“I’m Cam Brady and I seductively approve this message.” Cam Brady (Will Ferrell the Campaign)
In the movie The Campaign Will Ferrell played a North Carolina Congressman named “Cam Brady” running for re-election. When I saw the movie I laughed so hard at different points that I thought I was going to hurt myself.
Tonight I was out having dinner and a beer at my local haunt near the Island Hermitage and I met a man who was sitting next to my usual gang of locals. They introduced me to him and he to me and after he found out that I was in the military her told the bartender, Grace to put my drink on his tab. I am not one to pass up a beer so I was most gracious. He began to talk and tell me about his occupation, a political campaign consultant for various Republican candidates in North Carolina and Virginia.
That does not bother me a bit, so long as a person is nice to me and buys my beer. I do not pick friends based on their political, religious or social views, but sometimes I will balk at friendships with Los Angeles Dodgers’ or USC Trojans fans. Something to do with me being a San Francisco Giants fan and quasi UCLA Bruin alumnus since I was commissioned through that university’s Army ROTC program. Even so I will make exceptions at times even in these cases. People are people and if God loves them I do the best that I can to love them as well.
Tonight was on of the more fascinating encounters that I have had in a while. My new friend at the bar, who I will call “Cam” to protect his identity had obviously had a couple of drinks too many before I arrived. My local friends, who all knew him were like me being polite, even though he was a bit on the obnoxious but friendly side. Before I knew it I was treated to Cam’s views on President Obama, Hilary Clinton, gays in the military, support for the troops, and gun control. The last of which he felt the need to show me his NRA membership card to demonstrate his credentials of where he fell on the issue.
Again, if someone is friendly I really don’t care what their politics or religion are as anyone that knows me can testify. So I carefully listened to him and decided not to go into any confrontation mode. It would have been unseemly, especially since I was drinking the beer that he had just put on his tab. I am not ungracious nor do I want to create any kind of scene.
As the conversation went on he showed me pictures of him on his smart phone with various political figures including the new governor of North Carolina, the late Senator Jesse Helms and failed senatorial candidate and Fox News commentator Oliver North. I actually thought that was kind of cool, I have pictures of me with various diplomatic, political, military and sports figures that I hold quite dear myself.
Now this was where things got weird. He told me that he could get me anything that I wanted anywhere in the state, because we in the military deserved support. Now of course military ethics rules and regulations are strict that we cannot receive accept certain gifts or political favors. A beer is one thing, a night with call girl or escort is not. “Cam” told me that he could make that happen, and I politely refused citing that I was married and also a chaplain. He told me that my wife “didn’t need to know” and I said that it would not be appropriate for me to accept any such offer. Thankfully “Cam” did change the subject, and began to visit with one of my buddies who arrived late and the buddy on my right mentioned that “Cam” had some “issues.” I responded that “Cam” didn’t just have issues, but had the “full subscription.”
A few minutes later “Cam” began talking to me again. He mentioned a recent divorce, an ulcer that kept him from drinking hard liquor and his expectation of a political appointment to a state job from the new Governor, who he said he had worked for for a number of years. He also noted that he was a “economic” conservative and not a “social” conservative. I think that might have divined from his offer of free sex at GOP expense that he was not a “social conservative” but at least he was honest about where he sat on the political spectrum. He said that he was “center-right” and I said that I was “center-left.” It turned out that we had more to agree on than not.
We were able to maintain a civil and friendly banter during the time that he remained at the bar, and when he found that I did not agree with some of his politics it was not an issue. I told him that I didn’t need to agree with a person’s politics, religion or any other views to be their friend and and he looked at me kind of funny and then said, that “it didn’t matter who I voted for so long as I voted.” I said “after all, we’re Americans, we don’t need to agree with each other to respect that.” With that he raised his wine glass and we toasted the country and wished each other well. My friends at the bar said that I handled “Cam” very well.
I departed with a new friendly acquaintance. As the real movie Cam Brady said: “America, Jesus, freedom.”
I love America.