I'm not proud of my answer, I think it was really low-hanging fruit but I couldn't resist. I, of course answered: "Which party?"
As expected he didn't think it was a particularly funny line and gave me an exasperated sigh coupled with a downturned slow shake of his head.
"No really, which party." OK, I was just rubbing it in at this point. Later and away from my much too seriously middle of the road lefty friend, I remembered that I had blogged about this back somewhere in the past. Today I recycle that post, in the hope that no one ever again attempts to draw me into a serious discussion about the merits of the two party system in this country.
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
For What It's Worth is the song by Messrs. Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and perhaps Dewey Martin and/or Bruce Palmer depending on the version you listen to and who was caught up in the last drug bust.
Just a small digression, when Buffalo Springfield broke up after about two years of revolving bass players and the aforementioned drug busts---Stephen Still hooked up with Graham Nash of the Hollies and David Crosby from the Byrds and formed a little band, they took in Neil Young and played some music. Jim Messina and Richie Furay joined forces and formed Poco. Jim Messina eventually teamed up with Kenny Loggins.
Meanwhile back at the topic of this here post: Paranoia Strikes Deep. That was the tagline for a Nov. 9 (2009) opinion piece in the NYTimes. The paranoia being discussed is that the Republican Party has or will be taken over by an extremist right wing. Whether this has or hasn't happened yet depends on just how left or right you already are and in particular (here comes the point) how paranoid you are about such a possibility. The article can be summarized with it's last two lines:
"The point is that the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right is no laughing matter. Something unprecedented is happening here--and it's very bad for America."
In case you missed it, the lyrics from Buffalo Springfield are:
"Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man with a gun over there, telling me I got to beware."
The cultural distortion is that you can't tell if the guy with the gun is an extreme conservative, a paranoid libertarian or a fearful liberal who has decided to defend his turf. That it ain't exactly clear is why paranoia strikes deep but it starts when you're always afraid.