|Mary Katharine Ham and Jake Brewer from the Washington Post|
The whole tragedy got me thinking; could I be married to a woman with whom I had such stark political differences? The answer turns out to be a resounding "NO", but what is behind it is worth a little discussion and introspection.
I have dated liberal women. I have dated liberal women for brief periods of time and enjoyed it. But I have never (to my knowledge) been in a long romantic relationship with anyone left of center. Either I tire of them, or they tire of me. Mostly the latter. I thought a lot about Jake Brewer, and I thought about what it takes to love someone with whom one disagrees. I thought that perhaps Jake, and others who are able to love those of vastly different ideologies, was a better person than I. That goes for Mary Katharine Ham also.
But then I began to think about what I believe. My political ideology stems from very fundamental and foundational views of the human condition and man's relationship to others and to the government. In other words, my political ideology is not unimportant or ephemeral. It is part of who I am, and because it is so dearly held, I have a basic prejudice against those who disagree with it. And that prejudice boils down to this: if I cannot trust their judgment on issues as transcendent as these, why would I trust their judgment on matters more trivial? If my political bent sounds religious to you, you're onto something--because I'm thinking that as I read what I have written. I could find a woman with whom I am in complete agreement about how to raise children, division of labor in the house, finances, and what to watch on TV, who captivates me physically and intellectually, who shares my love of travel and of sitting around reading--but if she belittles free markets, if she embraces socialized medicine, if she fetishizes redistribution of income, if she believes in MORE government in our lives rather than LESS--I would have to look elsewhere.
To be blunt, I cannot fathom the life that these two accomplished young people had together. I could not do what they did. Don't get me wrong--there is not political harmony in my house. We disagree on certain things--but on the big political questions, we are generally in accord.
Perhaps I put too much stake in politics. That there are far more important things in life. Perhaps these two discovered that in each other, and I have so very much to learn. Such is likely. But in the meantime, I stay mired in the muck of my own making.