Thursday, September 20, 2018
News Roundup

In 24 years together, they avoided fights about politics. Then Donald Trump became president

PALM HARBOR

For years, Steve and Chazzy Foy avoided talk of politics. It wasn't that important to them. And they had a vague awareness that, in their 24 years together, they had grown apart politically.

Little reminders came, like the time Steve's voter registration card arrived and Chazzy realized he'd registered Republican. But he had a rule: He never discussed his vote.

They lived in harmony in their three-bedroom home off Lake Tarpon, cheering on the same sports teams, seeing their shared favorite bands play, doting on their grandkids.

Steve, 59, traveled the world half of the year for his job as an information technology consultant and made enough money so Chazzy, 60, did not have to work. She stayed home in Palm Harbor. And it was perhaps this distance that helped the couple get through the most heated presidential election in modern American history without a fight.

But they were both home the weekend after President Donald Trump was inaugurated — and women across the world gathered in protest.

"I still don't get why you marched," Steve told Chazzy after she returned from St. Petersburg. "You have everything you need."

Somewhere between their black granite kitchen and mahogany wood bar, Chazzy screamed at the top of her lungs that her husband was "a privileged white boy."

• • •

Only 31 percent of relationship arguments are solvable. The rest — 69 percent — are perpetual, meaning they relate to a personality or value trait that can't easily be changed, according to research by John Gottman, a psychologist, marital stability expert and professor emeritus from the University of Washington.

These arguments provide a window into our cores and even a reckoning about whether we can accept our differences.

Therapists in the field say that they're hearing more and more from people caught in these perpetual loops about politics.

It's one thing to block your co-worker on Facebook or avoid conversation with your distant cousin on Thanksgiving. But what do you do when the person you disagree with is the most important person in your life?

"A hot-button issue like the election brings things up that most couples have put aside," St. Petersburg therapist Monica Burton said. "Not just the election, but about beliefs and values they are not willing to compromise on."

Steve grew up in southern New Jersey, the son of a union sheet metal worker and a stay-at-home mom. He believes in fairness, the value of hard work, no handouts. He thinks immigrants should be more strongly vetted. He feels like the country has turned its back on white men like him.

Chazzy lived a nomadic life as a child, at one point traveling with her family around the world on a 68-foot sailboat. Her independent spirit once led her to vote for Ralph Nader. She has a heart for the underdog and said she believes the government can help balance inequalities for people who don't have the same chances of success, like women and minorities.

Trump's election ignited an outrage in her she'd never felt about politics. She was repulsed by his initiatives to stop certain immigrants from entering the U.S., to build a border wall, to allow both the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access oil pipelines. She thought his Cabinet picks were ludicrous, like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit.

She wished she could bring up these topics with her husband, but his tendency was to avoid conflict. So she stewed about it on her own, wondering how she could be married to someone who felt so differently from her, but not knowing enough about how he felt and why.

• • •

Chazzy and Steve agreed to talk to a reporter about their conflict, hashing it out on the back porch of their home on a recent Saturday afternoon.

He wore Wrangler jeans, a diamond earring and a tattoo of his favorite band, Yes, on his biceps. Her long, silver hair shimmered in the sun. They sat across from each other, open, ready. Before long, they were going at it.

"I think the people on the left are going to make us more divisive," he said, "and they have to stop doing that. There's got to be a way for reunification to happen."

"The people on the left?" Chazzy shot back. "I think the people on the right are going to make us more divisive. That's what I think." She paused, looked down. "See right there, I think we're going to have to back away from this conversation."

They fell silent.

Steve was asked how he felt about Trump's actions in office.

"He's done some pretty reckless things," he said. "I like some of the things he had to say, but now that he's in office, I think he's recklessly making decisions without sufficiently researching what the consequences might be. Like how do you insult Canada and Australia in a week? The two most polite countries on the planet, and you insult them. So that's sloppy."

It made Chazzy feel good to hear Steve acknowledge some concern.

"Did you know he was 'cray-cray' before you voted for him?" she said.

Steve answered the question without a beat. "No, he's been a successful businessman, billionaire, so he had to do a lot of things right."

He paused. "Right?"

"He also had to do a lot of dirty business deals, I guess," Steve continued, "to be as successful, but I certainly couldn't trust Hillary."

"I don't understand why."

"She's a liar," he said.

They went back and forth.

"I don't know that you understand me because I don't get a chance to tell you how I feel," she said, "so it makes me feel a little blown off."

Chazzy grew bolder.

"When you were talking about reverse discrimination and I'm thinking 'how can this privileged white guy tell me about discrimination and he's never been black or he's never been discriminated against?' So I was kind of shocked when you said those things."

"Not my fault I was born white," he replied. "Not my fault I was born male. For the last 30 years, television has bashed middle-class white men. The stupid father who can't figure out how to run the washer or how to raise his child. That's the stereotypical white male. Dumb."

Chazzy attempted to resolve their argument the only way she knew she could.

"I'm going to do less tiptoeing and just gentle prying," Chazzy said, "because you're a smart man and I want to know what you think. Even if some of it does upset me or I don't agree with it, I always get a kernel of wisdom out of it somehow."

He listened attentively to the woman he thinks of as "magical," because of the way she surprises him with thoughtful gestures. She had made their bedroom look like the Marriott rooms he always stays in when he works, complete with white coverlet and burgundy accents, so he'd feel at home. He wanted to grow old with her, in peace, and was sure they'd find a way.

But first, he couldn't resist.

"I still don't know why they marched," he said.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Leonora LaPeter Anton can be reached at [email protected] or 727-893-8640.

     
Comments
Are these guys threatening to turn AL wild card into a race? Just ask the Rays

Are these guys threatening to turn AL wild card into a race? Just ask the Rays

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays still have got a long way to go and a short time to get there if they're gonna do what they say can't be done.If the Smokey and the Bandit paraphrase doesn't work for you, then let's try another theatrical reference....
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

The Lightning did not fare much better in its second preseason crack at the Hurricanes.In fact, it did worse.It lost 6-1 Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C.Carolina put a much more veteran team on the ice than it did Tuesday in winning Tampa Bay's preseason o...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jameis Winston’s Uber ride will never be forgotten, and shouldn’t

Jameis Winston’s Uber ride will never be forgotten, and shouldn’t

Just when you thought it was fun to be a Bucs fan again. Just when you were blissfully under the spell of FitzMagic. Just when the Bucs were becoming the cool kids in the NFL with the latest greatest show on turf.Just as the good times have arrived, ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Buccaneers-Eagles All-22: Why Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fitzmagic could be real

Buccaneers-Eagles All-22: Why Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fitzmagic could be real

It’s just a mirage.At any moment now, Ryan Fitzpatrick will come crashing back to Earth. He’ll go back to being the Fitzpatrick of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Quarterbacks don’t t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

TAMPA — The rapper Plies, aka Algernod Lanier Washington, was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag.The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident faces a charge of carrying a concealed...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Rangers game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Rangers game

OF Tommy Pham is playing with a sore groin and a sorer right ring finger, but he is determined, in his words, to "salvage" his season, and his two home runs Wednesday give him 19 total, five in 28 games with the Rays since the trade to go with a .327...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Maroon 5 to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show

Maroon 5 to Headline Super Bowl Halftime Show

A band will once again take the stage at the Super Bowl halftime show.The pop group Maroon 5 is scheduled to headline the annual 13-minute extravaganza this February at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, according to two sources familiar with the plan...
Updated: 7 hours ago
USF faces a reality as it prepares to consolidate: This is going to be hard.

USF faces a reality as it prepares to consolidate: This is going to be hard.

TAMPA — All summer, while most students were gone, the University of South Florida has been toiling away on a blueprint for the complex merger of the USF System.Its three universities in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota will soon consolidate into o...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Austin Meadows among final wave of callups

Rays journal: Austin Meadows among final wave of callups

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays will get their first look at OF Austin Meadows when he joins them Thursday in Toronto as part of the final wave of callups.And based on what RHP Tyler Glasnow, a former Pirates and now Rays teammate, said, they're go...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office now has Facebook and Twitter accounts in Spanish.The agency celebrated the official launch of the accounts on Wednesday. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the goal is to connect with an increasing number of...
Updated: 8 hours ago