Once a year my extended family, 50 or so strong, convenes for a week in our ancestral summer redoubt, Seaside Park, New Jersey.
For those unfamiliar with the geography, Seaside Park shares a boardwalk with its more famous neighbor to the north, Seaside Heights, or, as snobbier New Jerseyans call it, “Sleazeside Heights.”
They were calling it “Sleazeside Heights” even before the inarguably sleazy reality TV show “Jersey Shore” was filmed there. Sleaziness has long been part of the boardwalk’s charm.
Given our Newark provenance, our family skews slightly right but accommodates a fairly full spectrum of political posturing. Those on the right may not identify as “conservatives” or “Republicans,” but they know they are definitely not “liberals.”
For the last few years, we have agreed to not talk politics in public settings, especially presidential politics, but among political allies there is a good deal of discussion.
Given the way we are scattered across the country, around the world for that matter, the shore is the only time many of us see each other in a given year.
What more than a few of my kin have asked me, even those who are ideologically indifferent, is a variation of the question, “Why are they acting so crazy?”
The “they” in question are the “liberals.” From what my relatives tell me, liberals are acting crazy back in whatever part of the country they have come from.
What confounds those who raise this question is that many of their liberal friends and co-workers and family live their lives very much like the way they do themselves.
Their liberal friends have jobs, spouses, homes and children that they care for much as conservatives do. In the way of example, an outside observer who dropped by our family fajita night could spend hours among us and leave without having any idea who voted for whom in the 2016 election.
A few of my allies tell me they have asked the liberals in their orbit how their lives under Donald Trump are any different than they were under Barack Obama.
It is a good question. If anything, liberals today have more money than a few years ago, not less, more job opportunities, not fewer. They have lost no freedoms, suffered no indignities, sacrificed no rights, fought no more wars.
When my family allies ask these questions of liberal friends and family, the liberals express nothing more tangible than a concern about the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade.
They worry about this because they do not understand the way the constitutionalists on the high court think. Even with a 5-4 majority, the justices will not ban abortion as the Constitution is silent on that issue. They would likely send the decision back to the states where it belongs.
Given the blueness of New Jersey and New York for that matter, it is highly unlikely that locals will lose the right to terminate their unborn in the foreseeable future. That reality is unfortunate but true.
The liberals’ failure to understand this basic an issue speaks to the nature of their problem: an increasingly monolithic media that can now sustain its numbers only by feeding liberal outrage.
In a discussion a small group of us kicked around the Putin issue. Several of us had either seen the notorious press conference or read the transcript. No one, myself included, could see what the fuss was about.
The issue died quickly, we concluded, because our liberal friends were not sure what the fuss was about either. If they took to the streets to protest, they would not have the slightest idea what to put on their signs.
There will be a new outrage next week, I am certain, but there will thousands of good people at the Shore who simply refuse to acknowledge it.
There is something refreshingly democratic about the Shore. It is a place where illusions go not to die, but to take a breather.
On Sunday afternoon, as I watched the final round of the British Open Golf Tournament at the Sawmill, our local bar, I could see scores of people around me drinking beer and eating pizza who have lost not a wink of sleep over the Putin summit, family separation, Russian collusion, or Stormy Daniels.
And sometimes, indifference is a good thing.