It's been a rough week to be an Obama supporter in the deep south. Earlier in the week, my sister called me in tears after having a contentious discussion with someone she's known for a long time... The very same day, I had a conversation with a man I've spoken to many times over several years... and it was disheartening and sad... And then tonight, I ventured into Wal-Mart here in Alabama wearing my "HOPE MONGER" tee shirt....
First, my sister's experience was with the accountant her company uses. She's known this woman for years and has had a fairly decent, light relationship with her. The woman is funny and engaging, but Jen (my sister) has had some uncomfortable moments with her because once in awhile, the woman's racism came out in conversations. Jen was always bothered by it, but tried to let it slide for the most part. The other day, out of the blue, the woman tells her that she thinks ANYONE who pulled the lever for Obama was an IDIOT. Jen politely said, "Maybe we shouldn't talk about this cause I'm on the other side of your argument.". Jen said even after telling this woman that she was pro Obama, the woman launched into a diatribe about Democrats and n******s and how ACORN and homeowners (of a particular color) were responsible for the mess our country is in now and Obama is involved and blah blah blah.. the usual talking points. Jen isn't one for confrontation, she wants peace no matter what.. She said she just felt frozen and got out of the office as soon as she could, got into her car and burst into tears. When I spoke with her she just said she'd had it with all the negativity and the hatred she was seeing spewing from people that she has had some measure of respect for before now. We both lamented about how hard it was for NYC girls raised by community organizers to live in Birmingham, Alabama. Her spirit was crushed. I did my best to cheer her up.
The very same day, the meter man for our power company came by. We always chat about our dogs.. We used to have dachshunds and he did too, so the dog thing was always kind of a common conversation we have. He's always been a pretty nice guy, we've always conversed pleasantly. Just as he was about to head back to his truck, he noticed my Obama magnet on the side of my car. He said, "Ohhh, you're for him?" Without hesitation and with a big smile I said, "Absolutely! He's my guy 100%" So HE begins to tell me that Obama scares him, we don't' know anything about him, the Democrats are responsible for the financial mess we're in, blah blah blah.. same kinds of talking points we're used to hearing. I asked him if he watched FOX NEWS... he really didn't answer the question, but I tried as nicely as I could to stand my ground, making my points when I could. I felt myself getting shaky in the knees and I could feel the tears of anger building up behind my smile... I asked him "What about Palin? She's scares me.".. And his reply was "Noooo Sarah Palin doesn't scare me at all, she's one of us... She just tells you like it is!" I just sighed deeply and told him to have a pleasant day and was much relieved when he finally left. But.. I felt a little crushed.
Soooo... Tonight I needed to go to Wal-Mart. I try to avoid it as much as I can because I prefer to give my money to the local businesses in town, but I had to go tonight. I try to wear one of my Obama Tshirts whenever possible because I am just really proud of my candidate. Tonight it was my HOPE MONGER tee ;o) It's funny the looks you get from people when you're in the minority.. Sometimes people look at my shirt and then at my face like I'm crazy.. Some smile, some say "Love that shirt!" And tonight... a woman actually confronted me about it.
I was behind her in line thru the self check out... and she looked at me and in a tone dripping with disdain, said, "Can I just ask you 'Why'"? (I knew immediately what she meant), but I asked her, "Why what?" She made a motion with her hand over her own chest, indicating my shirt... She said "Why? Why all that?" My first reaction was really incredulousness, and I said back, smiling, "Why NOT?!" I asked her what our other choices were. And she said.. "Well, not SOCIALISM!"
I said to her, "Oh, you must watch Fox News because they're the ones who are pushing that storyline.". I could feel my heart start pounding harder... She said something about his record, and I know the look on my face was complete disgust (I've GOT to work on that, I never have had a very good poker face), and I said back to her... "Records?? Consider if you will that the Republicans have been in charge of the gov't for the past 12 years.. and LOOK where we are!"
I'm very passionate about this stuff and I think maybe I scared her a little when I answered her back so sharply and quickly, so she said..
"I don't want to argue with you, I just wanted to know why.". So I, still smiling said... "Well, the reason for 'all this' (imitating the same movement she made indicating my shirt) is because THIS is a positive movement. I feel excited and joyful and hopeful about this election. I believe in this guy. I'm very happy with my candidate and I support Obama completely. It's not the dismal, hateful, scary stuff the other side is offering. That's why." I was smiling, but I think she and a few others around us, knew I was spring loaded and ready LOL... I've GOT to work on that. I only want to come across as joyful and confident.. Not snippy and bitchy. I mighta been a little snippy and bitchy in my delivery, but I felt proud of my answers.
So it's been a fairly shitty week in the South as far as dealing with actual people who are buying the McCain/Palin stuff. But I'm GLAD she asked me about it. Because I was glad to tell her about it. Maybe she'll think about the woman she questioned in the Wal-Mart who had good sound reasons for voting for Obama and maybe it will make her look into this Barack Obama guy. Then again, maybe not.
Either way, it feels good to stand toe to toe with these people and KNOW I'm on the right side of this thing!!
Yikes this is long, thanks for letting me vent. ;o)
UPDATE: Wow, thanks for the rec list. But more than anything, thanks for reading and adding such caring, positive thoughts. You guys help give us in the red states the will to fight on!! Thanks!!
UPDATE 2: Oh my goodness!!! I went to sleep and woke up and this is STILL on the rec list! Thank you guys! More importantly, I want you to know that I'm going thru all these NEW comments and want to respond to EVERY ONE of them... You have touched me, made me feel emotional (in a good way) and you've reinforced my resolve to go out and be PROUD of our candidate! Thank you thank you for your words. I'm reading every one of them! Hugs to ALL of you... those who live in states like I do and understand, and those who live in those glorious BLUE states who give us red staters such hope! Thanks again!