I spent Thanksgiving with a flock of right-wing
I was without daily Internet access for five days while
visiting my elderly mother in South Florida. She needed her
den repainted after water damage from a roof leak and wanted
us to spend the holiday weekend with her.
The painting turned out to be far more pleasant than
Thanksgiving Day, which we spent breaking bread with some
active, virulent members of the Palm Beach County Republican
Party. Shoot me and put me out of my misery before I ever
partake in a dinner party like that again.
But I will relive it for the entertainment of AHNC readers.
Here is the cast of characters, with the names of some
participants changed to protect them from public ridicule and
possible institutional confinement:
The hostess, my cousin Connie, who moved to Boca Raton
after retiring a decade ago and joined the local Republican
Club – mainly to meet people.
Stella, the 80-year-old, name-dropping widow of a
Boston mattress manufacturer who left her a small fortune.
Marco, Stella’s 40-something companion, who claims to
be a doctor of some arcane subject or another, but definitely
not medicine. Possibly a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage
therapist or herbalist, although he never specified clearly.
Kay, a middle-aged manufacturer’s rep who thinks the
economy has been doing just fine for the past several years,
thank you, because she has done just fine.
and Frack, a married couple in their late 50s or early
60s. She’s from Ireland, and he’s Rush Limbaugh in a slender,
My mother Henriette, an 85-year-old, life-long Democrat
and admitted racist who still was able to bring herself to
vote for Barack Obama, or so she says.
My husband Dave who, unbeknownst to me, had begun
baiting some of the GOP kool-aide drinkers as soon as he heard
them express their political beliefs.
We were seated separately because Connie’s dining table wasn’t
large enough for all of us. Dave, seated with Stella, Marco
and Kay, told me later about the conversation at that table.
Kay – “I’m surprised Obama hasn’t picked more liberal people
for the cabinet and other jobs. Like that Ayers guy. I think
the liberals are getting pretty upset that he hasn’t picked
people like Ayers.”
Stella – “They’re all liberal, every one that he’s picked!
That Emmanuel guy – he’s the biggest liberal of them all. I’m
Jewish, but not a liberal Jew like him. And Hillary – he’s
going to make her the secretary of state! She’s as liberal as
they come. She wanted to nationalize health care! They’re all
pro-union liberals. If you only knew what my husband had to go
through to keep the union out of our factory! You watch. Obama
will find a place for Ayers and some of those other communist
friends of his!”
Marco – “Oh, don’t worry about Ayers! He’s a nobody. He’s not
going to be appointed to anything.
Worry about Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. Worry about the
bailout the Democrats are going to give to the automakers in
Detroit. Every elected official from Michigan is a Democrat,
and they’re going to protect all those union workers making
$70 an hour! Dave, what do you think about Obama and the
people he’s picking?”
Dave – “Well, I’m most interested in who he picks for attorney
general. I think we need a real professional prosecutor who
can start gathering evidence for treason and war crimes
charges against Cheney and maybe Bush, although I suspect
Dubya was just a puppet in this trumped-up war against Iraq.”
Dave told me later that there was a silence of several seconds
while his three table-mates sat staring at him with their
mouths open, half-chewed food showing. Then the eruption.
“What do you mean? How can you say such a thing? This was a
legitimate war for our self-defense! You’re one of them – the
liberals who want to see the U.S. destroyed!”
But I didn’t hear any of that exchange because of the
discussion at the table where I was seated with my mother,
Frick and Frack.
Frick said her brother receives horrible health care in
Ireland, and if he hadn't had a heart attack shortly after
visiting his doctor he would have had to wait three more weeks
to get tests in a hospital before being scheduled for surgery.
He might have died. I asked if her brother was OK, and she
said yes, the government medical system approved and paid for
the necessary surgery and he was recovering well. I replied,
"I wish the U.S. would provide affordable health care or more
affordable health insurance. Good for Ireland."
Frack, Frick's husband then blurted out "The reason health care is so
expensive in the U.S. is because all lawyers are crooks.”
I said some of the high health insurance costs in the U.S.
were due to medical malpractice by a small minority of doctors
who were not being effectively banned from practice by the
American Medical Association. Frack’s response?
“That’s a lie.” Then he got up from the dinner table and
After dessert, people changed seats and mingled over coffee
and wine. Stella had moved into one of the chairs at my table.
What do you think of the election, she asked?
"I’m just glad there will be smart people in the White
House. Maybe they can get us out of this economic mess."
She removed the sunglasses she had worn throughout the
afternoon to reveal an infected, blood-shot eye and paused
several seconds before responding. "Bill Clinton caused the
fall of Enron, you know, and Obama will do the same to other
Wow, what do you say to a statement like that? I felt it best
to reply in factual informational style.
"Enron execs were caught lying to their own stockholders and
fellow execs. I don't think Bill Clinton had anything to do
with that." Then I tried to change the subject by asking if
she had heard about some interesting medical research being
done at a university near her old home in Boston. Stella
interrupted that her close friend – supposedly the dean of a
well known college in Boston – told her that all university
professors are communists. Wow, another ball smacked deep to
I laughed and couldn’t help but say, "Stella, do you really
believe all college professors are communists? We have many of
the best universities in the world, and people flock to this
country to study at them. How can you believe that?"
Stella growled something about "Ronnie (as in Reagan) always
said that the liberals and communists ruined our country.
Before he was governor in California, I used to get him as
guest speaker for GOP fund-raisers I helped organize. He never
brought Nancy on those trips. We used to always make sure he
had a special dinner from the kitchen, not what was on the
menu for everybody who was attending. He was such a lovely
man, he … blah,blah,blah."
I dabbed at my mouth with a linen napkin as if I were wiping
away a crumb. Actually I was trying to avoid projectile
We left my cousin’s townhouse after about several hours. Marco had
been haranguing Dave for the final hour or so of that time,
telling him about all the famous people that he knew or was
related to, about all the countries he had visited, about the
hundreds of thousands of dollars he had made or lost in stock
market transactions and other business deals. And about all
the girlfriends he had – when he wasn’t busy squiring Stella
around Palm Beach.
As we walked out to the car with my mother, Marco hung on
Dave’s arm, anxious to finish one more anecdote.
“My uncle was the president of Paraguay for many years,” Marco
said. “He was a great man, he did great things for his
country. Sometimes he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”
“Do you mean Stroessner?” Dave asked incredulously.
“Yes, you have heard of him?” Marco clearly was pleased.
Dave got behind the wheel of our car, started it up and backed
out of the driveway, giving Marco a half-hearted wave as we
got the hell out of there.
The next night, Connie visited my mother’s place to say
goodbye before I left for home. She asked about our
conversations with her friends – much of which she had not
heard while performing as hostess. She was concerned that some
of her Republican friends might have come on too strongly,
that we might have felt awkward. And naturally, Connie and I
ended up rehashing the previous night’s political debate. One
of her final statements before we said goodbye was this gem:
“You know the Clintons had Vince Foster killed. They left a
lot of bodies behind them.”
In retrospect, I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. It affirmed
my belief that there continues to be a need for this website
and others like it, even though Bush is about to leave office
and the Republican Party is in disarray.
The right-wing turkeys are still out there. They are enraged
over their loss of political power, and they will continue to
do and say things that we can lampoon. AHNC thanks them.