Saturday, March 8, 2014
I DON'T WANT TO BE THAT PERSON!
An elderly woman I met recently (and unbelievably, spent six hours with her) has probably been spewing misinformation for a long time and gotten away with not being challenged because of her age! Obviously, in her mind, if she doesn't know something, then it is non-existent.
She has a wonderfully retentive memory about what she wants to believe, but a great deal of it is erroneous, based on prejudice, and not fact.
We were discussing Presidents and she was shocked when I said that I detested Jefferson. She exclaimed, "But he was a genius." I said, "I don't deny that, but there have been numerous geniuses who weren't good people." She said that she thought an intelligent person (said with a tinge of snarkiness in her voice) such as I, would admire him. I ignored her snarkiness and I said, "Oh, it's that pesky little thing about being a slave-holder and a rapist!" She said, "That's not true." After we argued about DNA testing she said, "Well, she went to Paris with him willingly." I screaked, "Willingly, how could anything be willingly with a SLAVE?" She said, "That's just the way it was then." I said, "That doesn't make it right or moral; besides, that's a generalization; it was NOT that way with John Adams." She said, "He was in the North; they didn't have slaves." I said, "OMG, yes there WAS slavery in the North and it was before, during, and after the Revolution!" She kept denying it and I said, "Look up 1780 in Pennsylvania and you'll learn that I'm correct." She said, "You seem very sure of yourself." I answered, "Yes, I'm willing to bet $100 that I'm right about anything I've said!"
I gave my thumbnail opinions of all Presidents. OK, yes, I admit I was showing off rattling off the names of the Presidents IN ORDER and using their MIDDLE names! I told her that Harding's middle name--GAMALIEL--is my favorite!
In the midst of defending Herbert Hoover, she said that he "founded Stanford". I said, "Oh, no, it was founded by Leland Stanford in memory of his son and the real name of the university is The Leland Stanford Junior University!" She said she'd never heard of Leland Stanford. I said, "Oh my goodness, he was a railroad tycoon who became the Governor of California!"
She had to know that she was wrong with her assertion that Hoover had founded Stanford because she backpedaled and said, "Well, I know Hoover WENT there and his father died when he was a baby and his mother scrimped and saved so he could go to college."
I said, "Well, Herbert CLARK Hoover DID attend Stanford and he claimed to be its first graduate, but his mother did NOT scrimp and save because she died several years after his father and Hoover was reared by uncles who sent him to that NEW college!"
She said, "Well, you MUST be a Hoover fan to know so much."
I said, "Heavens NO! Just the opposite; but one must always know the enemy!"
Assumptions! Because of my love for Mr. Lincoln and my detestation for the likes of the "Democrats" Jackson and Buchanan, she assumed I was a Republican! I told her I would have been a Republican back then! We had a disagreement because she thought Mr. Lincoln started the Republican Party. When I explained that John C. Fremont was the FIRST Republican Presidential candidate she said she'd never heard of him. I asked, with exaggerated incredulity, "The Pathfinder?"
After that exchange, she realized I am a Democrat and I knew she was a bigot!
We then had a disagreement about FDR and his Vice Presidents. I told her that he had three: John Nance Garner, Henry Wallace, and Harry Truman and she insisted he had 4. I said that FDR kicked out Garner in favor of Wallace and also kicked out Wallace in favor of Truman and she said, "Oh that Wallace was a Communist." I laughed and said, "WORSE than that; Wallace had been a Republican before becoming a Democrat in 1936." That humor escaped her.
I asked her who was the first President she voted for and she answered, "Thomas Dewey." I said, "EWWWWW; did you ever hear that Alice Roosevelt Longworth described him as the little man on top of the wedding cake?" She said, "She was nasty." I said, "Oh, yes, I love TR's daughter; one of my favorite quotes is from her: If you don't have anything nice to say, come over and sit next to me!; I think she was the last humorous Republican!" I told her that the best thing Dewey ever did was to get Eisenhower to run against that horrible Robert Taft. She said, "But he was from Ohio." I said, "That is a shame we have to live with in Ohio!"
She made snide remarks about all the other Democrats who served after after Roosevelt and I corrected all her falsehoods.
As much as I loved parrying with the old bigot, our conversation had to end when she began babbling about "that half-nigger Muslim." I got up, thanked my host and left. My host walked me to the door and apologized and I told him that it is disheartening to know that there are actually people like that! I said that all we could hope for is to outlive ignorance!
WHY do I waste my time with people like this? I know that I am not going to change them or their ideas.
My brother says I have taken on the role of "The Lone Voice In The Wilderness"!