I still hate talking about politics. high emotions in debates render me blushing and inarticulate. I form my opinions so much better when I type. But writing stuff out seems like a cop-out. Or a unilateral offensive.
I remember when I was in university and Josh was in NYC, working for this right wing Jewish/Israeli group. Fortunately for Josh, he knows that changing your mind can be proof that you have one. And after a while, he became disenchanted with the group's militant, unilateral stance and became more left-leaning. But he was still working at this org, because of visa issues.
To cut a long story short, he invited me to this conference in Ithaca (it's gorge-ous) to hang out with him. The organization paid for my ticket. We stayed in this motel and had our conference at Cornell. Members from across the States came for the weekend. Some were cool, some were dorky, many wore crocheted kippas and had a hard time talking to girls.
Other than hanging with Josh, I spent a lot of time keeping my politics to myself (see first paragraph). The first evening, I found myself reeling with some of the statements made, and the pervasive sense of entitlement and victimization in their worldview (my interpretation: "we have to be unyeilding and protect ourselves, because since time immemorial, "they" have always tried to kill us and always will.")
I got really tipsy that night on American beer and danced all by myself at a college club to Little Red Corvette and The Pixies.
On the final day, the organization invited someone from a more centrist camp to talk about peace processes and reconcilliation with the Palestinians. You could see people tense up as he spoke. They barraged him with harsh questions, but he held his ground with equanimity. (he rather liked the attack, I think).
Driving back to Manhattan, this chatty sophmore from Ohio - who had been the proverbial dopey, compulsive hugger who had a semisexual relationship with many of the girls at the conference - was uncharacteristically quiet. As we drove through a little peice of Pennsylvania, he began to fume about the last speaker. He could not refute the spekers arguments and could not articulate why a separate value system made him feel so tense. He just knew that different views made him angry. "That guy. What a dick! I wanted to kill him!"