Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton Alone In A Room With a Bottle of Scotch: Finding Common Ground on Coffee
Part 1 in a recurring series on finding common ground between liberals and conservatives.
There are so few things liberals and conservatives can agree on these days. I am a pretty far left liberal, living downtown in a large city. But I come from a loving, conservative family, most of whom still live in the small town I was born in. One thing we do well — we all love each other and we know how to have civil conversations on the many, many things we disagree on.
This post will be the first in a series I write about trying to find common ground on the long list of things we — as Americans— seem so deeply divided on. Despite the angry rhetoric and polarity that seems to dominate the news these days, I am optimistic. There are so many basic values we share, I find it hard to accept that we are actually as angry with one another as we seem to think we are. We just need to have the patience to really listen to one another — in other words, we need to put Reagan and Clinton in a room with a bottle of scotch and it can all be worked out.
I’m going to start with coffee. This should be an easy one.
When I was back home, years ago, my cousin asked me if I wanted to go out and get a cup of coffee. I asked if we could go somewhere that had lattes. I knew there was a new cafe in town that had good espresso and lattes and suggested we go there. He was kind of appalled — “I can’t go in there”. He went on to explain that the cafe was were the rich bureaucrats and teachers from the university hung out. He had never stepped foot in the place. Besides ‘what kind of idiot spends four dollars on a cup of coffee. And lattes are a girly drink.
He was partly right. He would stand out at most of the cafes I normally go to. He’s a plumber’s apprentice and usually looks like he just crawled out of the basement he had been laying pipe in all morning. I can see why he would be a little self-aware, sitting there with a bunch of people in business suits and designer clothes. And he’s also right, for a guy who makes 20 dollars and hour, it does seem a little nuts to spend four dollars on a cup of coffee... sometimes a couple times a day.