I live approximately a mile away from Ava/Shadow Lounge — a popular local venue that hosts everything from hardcore hip-hop to “hipster music” shows, houses numerous parties and community events, and seems to have hidden forces determined to make it the area’s latest gentrification casualty. It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve been there at least 100 times (and possibly as many as 200) in the last five years.
It nests on the corner of Baum Boulevard and Highland Avenue. If you stand on Baum and Highland and look a block down the street, you can see Capri Bar, another venue that houses numerous parties and events. And, this block distance isn’t one of those New York City-esque two mile long blocks, either. I won’t lie and say that it’s so close that I can throw a football from Ava/Shadow to Capri, but Cam Newton probably could.
Yet, despite the fact that Capri usually has decent DJs, always has available parking, draws decent-sized crowds, and has a couple distinct advantages over Shadow/Ava (they serve food, and their bar has TVs), I’ve been to Capri maybe five times in the last three years.
Now, I know the owner of Ava/Shadow pretty well, and I’m also pretty cool with many of the bartenders and bouncers, but that alone doesn’t explain why I’m 50 times more likely to attend an event there than one at Capri. It — my less than positive feelings about Capri — all comes down to the fact that I just don’t like the crowd Capri usually draws. Like I mentioned before, the venues and the weekend events held at each venue aren’t really all that dissimilar. And, they’re only 70 yards away from each other. But, something about Capri attracts a crowd that’s just a little sketchier than the typical Ava/Shadow crowd, and I don’t feel as comfortable there.
Now, if you read today’s title and also at least managed to graduate from middle school, you probably surmised that this Ava/Capri conundrum is a long-winded analogy for my feelings about the Democratic and Republican parties. You’re correct. It is. You’re probably also assuming that I’m going to preface the rest of this piece by saying something like “Even though that analogy is far from perfect, I still think that….” If you made this assumption, you’re incorrect. The Ava/Capri conundrum is in fact a perfect representation of my feelings about both parties, and perfectly encapsulates why I’d never vote for a f*cking republican.
Becoming moderate usually means that you’re either moving from right to left or from left to right. Basically, most people don’t really become moderate, that’s just where they happen to currently be as they make their move from one side of the political spectrum to another. For as long as I’ve been politically aware, though, I can’t remember ever leaning liberal or conservative. I was born sitting on a fence, and I’ve neither seen nor heard no good reason to jump off any time soon. No wonder why I’m so bowlegged.
Perhaps the main reason why I’ve been able to entertain arguments and theories (well, intelligent and reasonable arguments and theories) from both sides is because, well, I just don’t think (intelligent and reasonable) democrats and (intelligent and reasonable) republicans are all that different. It’s popular to make it seem like choosing between the two is a life or death proposition, but, from a sheer policy perspective, it’s really no different than deciding between Red Lobster and The Olive Garden.
I don’t think Republican/conservative policy is inherently racist or sexist or stupid or wrong, and I also don’t believe that “a person with Republican/conservative beliefs” = “a stupid or sexist or racist person.” It’s just a difference in beliefs, and I can think of numerous occasions when I listened to someone like David Frum or George Will or even Andrew Sullivan and thought “Damn. That was a great point.”
I realize my opinion isn’t exactly universal. I’m sure there will be many staunch democrats reading this who think I’m absolutely, categorically wrong, and that voting for republicans is like voting for syphilis. But, despite the difference in perception, our actions are the same. The staunch liberal thinks “Republican” = “burning urination,” and they never vote for republicans. I think “Republican” = “unlimited salad and breadsticks,” and I also never vote for republicans.
Our actions align because of one simple point: My issues with republicans are all about people.
Whether it’s the message or the policies or the platform, something about the modern Republican party just continues to attract people like Todd Akin and the type of people who’d still vote for Todd Akin and the type of people who think so little of Black people that they’ll brazenly throw peanuts at Black camerawomen at densely populated events. And, I will never willingly align myself with people like that.
I realize “never” is pretty extreme. And, as I mentioned before, I know their parties probably aren’t all that different than the parties I usually attend. Still, republicans could be passing out free pancakes and p*ssy at the door, but until they do something about the type of people their parties attract, I’ll keep my ass across the street.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)