Stiff Drinks for â€˜Those Damn Repelicansâ€™
â€œNext thing you know,â€ the Southern Bushwhacker said with a chuckle, â€œthereâ€™ll be a woman in the Oval Office.â€ â€œOr maybe even a Jew,â€ I suggested.
During the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philly, I actually worked for the Republicans. At 2:30 each day of the RNC, I turned my donkey tail and ran a few blocks south to a defunct armory, where I bartended at the Republican partyâ€™s parties.
The highlight of my week of double shifts came on the day Jeb Bush spoke during an afternoon party. The governor of Florida looked like a bloated Dubya doppelganger as he took the podium, which was covered by colorful garlands. Governor Bushâ€™s hair was parted on the same side as his brotherâ€™s, though his face looked less smug. I donâ€™t remember the content of Governor Bushâ€™s speech, however, because as he spoke, a pudgy Southerner began chatting me up while I made him a lime daiquiri on the rocks.
â€œIâ€™m looking forward to seeing Colin Powell speak tonight down at the convention,â€ he said in a gruff drawl as I shook rum and sour mix together in my shaker. He wore a sweat-stained cowboy hat and a bolo with leather strings coming down through the nostrils of a silver steer skull. I was surprised he wasnâ€™t raptly listening to Governor Bushâ€™s speech, though few partygoers were.
â€œHe should be a decent speaker,â€ I said, hoping for a tip as I strained his drink over ice.
â€œJust glad heâ€™s not running for president,â€ the Southerner offered in a whisper.
â€œOh, really, whyâ€™s that?â€ I asked, somewhat distracted by the oversize â€œKiss me, Iâ€™m Republicanâ€ pin.
â€œWelp,â€ he explained, leaning a little closer as the strings from his bolo disturbed the spiral tower of cocktail napkins that Iâ€™d carefully sculpted at the beginning of my shift, â€œbetween you and me, heâ€™s black.â€
â€œNext thing you know,â€ the Southern Bushwhacker said with a chuckle, â€œthereâ€™ll be a woman in the Oval Office.â€
For some reason, I thought of my Jewish grandmother, and what she would do in my place. She would probably have leapt across the counter and strangled him with his own bolo; this Republican stereotype, this poor excuse for a human being that I had actually served. Instead, I decided to kill him with kindness.
â€œOr maybe even a Jew,â€ I suggested.
He let out a belly laugh that he immediately stifled for fear of attracting too much attention. â€œDonâ€™t even get me started!â€ he said, waving his hands over his head as he walked away, as if surrendering to his own bigotry.