he will be here this Saturday for a barbecue, why don't you come down?"
"Ok, sure" I said, with a little bit of a butterfly in my stomach. Actually, Ernie is my second cousin, my mother's first cousin, but we always got along well. I have always respected him as a very tenacious, hard working person who is well educated and provides well for his family.
His wife, a petite lady with a very understanding type of persona, and a soft spoken manner have always been fun to talk to. Both are well educated, and not afraid to show it.
So, I get into my little blue car and head down to my mother's house. All along, I am thinking of when my mother admonished me to not talk about my "lifestyle situation" with Ernie. She feared it would start some controversy of something...something mom HATES with a passion. ("I just do not get that "lifestyle" crap, I mean, JOGGING is a lifestyle!")
I stop at a traffic light, and pull out a cigarette, and light it, cough my brains out as usual, and throw it into my waiting ashtray thinking "I should try that nicotine gum that Ernie used a few years ago to quit. Then along came the recollection of the conversation we had at my high school graduation party, about quitting smoking. The conversation meant little, but the shirt he had on sure did. "remember when America had a real president?" it said underneath a picture of Ronald Reagan.
I said, uh oh, if I plan to tell him, I may end up in a heated discussion. After all, Ronald Reagan was a staunchly anti-gay governor and President. His platforms were everything that a gay rights activist had nightmares about. So, I get to the house, and say my hellos to all, and sit down next to Ernie, and he congratulates me on my new job at a bank. We discuss a little bit of small talk, which somehow leads to me saying "well, you're a REPUBLICAN..." in my "I say this in a loving manner, but I cannot stand it" "oh no not that" I added. Looking down at his Ronald Reagan shirt that he wore AGAIN.
"Why? We believe in limited government, PRIVATE PROPERTY (emphasis his), and local control. A black judge knows what is best for his people, a Hispanic judge knows what is best for his, and a Gay judge knows what is best for his." A little stunned by the fact he said "gay judge" I was trying to understand what he meant by that statement. I finally got what he meant by those groups knowing what is best for their own people, and I asked him what he meant. Basically, if an area is predominantly gay or something, the people should elect who they feel will represent their interests, and will be good for the common good of their area. Washington D.C. just cannot do that job. And after all, we do not all live in Washington, we live in a township, with its own culture and ways of doing things.
"Well, I can agree with Republicans on some things, dad is a republican, you know, but I despise them on Social issues."
"What kind of social issues bother you?" He asked, inquisitively.
"Well, I do not want to talk about social issues" I snapped defensively on my way down to the dock to have an "escape cigarette".
So, I came back to the patio where we were sitting, and said to myself, "Well, you have never been one to run away from heated talks, so face the music, and say it"
"Abortion for one thing I am sick of hearing about. I am pro-choice. I just do not think it is anyone's business if a woman wants an abortion!"
"Abortion should NOT be a federal issue, period." he said.
"Hmmm." I said. "the only things that should be federal issues are what the constitution says should be...like piracy on the high seas, and stuff"
"Well, the religious right bothers the hell out of me."