Look what they’ve done to old friends

EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK

BY ART CULLEN

While in Kansas City a few weeks back I hooked up with one of my best buds for life and got into a rip-snorting high-decibel argument about politics before his lovely wife and daughter showed up. We both were sober.

It’s gnawed at me since.

I can’t remember how we got onto it but he voted for Trump, no doubt, and I voted for Clinton. It devolved from there. He tried to frame a moral equivalency between Trump and Obama, which blew my stack. I hope nobody in the hotel room next door was trying to catch a pre-supper nap or get cuddly.

So my side says Trump voters are deplorable and his side says Clinton voters are snowflakes.

My old bud flipped burgers, mixed mud, drove a beer truck and managed to earn a college degree through many distractions. He has become a top-flight salesman because he is a master of logic and a student of human nature. He’s a God-fearing man with a saint for a wife and two children adopted from Asia. One of his children displays autistic tendencies, and he has run up against the bureaucracies of the social services and educational complexes. He has not forgotten about people of modest or no means. He does not have a racist bone in his body and I have never heard him utter a comment that would indicate it. He never owned a gun and couldn’t care less about gay marriage.

His philosophy boils down to: Power corrupts, so limit power. And, he is a notoriously Scots-Irish tight. He lives in an upscale suburb in Kansas where all his neighbors hate taxes like he does, yet he thinks Gov. Sam Brownback is a knothead destroying schools and public services.

He believes that Clinton is Trump is Bush, but at least Trump would cut taxes and get rid of silly regulations.

That’s what I think he was voting for.

And, he does not like to be called stupid. He is anything but. And, he does not like to be called a racist. He is not.

He was trying to disabuse me of the notion that the President needs a moral streak. I had said that Obama was someone that kids could look up to, and that Trump is a sexist and racist ogre. He nearly laughed at me. I demonstrated how naïve I am. Obama is by all accounts a perfect gentleman, but North Korea might not care about manners.

We live in different bubbles and argued like two old men who think they have the answer but are not heard, so we yell all the louder.

His news feed tells him that I think he is a racist idiot who bought a bill of goods and mine tells me exactly that. It made us momentarily forget to whom each of us was talking.

He thinks that Kansas’s and Missouri’s governments are a joke. Look at their roads. Look at Ferguson. He is paying one big tax bill and wonders where the money goes. He doesn’t feel left behind, he feels like he is getting screwed. Fair enough.

If you want a moral leader, look to the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis, my friend would suggest.

Bill Cinton deceived us until backed into a corner but is considered a great former President. What is the qualitative difference, personally, between he and Trump and Bill Dix and the Democrats at the Mingo bachelor party?

Have the Democrats, even when they had power, produced anything that lasts for brown people? Since the Civil Rights Act, no. So don’t lay on him your racist superiority.

This from two friends who were inseparable but are divided by time and our own accumulated stories.

It’s good that the conversation bothers me. When his wife and daughter showed up we behaved ourselves and remembered our friendship. That we could have that sort of argument is what bothers me. Either one of us would still bail the other out of jail, and if some liberal called him a racist them would be fighting words with me. He thinks Steve King is a fool. Just don’t paint him with the same brush. That’s what my friend was telling me. It took this long to sink in.