Paulette, though, recounts some instances where he turns those assumptions to rhetorical advantage, and in the process sets a fine example of how we should engage our friends and acquaintances with whom we find ourselves in disagreement.
Here's how he opens:
Meeting friends and family is part of the universally recognized progression of any relationship, and so it was for me while dating a fellow law student in Washington, D.C. Beyond our common career path, we shared very little—I was a conservative, Republican Catholic from the Midwest and she a liberal, atheist Democrat from Massachusetts.The rest of the essay is a very enjoyable, and informative, read although one nagging question never got answered: How did his relationship with a girl with whom he had almost nothing in common turn out?
My girlfriend also happened to be a former Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, so every few months I tagged along for dinners, birthday parties and social events of the informal “El Sal. Peace Corps Crowd.” They were a well-educated, professional and civic-minded group of white, middle-class young adults. They pursued master’s degrees in international relations with third-world (or, as they corrected me, “developing world”) countries, worked in eco-conscious government agencies such as NOAA, or joined NGOs devoted to global female empowerment.
They were the vanguard foot soldiers of progressive liberalism.
I’d only met one friend-of-the-girlfriend prior to my first evening with the entire crew. She was charming, and found her calling in protecting women’s health by sending glass cooking pots to poor Central American villages in order to reduce open-fire food preparation. We pondered whether her desire for government-mandated price-capping, wage-setting and capital-regulation amounted to communism, and amicably agreed that she was not a militant “brown-shirt” communist, or even a full-blown “red” communist, but rather a befittingly “soft-pink” communist.
The first group dinner was predictably located in an ethnic restaurant in one of the more fashionably hip, socially dynamic quarters of the city. The atmosphere was jovial and the conversation freely swayed between friendly catch-up and political banter. It was early 2003, and I thought it wise to remain politely detached as they excoriated conservative policies, Republican rhetoric, and absolutely everything about George W. Bush. I’d struck up a nice conversation on nothing of significance with a quiet, reserved chap across the table.
If you read it you should also read the comments.