Saturday, April 3, 2010
BALTIMORE, MD - There was a time when progressive Gale Harrington couldn't discuss tax cuts with libertarian neighbor Dave without calling the man a 'heartless, greedy racist thug.' But those days are gone as 72-year-old Gale slips into the twilight of liberal Alzheimer's. "It's so sad," sobbed Joya Harrington, Gale's wife of 42 years. "Gale and Dave always argued politics. After a few minutes, Gale would call him an 'ignorant racist hatemonger,' or a 'racist-sexist-homophobe-tea bagger.' But now days, Dave says the healthcare bill will crush small business and Gale replies with weird stuff like, 'I guess we'll just have to disagree.' That's not the man I married." A form of dementia, liberal Alzheimer's is the result of chemical and structural brain changes that destroy the ability to employ caustic labels designed to stifle contrary opinions and reshape the terms of debate. Like many liberal spouses, Joya is at a loss. "We used to sit together watching Keith Olbermann. Gale would jot down down phrases to use like 'evolutionary regressive.' Now he just sighs and says, 'Dave should watch this. Then we could chat about the issues.'" Joya believes the disease is advancing. Recently, she made Gale listen to 3 hours of Rush Limbaugh, but her husband's only response was, 'That fella is wrong. I sure wish I could enlighten him.' In her struggle, Joya takes comfort from one fact: "It's a progressive disease. So it must be good."