What an unlikely pairing: James Carville is Southern through and through, loud mouthed, abrasive, yet charming, and very very much a Democrat; Mary Matalin is from Chicago, low key, reserved, a bit cold seeming when compared to Carville’s bounding (some say grating) enthusiasm, and very very much a Republican. Carville is arrogant as is evidenced by the proclamation on the front page of his site: The man who has devised the most dramatic political victories of our generation, and he has. By contrast, Matalin’s site is muted and sophisticated, professional, and her experience and success speak for themselves, they don’t scream from the mouth of a caricature of her at a podium (as is the case with Carville). But this blog post isn’t about them, well, not at any rate about their bios or cv’s; rather, I’m interested in their being politically polar opposites, and really really opposite, neither is moderate or even near moderate, they are both far [insert direction for their respective parties]. These two outwardly opposite and apparently unsuited people have been married for almost fourteen years.
I’ve watched them on Crossfire or whatever else on Sundays or on this PBS show or that, and I’ve been hypnotized by their interaction. He is boisterous and opinionated, brilliant and funny, and she is calm and opinionated, brilliant and funny, but they say and firmly believe totally opposite things about the world, about politics, about the country, about . . . well, everything that most of us hold dear. So how on earth does that marriage work? It’s mind boggling to me, but it obviously does; apart from the bickering one can see a real affection between them, a bond that defies logic. And I find it beautiful.
Most of you know I’m a crusty old cynic, but that sort of peace between opposing sides is truly heartening. I’ve had several experiences here on 360 with people from political parties other than my own or who had views that were opposite my own, and I can only say that more often than not, I’ve been hugely disappointed that people can’t seem to be friends with people with whom they don’t agree about . . . the war, abortion, gay marriage, civil rights, and on. Me? I can think what I think and accept people who don’t agree; I may not accept what they say and might get ruffled at how they say it, but at the end of the day, it’s one tiny aspect of who we are as people. So what if I think we should either troop up and actually do whatever we need to do in Iraq or get out? So what if I think that gays should be allowed to marry or a woman or a black person can be president? So what if I’m a Christian who hasn’t been inside a church, except for funerals and weddings, in well over a decade? Does this mean we can’t be friends? For some, alas, it does.
So I ask you, my 360 friends, what do you think about befriending someone who doesn’t see the world as you do? What about marrying them? Do opposites attract, in terms of political leaning? Or is that a slow ticking bomb ready to explode? Can there be true friendship if the people involved view the world in significantly different terms? If you’re a democrat, could you love a republican or vice versa? If you firmly believe that gay people should be allowed to marry, could you marry someone who thought that an abomination? What about religious upbringing or background? Can very different religions mix in one friendship or household? I’m very curious to hear what goes on in all our minds on this; we’ve all seen friendships implode or explode here, after all.
Oh, and just so everyone knows: I’m not ignoring or belittling my many good friends who’ve remained my good friends despite their clearly wrong-headed views on some issues (ahem, Amber, in particular. Teehee).