Marcus is an atheist friend of mine from NYC. He wrote me the following note the other day, and it made me wonder whether some unbelievers might have a closer grip on what we talk about at Mockingbird than our culture-war Christian cousins.

I’m wondering how you’ve positioned yourself — or found yourself positioned — by the great divide in the country. I’m talking about the red-state/blue-state thing. As you know well, I am apolitical. During the last few years, my nature (combined with the ethos of the country) has made me more and more unhappy. From what I can tell, I’m pretty much alone. In theory, someone wouldn’t have to be apolitical to feel the way I do. My feeling is one of a deep hatred of teams or being on a team, and that feeling is probably connected to me having Aspergers Syndrome. It is possible to share the core values of liberals or conservatives while still hating the fact that we’re basically in the middle of the Cold Civil War.

But most people I know seem to either not mind the endless endless endless angry rude nasty bickering (or be mildly upset by it, but “whatcha gonna do?”) — or they enjoy it.

Maybe if I’d played sports as a kid, I’d understand the thrill. Probably though, the reason I didn’t play sports as a kid is because I wasn’t built to feel the thrill.

What I do know is that I have to keep my mouth shut about the way I feel most of the time. If I am honest, I am no one’s friend. Both sides hate me.

If I voted, I would vote liberal on most causes, except for economic ones, in which I’m too ignorant to do anything other than flip a coin (and I’m skeptical that anyone has the ability to do anything more rational when it comes to macro-economics), but the second I hear a liberal abusing a conservative, I want nothing to do with the whole debate. I have this childish fantasy that any time anyone, on either side discovers that someone on the opposing team has cheated on his wife or done something illegal, he will get a powerful electric shock if he brings it up — unless it’s 100% certain that he would bring it up with the same gusto if someone on his own team committed the same act.

My problem is that I have NO stomach for the fray at all. Each tiny conflict I hear about or witness makes me feel more and more tired. I am starting to feel like one of those people who needs to go live in a hut in the forest to get away from it all.