Don’t Be Crazy Pete

I suspect the GOP will have the Senate in its possession tonight. I am optimistic for 53 seats, though I would settle for 51. I do not think the night closes with the fate of the Senate being unknown due to runoffs. I think Kansas Republicans will come home to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Pat Roberts93%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard93% too. The party leaders will work overtime running from their own victory claiming the nation has not just rejected Obama, but also conservatives. Nonetheless, the win is good for America in that it will restrain the President, if not the spending.

As votes are not cast yet and I have no fear that things will go badly for the GOP, allow me to say something here echoing my friend Dan Darling. But first, a story about “Crazy Pete.”

My wife and I lived across the street from a couple for ten years. They were very good neighbors. When we’d go out of town, Pete and his wife would watch our house. We’d do the same for them. When their dog got out of the house, I tracked him down and returned him to Pete and his wife. When our daughter was born, they brought her a present.

In 2008, we had a McCain-Palin sign in our yard. They had an Obama-Biden sign in their yard. It was the first time I even knew they were Democrats. It was not a topic we discussed. A drunk driver wrecked in their yard, I went over to see if Pete and his wife were okay, and the police officer joked that Pete looked like Dick Cheney. He laughed, looked at me, and said, “That’d be his guy.”

Sometime after Campaign 2008, I wound up on Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” list. About that time, we needed a guardrail replaced in our neighborhood. I was on city council and the Mayor wanted to use stimulus funds for those projects. That naturally made them slower and Council had no control over that decision. Pete came into my yard and asked me about it.

I explained the situation and he became rapidly more hostile. He then asked me about a local newspaper column I had written, demanding to know my qualifications for writing about the design and use of a building. It was all very odd. When I chuckled about his question, he blew his lid and started yelling at me for destroying the country. I was shocked. It was not something I expected. I turned to walk away and he began yelling louder. “Don’t you turn your back on me. I’m a taxpayer. You have to listen to me. I pay your salary,” he yelled. I just laughed and said I did not have to stand there, I wished him a nice day, then headed inside to him yelling, “How many people have you and Dick Cheney killed today.”

I am not kidding.

Thereafter, if I was in the yard, he would heckle me loudly. If my kids were in the yard, he would heckle them too. He would yell over to ask how many people I had scared or killed with Dick Cheney and then, after Cheney was gone, with Dick Armey.

We began calling him “Crazy Pete.”

Folks, the GOP is going to win tonight and probably win big even down to the local level in unexpected places. Some of your offline, real world neighbors may go “Crazy Pete,” but do not reciprocate. Be nice to your neighbors. It is one thing to talk with friends online and needle the other side, but a civil society depends on neighbors being civil. “Love your neighbor” is something we all need to do more of. If your neighbor stands in your yard to heckle you or yells at you in the grocery store (that’s also happened to me), there is no reason to reciprocate.

As society becomes more secular, those who lean secular tend to turn politics into their religion. They treat it as if it matters in the way I treat the resurrection of Christ. Those who cannot separate their online identity from their offline identity compound the problem — almost as bad as people who admit to being crazy cat people.

There is just no need to reciprocate. Enjoy the victories. Have fun online. Feast on the tears of the liberals. But don’t be a Crazy Pete. Your neighbor, the guy down the street, and even the person stuck in front of you on the interstate with all the “Obama 2012″, “Coexist,” “Evolution,”, and rainbow stickers is a person made in the image of God. There really is more to life than politics.

But I’m still expecting an awesome night on MSNBC!

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