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Sleeping with the Enemy


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American Thinker:

Sleeping with the Enemy
By Robin of Berkeley

Sometimes I feel really sorry for my mate, Jon. Thirty years ago he hooked up with a Buddhist, pacifist, Leftist vegetarian. Fast forward a few decades, and he now lives with his worst nightmare: a patriotic conservative who attends church and eats burgers with gusto.

So sometimes I feel bad for him. And other times I want to smack him upside the head.

Take, for instance, the time Jon saw me reading Sarah Palin's autobiography, Going Rogue. After he gasped in genuine shock, he said, snidely, "I'm surprised that she could write a book more than a few pages long."

To which I barked back, "At least she didn't have a terrorist like Bill Ayers write her book for her."

Welcome to my world. I hope it's not your world. Because living together as a progressive and a conservative in the leftest of all places is not for the faint of heart.

To my beloved mate, I have morphed into Typhoid Robin, a carrier of a repugnant disease. And Jon doesn't even know the half of it.

Even though I'm compulsively pecking away on the computer, he doesn't want to know what I'm up to. In our household, we have enacted a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

While opposites may attract in other areas of life, not so with politics. In fact, politics makes strange bedfellows -- if not outright enemy combatants.

While it's never easy to be on opposite sides of the political spectrum, with Obama in office, it's downright miserable. Obama has been dividing this country like the Civil War days. Rather than moving us forward, he's pitting brother against brother.

I know some liberal/conservative couples who are making it just fine. But there's one big difference: they were already political adversaries when they got together.

It's one thing to enter a relationship with all your cards on the table. It's another thing to change.

I have unintentionally broken an unwritten rule integral to most relationships: Thou Shalt Not Change. That rule about consistency is no small matter. Partners feel safe and secure by counting on the other person's predictability.

Such a sea change like a political conversion can feel like a betrayal. It's not quite on the same level as an affair, but it still can erode trust. One person has transformed into someone new and unfamiliar.

The partner may fear other changes. Jon may wonder, "If Robin is no longer a liberal, what's next? How else will she change?" Or, more poignantly, "Will she still be the woman I love?"

And there's truth to these concerns. Because changing voting patterns has been the least of it for me. Becoming a conservative alters everything about the person. No longer following the herd like a good progressive, I'm now focused on personal freedom and individuality.

My view of the world has changed, as has my behavior. In many ways, I am a completely different person.

For instance, I'm no longer the poster child for codependency, enabling and justifying all kinds of bad behavior. I'm totally on board with the new Arizona law. One of my many epiphanies: Illegal means illegal. Yet if I voiced these beliefs in Berkeley, I would be viewed as the She-Devil, even in my own home.

The saddest thing for me about the political differences is a sense of loss. Jon and I used to see eye-to-eye on almost everything, both political and religious.

We'd spend hours bonding over like-minded issues. Now we can't go anywhere near politics without hard feelings. Occasionally a political topic will come up (always my doing, even though I promise myself to keep a wrap on it). The conversation never ends well.

So what am I doing to preserve my relationship? Through my devotion, I try to reassure Jon that I'm still Robin at heart.

In fact, I'm hoping that he appreciates some of the benefits from my political conversion. As an arch-feminist since the 1970s, I haven't exactly been supportive of his more testosterone-driven ways.

But I've seen the light; I've become vehemently opposed to feminizing men. I now encourage Jon's distinctly male behavior, which often leaves him scratching his head in disbelief.

Will Jon and I make it? I think so. God, I hope so! I love the man with all my heart and soul.

Auspiciously, Jon is a supportive partner who has always encouraged me to pursue my hopes and dreams. We have a close and committed relationship. And we've already made it through some serious life challenges: the death of parents, health problems, professional disappointments.

However, all of our ups and downs pale in comparison to living as political opponents in Berkeley circa 2010. Surviving the reign of Obama may be our most formidable challenge yet.
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