Legend has it that when Colorado prospector Alferd Packer was convicted for the crime of cannibalism in 1883, District Court Judge Melville Gerry sentenced him thusly: “Stand up, Alferd Packer, you voracious, man-eating SOB. There were seven Democrats in Hindsdale County, and you ate five of ’em.”
Not true, but a great story, and one way to show that Americans have always had a tendency to make everything about politics.
I was reminded of that last Tuesday while reading Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s feature on Salon.com: “I can’t believe my best friend is a Republican.” The article is a bit tortured, as Taffy struggles in print to reconcile her genuine affection for Janet, even though Janet totes a gun, drives a big SUV complete with a “REPEAL” Obamacare bumper sticker, and admires Sarah Palin—in short, “stands for all the things I find bad and wrong in the world.” How can they be friends? By going home. Their friendship is built around child-rearing, fat-burning (they met in a weight-loss group), laughter, and meals. Lines have broken with the bread; their husbands socialize, and their children, too. At times Ms. Brodesser-Ackner agonizes over her friend’s views on, say, defunding Planned Parenthood, but she listens to what the other has to say, marveling that “she believes what she’s telling me and she’s studied the issues.”

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