I thought it was my job to be the skunk at the garden party: yesterday’s John Locke Foundation “Headliners Luncheon.” Then Mr. Herbert Hoover Rosser (yes, his real name) stood up.
I was the token Democrat on the panel. The other panelists and audience members were savoring the prospect of big Republican wins come November 2.
They reminded me of the football player who, about to score after a dazzling run, spikes the ball on the five-yard line.
It was a sleek, well-fed, well-dressed crowd. They were meeting at the sumptuous Sisters Garden of Eating in Raleigh, a setting designed for wedding receptions and fancy cocktail parties. They were in a good mood, so they took my partisan jibes in good spirits.
But the temperature in the room changed when Mr. Rosser stood to ask a question. Or, rather, make a somewhat lengthy statement.
In a room full of people in nice suits and tasteful luncheon dresses, Mr. Rosser stood out. He was wearing a short-sleeved shirt in a bold American flag pattern.
He proceeded to denounce the luncheon’s organizers for not opening the session with a prayer. Further, as a veteran born in 1932 (hence his full name) he was dismayed that they didn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance.
He then began discussing the Founding Fathers and Tea Party. It soon became too much for the crowd. “What’s the question?” called one woman across the room. Moderator Mark Rotterman prompted the man to move along.
I missed the question. But not the tension. And I sensed that I had witnessed what lies ahead post-election for the Republicans between the Tea Party crowd and the country club crowd.
No one thanked Mr. Rosser for his advice, nor apologized for the program, nor promised to right this wrong at future events.
And I regret to say that Mr. Rosser apparently left before the session ended. I wanted to tell him that I recently attended a meeting of the Wake County Democratic Men that began with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Rosser, there is always a place for you in the party that is not afraid to show its love for God and country.