Monday, December 27, 2004

Mr. Deeds goes to the Blue City

Last night my husband and I watched the Gary Cooper movie, "Mr Deeds Goes to the City" (is that the title?). Mid-way through the movie my husband commented, "This movie has a lot to say about the world today. Red states and blue states. The urban, the blue. Elitist, without heart." I lost it. "You've always lived in a city. You've never lived in a rural area in your life! Does that mean, you're blue." I was furious. He had turned this lovely movie into a tale about who voted for George Bush.

I shouldn't have screamed at him. That doesn't help. But this alarms me. My husband is semi-retired. Works out of our house in California (that's another story). He has a great deal of time he can use as he will. He spends hours each day listening to conservative talk radio--Rush Limbaugh in the morning, Michael Medved in the afternoon. And later in the day the likes of Michael Savage and others. He watches Fox News. And he reads books that tell about the elitist bias of the news, books written by the likes of Ann Coulter. Listening to his comments on the movie, made me think about the world he is inhabiting these days. It is so polarized: red and blue, democrat and republican, conservative and liberal. There is a moral struggle that falls along these lines. The good and the bad, the moral and the not moral, the duped and the wise.

I could definitely see a moral for our age in the Gary Cooper movie. But I don't see things falling out along these smooth, easy lines. And it is disturbing, alarming to see my husband stuffing the world into these categories. He is a kind and good man. An odd duck I love. He escaped Vietnam as a conscientious objector.

I wonder how many others live in this either/or kind of world. I hope not so many.

By the way, I've let the flag fly over my house over the past year. I make what I will of symbols. I love America. It's my flag too. I won't let him make the meaning of that.

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