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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

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Readers Blog: BeautyBee

Love & Politics. It use to be race and religion were the deal breakers. But now it's politics.

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I am a woman that has always dated who I wanted to date.

It matters not to me if family and friends approve of a man I dated, I always had the belief that too many people are quick to tell others not to be with this person or that person, leaving them alone. All the while they are going home to a spouse, kids, pets, TV and chaos, while the person they told not to date someone is going home to a quiet home with nothing to greet them but some take out and cable news.

Nope, I have always dated who I wanted to.

And given the fact I am single and not in a relationship.... and can count on one hand how many relationships I have been in, that speaks to my inability to choose wisely when it comes to affairs of the heart. While others are hung up on race or ethnicity, never opting to date outside their race. I have dated (almost) every ethnicity on the planet. German, Irish, Italian, Greek, Native American, Asian, Polish and of course Black, I love diversity. Trust me if George Clooney were to ask me out, I would not turn him down simply because he isn't Black! :-)

Then you have religion. Some people refuse to date those that don't share their religious beliefs. I'm Christian (well really I consider myself more spiritual than religious) and for a long time I wouldn't date someone that didn't believe in God. I should clarify that, I believed the guy had to believe in a higher power, as long as he believed in something. That is until I met and fell in love with an Atheist. UGH! What was I thinking? That was a tough one. He was super smart and very analytical about everything. Drove me crazy. I won't make that mistake again.

I have a friend who has wealth beyond words. She is a top executive and lives in River Hills. She met and fell in love with a Polish plumber from the South Side and broke up with him because he is......wait for it....wait for it....POOR! I know, how horrible. :-) She was embarrassed that he isn't as educated as her friends and business colleagues, yet she glowed in his presence. Beamed with love and lust for him. They finished each other sentences and he is (IMO) what most woman are seeking in a man. Someone that is strong, honest, romantic and kind.

What separated them wasn't race or religion, but instead class. Wisconsin class. I see it all the time. Men and women refusing to date anyone that isn't from their economic class or social standing. Men and women from the North Shore that refuse to date someone from Cudahy or West Allis. Embarrassed by those that speak with the proverbial "De, de're, do'es" and broken english that comes with some German and Polish Wisconsinite. As in "How's 'bout dem de're Packers eh?" I myself have felt the sting of it. At first blush I told myself it was race, but soon realized it wasn't our difference in race that was the sticking point, it was economics and class. I wasn't rich enough, successful enough to fit in with their ilk.

Yes, I see the class difference a lot.

Now however, we have entered into a distinction when it comes to dating and love I never thought would separate us. That of politics. This one I must admit has snuck up on me. I knew the moment Barack Obama became our first President of color, that it would mean change. Change for the good and bad. Because it was a commentary on who we are as a nation and how the mindset and beliefs of the majority, differed from those that were in the minority. Those that cling to the belief that America is White and all that means (or meant). I knew his election would mean divisiveness on some level. There would be anger and resentment. Cries of "I'm not racist, I just don't like his politics" from those carrying signs depicting him as an African with a bone through his nose.

The Tea Party, Libertarians, Republicans and Democrats....every one choosing up sides and no one willing to bend. For to bend is tantamount to being weak and giving in to the opposition. I had no idea we would slice and dice the electorate in the manner we have. I had no idea I would allow myself to join in this foolishness. And yet I have.

I would never date a Republican.

The republican party now is not what it use to be. I have dated MANY republicans in my life and it was never an issue. We would debate politics in a respectful manner. Conservative vs. Liberal...no big deal. Now, I see the Republican party as more Tea Party and rabid Right-wing than the logical, conservative party I always knew. One need only look at the stark contrast between both parties national conventions. The sea of White, mainly older people at the Republican convention, juxtaposed to the multi cultural, young/old rich/poor gay/straight throng of people at the Democratic convention. It was so glaring. So disturbing. I don't think I am alone in saying as a Black, liberal minded woman, I don't think I would have been welcomed to attend the Republican convention.

So now, at least for me, politics matters when it comes to dating. For years I wondered how in the world James Carville and Mary Matalin's marriage survives. Just the thought of it makes me cringe. Now I am at the stage where I rarely see and spend time with my republican friends.

Who would have ever guessed we would get to the place where race isn't the number one divider, now it seems to be politics.

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