I’m a Liberal

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I live in a retirement community that is filled with active retirees,
people in their 60s and 70s who, in their youth, considered themselves
social activists. My generation likes to think we brought the world
everything from women’s lib to gay and black power. But many of
these folks got very conservative when they got older and made
money. This election is turning our community into a microcosm of
society. People have stopped talking to neighbors and no one agrees
on anything. What can I do to make peace?

I’m a Liberal

Dear Liberal:

There’s an old quote that goes something like, If you’re not liberal
when you’re young, you have no heart. If you’re not more
conservative when you’re old, you have no head. The good news is
that the primary voting has (finally) begun and the field of candidates
will become increasingly narrow, so the number of wannabes to argue
about will be fewer, though that doesn’t mean the discussions will be
any kinder.

My advice is to ask two simple questions, and then listen, repeat
listen, to the responder’s answer before you jump in with your point of
view: Is there anyone you like in this election? [listening] Why? Have
your own list of why you like your own favorite candidate ready, and
be prepared to debate everything from income inequality to health
care and Israel. In the long run, you’re going to have to put your body
and time where your mouth is. That means volunteering at phone
banks, door-knocking and leafleting, sitting outside malls, or whatever
else you may be asked to do. But if you expect a Cruz-lover to swing
towards Bernie, or a Hilary-devotee to embrace Rubio, you’ll likely be
sorely disappointed. The best you can hope for is civility and mutual
respect, and you can help create that by modeling good behavior.