Here are two of my favorite people in one essay!
Tamara Shayne Kagel is a terrific writer and Dennis Prager is a great thinker.
Two weeks ago, Jewish Journal blogger Tamara Shayne Kagel wrote a piece titled, “I Don’t Want to Date a Republican!”
Apparently, a nightmare of hers has been realized — she has fallen in love with a Republican. One can truly apply the famous Yiddish dictum here: “Man plans and God laughs.”
In addition to the larger question — can a liberal and conservative truly love and have a successful marriage? — Tamara’s piece raises a number of other interesting issues.
She writes that one reason she was sure she would never experience the “terror” of dating a Republican is that “I don’t even know very many Republicans.”
I admire Tamara’s honesty. But given that about half the country votes Republican, this fact is worthy of note.
How would a liberal react to a conservative Christian writing in a Christian journal, “I don’t even know very many Democrats”? Presumably, he or she would assume that this person had led a cloistered and insular life. And they would be right.
But isn’t this also true of many liberal Jews?
I grew up in New York, and I realized at a young age that, for all intents and purposes, I was living in a liberal Jewish ghetto. I rarely met non-Jews and do not recall ever meeting a conservative, Jew or non-Jew (certainly not at Columbia University).
I came to realize how insular New York City was. What really blew my mind was that liberal New Yorkers considered themselves among the most universal, cosmopolitan, worldly and intellectually open people in America.
Yet, these people socialized with, dined with, read, listened to and married people who agreed with them on virtually every significant issue of life. If the archetypical New York Jewish liberal, Woody Allen, had to spend a week alone in a small town in Idaho or Alabama, he would probably feel as if he had traveled in a time machine or been transported to a foreign culture. He would feel much more at home in Oslo or Paris even if he didn’t speak a word of Norwegian or French.
It was one of the revelations of my early life that a Tennessee or Montana conservative was far more familiar with liberals and liberalism than a New York or Los Angeles liberal was with conservatives and conservatism.