I spent Thanksgiving with a flock of right-wing turkeys

 

I was without daily Internet access for five days while visiting my elderly mother in South Florida. She needed her den repainted after water damage from a roof leak and wanted us to spend the holiday weekend with her.

 

The painting turned out to be far more pleasant than Thanksgiving Day, which we spent breaking bread with some active, virulent members of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. Shoot me and put me out of my misery before I ever partake in a dinner party like that again.

 

But I will relive it for the entertainment of AHNC readers. Here is the cast of characters, with the names of some participants changed to protect them from public ridicule and possible institutional confinement:

 

The hostess, my cousin Connie, who moved to Boca Raton after retiring a decade ago and joined the local Republican Club – mainly to meet people.
Stella, the 80-year-old, name-dropping widow of a Boston mattress manufacturer who left her a small fortune.
Marco, Stella’s 40-something companion, who claims to be a doctor of some arcane subject or another, but definitely not medicine. Possibly a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist or herbalist, although he never specified clearly.
Kay, a middle-aged manufacturer’s rep who thinks the economy has been doing just fine for the past several years, thank you, because she has done just fine.
Frick and Frack, a married couple in their late 50s or early 60s. She’s from Ireland, and he’s Rush Limbaugh in a slender, 5'-3" frame.
My mother Henriette, an 85-year-old, life-long Democrat and admitted racist who still was able to bring herself to vote for Barack Obama, or so she says.
My husband Dave who, unbeknownst to me, had begun baiting some of the GOP kool-aide drinkers as soon as he heard them express their political beliefs.

 

We were seated separately because Connie’s dining table wasn’t large enough for all of us. Dave, seated with Stella, Marco and Kay, told me later about the conversation at that table.

 

Kay – “I’m surprised Obama hasn’t picked more liberal people for the cabinet and other jobs. Like that Ayers guy. I think the liberals are getting pretty upset that he hasn’t picked people like Ayers.”

 

Stella – “They’re all liberal, every one that he’s picked! That Emmanuel guy – he’s the biggest liberal of them all. I’m Jewish, but not a liberal Jew like him. And Hillary – he’s going to make her the secretary of state! She’s as liberal as they come. She wanted to nationalize health care! They’re all pro-union liberals. If you only knew what my husband had to go through to keep the union out of our factory! You watch. Obama will find a place for Ayers and some of those other communist friends of his!”

 

Marco – “Oh, don’t worry about Ayers! He’s a nobody. He’s not going to be appointed to anything.

Worry about Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. Worry about the bailout the Democrats are going to give to the automakers in Detroit. Every elected official from Michigan is a Democrat, and they’re going to protect all those union workers making $70 an hour! Dave, what do you think about Obama and the people he’s picking?”

 

Dave – “Well, I’m most interested in who he picks for attorney general. I think we need a real professional prosecutor who can start gathering evidence for treason and war crimes charges against Cheney and maybe Bush, although I suspect Dubya was just a puppet in this trumped-up war against Iraq.”

 

Dave told me later that there was a silence of several seconds while his three table-mates sat staring at him with their mouths open, half-chewed food showing. Then the eruption.

 

“What do you mean? How can you say such a thing? This was a legitimate war for our self-defense! You’re one of them – the liberals who want to see the U.S. destroyed!”

 

But I didn’t hear any of that exchange because of the discussion at the table where I was seated with my mother, Frick and Frack.

 

Frick said her brother receives horrible health care in Ireland, and if he hadn't had a heart attack shortly after visiting his doctor he would have had to wait three more weeks to get tests in a hospital before being scheduled for surgery. He might have died. I asked if her brother was OK, and she said yes, the government medical system approved and paid for the necessary surgery and he was recovering well. I replied, "I wish the U.S. would provide affordable health care or more affordable health insurance. Good for Ireland."
 

 Frack, Frick's husband then blurted out "The reason health care is so expensive in the U.S. is because all lawyers are crooks.”

 

I said some of the high health insurance costs in the U.S. were due to medical malpractice by a small minority of doctors who were not being effectively banned from practice by the American Medical Association. Frack’s response?

 

“That’s a lie.” Then he got up from the dinner table and walked away.

 

 After dessert, people changed seats and mingled over coffee and wine. Stella had moved into one of the chairs at my table. What do you think of the election, she asked?

 

"I’m just glad there will be smart people in the White House. Maybe they can get us out of this economic mess."

 

She removed the sunglasses she had worn throughout the afternoon to reveal an infected, blood-shot eye and paused several seconds before responding. "Bill Clinton caused the fall of Enron, you know, and Obama will do the same to other businesses."

 

Wow, what do you say to a statement like that? I felt it best to reply in factual informational style.

 

"Enron execs were caught lying to their own stockholders and fellow execs. I don't think Bill Clinton had anything to do with that." Then I tried to change the subject by asking if she had heard about some interesting medical research being done at a university near her old home in Boston. Stella interrupted that her close friend – supposedly the dean of a well known college in Boston – told her that all university professors are communists. Wow, another ball smacked deep to right field.

 

I laughed and couldn’t help but say, "Stella, do you really believe all college professors are communists? We have many of the best universities in the world, and people flock to this country to study at them. How can you believe that?"

 

Stella growled something about "Ronnie (as in Reagan) always said that the liberals and communists ruined our country. Before he was governor in California, I used to get him as guest speaker for GOP fund-raisers I helped organize. He never brought Nancy on those trips. We used to always make sure he had a special dinner from the kitchen, not what was on the menu for everybody who was attending. He was such a lovely man, he … blah,blah,blah."

 

I dabbed at my mouth with a linen napkin as if I were wiping away a crumb. Actually I was trying to avoid projectile vomiting.

 

We left my cousin’s townhouse after about several hours. Marco had been haranguing Dave for the final hour or so of that time, telling him about all the famous people that he knew or was related to, about all the countries he had visited, about the hundreds of thousands of dollars he had made or lost in stock market transactions and other business deals. And about all the girlfriends he had – when he wasn’t busy squiring Stella around Palm Beach.

 

As we walked out to the car with my mother, Marco hung on Dave’s arm, anxious to finish one more anecdote.

 

“My uncle was the president of Paraguay for many years,” Marco said. “He was a great man, he did great things for his country. Sometimes he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”

 

“Do you mean Stroessner?” Dave asked incredulously. “The dictator?”

 

“Yes, you have heard of him?” Marco clearly was pleased.

 

Dave got behind the wheel of our car, started it up and backed out of the driveway, giving Marco a half-hearted wave as we got the hell out of there.

 

The next night, Connie visited my mother’s place to say goodbye before I left for home. She asked about our conversations with her friends – much of which she had not heard while performing as hostess. She was concerned that some of her Republican friends might have come on too strongly, that we might have felt awkward. And naturally, Connie and I ended up rehashing the previous night’s political debate. One of her final statements before we said goodbye was this gem: “You know the Clintons had Vince Foster killed. They left a lot of bodies behind them.”

 

In retrospect, I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. It affirmed my belief that there continues to be a need for this website and others like it, even though Bush is about to leave office and the Republican Party is in disarray.

 

The right-wing turkeys are still out there. They are enraged over their loss of political power, and they will continue to do and say things that we can lampoon. AHNC thanks them.