I have always loved Oregon. It’s gray, but green; rainy, but mild, and I grew up here. When the sun comes out over the windy gravel backroads, lined with wild irises or blooming wild apple trees or dense blackberry thickets, it’s homey in a way that mountains and oceans can never be to me. Everyone should be nice here.

At Samuel’s spring scrimmage game on Friday, as I stood on the sidelines, I heard a white college kid addressing a well-dressed older black man behind me. The college kid seemed intent on winning cool points; in any case, I heard him say, without much lead-up: “Republicans just want a Fuhrer they can get behind and march.” He then went on to detail how he was planning on becoming wealthy by using his special talents: being not very good at anything but knowing a little bit about everything.

Republicans are mindlessly marching on towards happily ever after? What about belligerent undergrads who think they’ve arrived at enlightenment because they can diss “the establishment” with the underdog — never mind that they can’t do much more than pass some general-studies tests in the establishment (government-funded second-tier schools for the poor and/or S.A.T-challenged). And what is this nonsense that a well-dressed black man needs the whiny approval of a college democrat, anyway; needs to be singled out as the underdog and sided with?

Skip to Saturday. I’m having lunch with a friend in Portland. We’re in a trendy bistro in the trendy Pearl district; Michal chats it up with local musicians who pass by on the street. She tells me that one of her customers, earlier that day, had handed her a deposit slip with the question: “you’re not a Republican, are you?”

“What if I was?” asks Michal.

“I don’t do business with Republicans,” the guy says, starting to get angry.

“Isn’t that discrimination?” Michal parries.

“I’m not discriminating on your race,” he retorts. (so, ok, you can hate someone for not holding the same views you do? Why get mad at Republicans in the first place, then? Their supposed staunch moral hatred is the main reason you’re dissatisfied with them, right?) Michal tries to calm him down; he proceeds to go on a rant. And note that she never said she was a Republican in the first place.

We finish our lunch and walk a few blocks to a brewery, where Samuel and dad are. Michal gets an Obsidian Stout; Sam gets a Porter. I drink water. I’m frugal and health-conscious; they’re cool.

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