WHAT a political climate we live in! I’ve never seen it so crazy, characterized as it is by a floundering Democratic party and a hijacked-by-teabaggers Republican party. Everyone seems polarized, and everyone on both sides accuses the other of heinous positions: Republicans have all become experts at defining the meanings of “communist” and “socialist,” all magically learned without the benefit of serious scholarship; and Democrats, when not crawling across Antarctica saving every creeping thing, erroneously think that all Republicans are Sarah Palin supporters (when most thoughtful Republicans wouldn’t waste their time shaking a stick at her).
We’ve come to this “nyah nyah” level of politics after more than 200 years, mainly because not enough people are willing enough to want to form a demilitarized zone of discussion. Senators and Congress members stare stonily across the aisles, refusing to budge .
Perceptions of “the other side” have always existed, though not in such hateful measures. In yesteryears, we were blessed with educated observers spouting pithy, witty comments, and everybody laughed. Nobody demanded apologies; nobody cried and formed a support caucus in order to nurse wounded egos.
In that tradition, here is a list of differences between the two major parties as observed by the great Nancy Stahl back in 1979; Nancy’s “Jelly Side Down” column ran in many newspapers for years. In the excerpt from her book If It’s Raining, It Must Be the Weekend that I post below, the cultural references are hilarious as well. My apologies to no one.
1. When Republicans mention “my club,” they mean their country club. Democrats mean Book-of-the-Month Club.
2. Republicans get tennis elbow and ulcers. Democrats get heartburn and sties.
3. Democrats drive six-year-old green Pontiacs with roof racks. Republicans drive six-month-old Cadillacs with bumper stickers that say “I Like Ike.”
4. Republicans own horses. Democrats bet on them.
5. Republicans drink Drambuie and Cafe Capuchino after dinner. Democrats drink creme de menthe and Sanka.
6. Republicans get face lifts and hair transplants. Democrats get nose jobs and silicone transplants.
7. Republicans have nannies for their children. Democrats have grandmothers.
8. Republicans hire good cooks. Democrats marry them.
9. Republicans read Vogue and the National Review. Democrats read The New Republic and Photoplay.
10. Every three weeks, Democratic women make an appointment to have a manicure and get their hair shampooed, cut, and blown dry. So do Republican men.
11. Republicans play golf. Democrats bowl.
12. Republican men wear monogrammed silk pajamas. Democrats sleep nude.