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Chasing Sanders: Getting Berned in the Age of False Pragmatism

You thought you might be interested; believed there might be a chance at real love.

What would be the harm in giving it a go, testing the waters, seeing if something might be there? You never know you told yourself while recalling balancing acts, small successes, and major disappointments from your past.

So you didn’t throw caution to the wind this time. You’ve learned your lesson about doing that.

Thenceforth, you courted for a year. Along the way you sensed that something was wrong. You instinctively knew this one wasn’t going anywhere, like so many others, but you didn’t want to admit that too readily.

Hope springs eternal, and all that.

The attraction was there initially; it couldn’t be denied. There was a glimmer. You figured you had some things in common that could be talked about comfortably over coffee or a beer. After all, you knew what you were looking for—someone with a worldview similar to yours, someone with a spark and a keen intellect who might agree with you in a number of areas. Not philosophy—that’s too heavy. Some common sense things, then. Real stuff:

Health care for all. Free or drastically reduced educational costs. Jobs for all who want one. A renewed electoral process with fairness at its base. Wall Street out of the room. Wars avoided or chosen with something other than empire and profitability as cause and effect. New rules for punishment and incarceration. Full equality under the law. Housing for those in distress. On and on.

Your dates were nice, but the passion was superficial. You could feel it. What started with a nod and a wink didn’t amount to more than a smile, and finally, disappointingly, a kiss on the cheek. When you were done courting you weren’t even sure you wanted to be friends.

What would be the point of it?

They say you have to live with somebody for a stretch of time before you really get to know them.

Now you know. You knew it all along, right?

Love is damn hard to find, even harder to keep.

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Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books in Portland, Oregon.  This story is excerpted from his memoir of growing up in Oregon, A Marvelous Paranoia.

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