Groups protesting the National Football League’s recent claim to the “Who Dat” and fleur-de-lis trademarks have been popping up on Facebook.
“Have you joined any of them?” my husband, a long-suffering New Orleans Saints fan, asked me the other night at dinner as he toyed with his rubber bracelet emblazoned with “Who Dat” and a fleur-de-lis.
“Nope,” I replied with my mouth full of cod.
“Why not? Why is the NFL claiming trademark infringement now?” he huffed. “Because the Saints are in their first-ever Super Bowl? It’s so transparent and greedy.”
“Yup, I assume they’re doing it now precisely because the Saints are in their first-ever Super Bowl. Clearly the NFL recognizes there’s money to be made. Sounds pretty shrewd to me, actually,” I said matter-of-factly, taking another bite.
He didn’t even try to hide his disgust as he threw down his fork. “Your soul is eroding.”
I would have argued otherwise, but I’m pretty sure the corrosion of my liberal spirit has been under way for quite some time.
I always thought you had to keep an AK-47 under your pillow or have a lot of money (or at the least the potential to make or inherit a lot of money) to be a Republican. Yet in the last few years, despite my noticeable lack of firearms or a healthy (or any) portfolio, there have been increasing signs that I’m inching farther and farther to the right.
On a lark during the 2004 presidential election, I watched much of the coverage on Fox News Channel and found myself agreeing with the pundits that Sen. John Kerry was about as lame as they get. He ran a terrible campaign and stupidly allowed himself to be “Swiftboated.” I’m fairly certain I could have beaten him, and this is coming from the girl who only eked out a third-place (out of four) finish in her sixth-grade class’ presidential election. It’s hard to wave the liberal flag while conceding that George W. Bush managed to outsmart someone (anyone).
I’m also all for government wiretapping. If the feds think listening in on phone conversations between my dad and me about the latest offerings at Costco will help prevent a nuclear attack on the United States, then I will actually go a step further and supply them with our receipts. If taking off my shoes at the airport will keep us safe from jihadist hijackers, then let me be the first in line to offer my pants as well.
No one’s more surprised than me that these days I lean more toward elephants than donkeys. I used to wear a (lone) dreadlock in my hair and Birkenstocks and had a tapestry hanging in my college dorm room. I marched on Washington twice during the first Bush administration and traveled to more Grateful Dead shows than my parents would care to discuss.
But the truth is, there were signs pointing to my right tendencies way before W won his first (legitimate) presidency.
Ted Burdick, my ninth-grade boyfriend, was such a WASP he could proudly and definitively trace his ancestors to the exact date they arrived in America on the Mayflower (although admittedly, my husband can trace an ancestor to the date he landed on Plymouth Rock, too). Something about Ted’s Young Republican arrogance made my knees buckle, which could explain why I occasionally get sucked into an hour or two of Rush Limbaugh.
Except for Garrison Keillor, I also enjoy listening to public radio, while at the same time recognizing that news organizations like NPR are about as left-leaning as the Tower of Pisa (as viewed from the East, anyway). (And yes, I’ve seen the studies provided by NPR that swear that more NPR listeners are registered Republicans than Democrats. I’ve seen “The Wizard of Oz,” too, and yet still don’t live in fear of houses falling from the sky.)
I’m not sure what the big brouhaha is over investment bankers receiving bonuses, either. As Fulton J. Sheen said, “Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.” Besides, I was always taught it’s not polite to count other people’s money.
Ultimately, though, there are a few highly-charged political issues that will forever keep me just to the left of the right. Plus, my deep love for anything written by David Sedaris as well as my distinct dislike of gin martinis (for breakfast) and plaid pants all but ensure the Republicans would probably prefer I keep a respectable distance anyway.
After dinner my husband glared at me and wryly quoted Winston Churchill, “If you’re not a liberal at 20 you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 40 you have no brain.”
I wouldn’t go quite so far as to call myself a conservative, but I also have a few more years before turning 40, so there’s hope for me yet.
More on and from Meredith at www.MeredithCarroll.com.