Kueppers: My chat with a Republican

Turns out both sides of the political spectrum can agree that Sandra Bullock is great!


by Henry Kueppers

I’m a leftist who thought Bernie was gonna take it all. He’s a conservative who is proud of his country and will vote for Trump. Separate, we sound like diametrically opposed foes. Together, we sound like we should star in a crazy, odd couple sitcom: “One of them is liberal. One of them is conservative. And both don’t like to share. Coming to NBC this fall, it’s ‘Things are not Alt-Right!’ created by Ryan Murphy.”

Yet, there is a reason I chose to interview Kirby Gibson, president of College Republicans at the University of Minnesota. Lately, and maybe it’s just all in my head, it feels like the world is being destroyed, and we are surrounded by utter chaos. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that makes me feel this way, but nonetheless, it’s there. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that in order to maintain what little humanity the world has left, we should not be picking childish fights like our “leaders” do on national television, but rather listen critically to each other, engage in civilized debate and desperately search for what we have in common. Otherwise, it is my firm belief that we’re utterly doomed.

So, what do a college Democrat and a college Republican have in common? Let’s find out:

So, how do you feel about possibly switching presidential debates with gladiator-style fights?

I think it would be highly entertaining, and it would probably be Trump’s best chance of winning. So, I think he could stick it to Biden in a gladiatorial battle.

What if there’s a lion in the ring, though?

Oh, then, I think we would never have a new president. Or we’d only have bodybuilders as president.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could step in and really make some good, you know, executive calls. That’s good to know how you stand on that. We then agree that gladiator battles are worth a try. So, a more serious question, though. You are politically involved, I’m very politically involved. The country is very polarized right now. Why do you think our country is so divided and polarized?

Like, [in 2016] we were already already getting there, we were already a lot farther polarized than people think. So, when the 2016 election came in, you had a lot of really angry Republicans mad at how the party was run. And then we started to have the beginnings of people on the left being mad at either people who weren’t happy with what Obama did, or didn’t feel like he got enough done, versus people who want to … the more I guess Bernie/AOC kind of Democrats. So you had the left upset, you had the right upset with their parties. And the Republicans end up picking Donald Trump almost as kind of like a “screw you” to the establishment. And then with the left, the Democrats picking Hillary Clinton, who I think I mean — maybe you’ll agree with me — is probably the most unlikable presidential candidate ever —

Nah, I disagree. It’s Herbert Hoover, he was pretty unlikable.

This is true. I just feel like it came with two candidates that no one was happy with. And then no matter what happened once one won, it kind of became a “us versus them” kind of thing.

That kind of segues me into my next question for you. What are your thoughts overall on a two-party system in our country?

I feel like the way our government is set up, it’s the only way. Like, the way we elect presidents, it just fits a two-party system. If America was to ever have anything else, we would have to institute some type of ranked-choice voting, or we would have to switch to a parliament.

So you think a two-party system is kind of inevitable?

With the way our government is set up? Yes.

I personally think it would be best not to have a two-party system. You almost get confined to two boxes, and it’s black and white. So, I’m not a fan of the two party system.

When you compare our way of electing people to other countries, like Canada or the U.K., there are no types of primaries. They’re selected by the party, like who your representative is going to be, so I do like that.

Ah, Kirby I want to pin it here a little bit because I think I have a question that everybody wants to know: Do you believe in ghosts?

As someone who grew up in a very like religious household, I love the idea of like demons and like I love movies, but like demon possession and stuff like that. So, I would be more confined to believe in some type of demonic thing over some like someone died, and it’s still living in their home. So I don’t know if I’d like to believe in it believe in it.

So, if you want to see a good movie about a bunch of creepy demons haunting a house, you should watch “Sex in the City,” the movie.

My mom used to like Sex in the City. So maybe I’ll ask her about it.

All right, let me ask you another serious question because we’ve got to do a little bit of both. Everybody has so many different ideas and values today in our country. Let’s just say for all intents and purposes, every American in the world had to listen to you, Kirby. What would be three core values that you would tell the country that we should favor, that we should really prioritize?

Like, I can be very cliche, and say life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I’m very pro-individual rights. So, if I could put three words that I would be like, ‘Hey, Americans, let’s all get behind personal responsibility.’

Hey, I mean, that’s pretty good. My answer was sex, drugs and rock and roll, so…

You know what, like, it’s hard to beat those things.

Kirby, what happens when we die?

Probably a lot of us will end up in the same place and be like, wait a minute, none of this mattered.

I think you’re right. I’d like to think that we’re all going to end up in a Costco produce aisle and like, the heavenly realms, and we’re all going to argue over pine nuts. That’s the dream. That’s the dream. Speaking of dreams, do you have hope for the future of America, and what gives you that hope?

I’m very, very hopeful. I feel like what I’m thinking about specifically, this election: Either Trump wins, and that’s awesome. You know, it’s four more years of probably Republican control. Or, Biden wins, and probably nothing happens for four years. But I am hopeful that regardless of who’s in power, we have enough checks and balances in this country to make sure one person can’t do that much bad. The founding fathers made it extremely difficult for anything to get done in America. That’s kind of the reason why it’s hard, like unless you’re FDR and in charge forever.

Yeah, FDR, his polio was not a curse, it was a blessing and we just didn’t know it. Yeah. All right, since you brought up the founding fathers, it’s time for the ultimate question: Bang, marry, kill the following presidents: Calvin Coolidge, Grover Cleveland and Millard Fillmore.

I would definitely marry Calvin Coolidge. If you have the name of cool Cal or the Sphinx, the Potomac, you probably are a great, great, great partner. Um, he’s definitely one of those presidents that’s like always just considered just a good president by everyone. So, I feel like he’d be a good partner. Grover Cleveland looks like he’d be amazing for a one-night stand. Yeah, he’s got that nice beard. You know, Millard Fillmore was part of the Whig Party. That’s kind of a stupid name for political parties. So, I’d probably have to kill Millard Fillmore.

I have exactly the same answers, Kirby, this is what I’m talking about! The left and the right can come together, baby, and it’s beautiful. All right. Last question. And this is probably the most important question. What is your favorite Sandra Bullock movie?

I honestly do not — I cannot think of one movie Sandra Bullock is in.

Don’t say that to me, Kirby. Don’t —

I just looked it up. I’d probably say “The Blind Side.”

Hmm..well, my answer is “Speed,” her debut film, and that’s the correct answer. So, this interview is over.

I won’t write now that this interaction changed my life forever. I’m not gonna say that fighting is silly and that we should all gather together at the crest of Whoville and sing to the spirit of Christmas (eat your heart out, Cindy Lou Who). At the end of the day, I believe it is healthy for people to disagree and argue with each other. However, it’s when these arguments become laced with malice and hatred that I believe it ceases to be appropriate. So, thanks to Kirby, I learned that even though we may never share the same political ideologies, we can still find a common ground, respect each other and even joke about which founding father we’d like to have a one-night stand with. And, darn it all, if that’s not humanity at its finest, then I don’t know what it means to be human.