Friday, November 7, 2008

Obnoxious-ness

As a formerly obsessed knitter (production has fallen significantly in the last couple of years), I know what it’s like to be obnoxious to a fault about one’s hobbies or interests. Running falls into the same category. That must be why I blog about it – I’ve worn out my face-to-face welcome and am reduced to assaulting the few strangers on the internets who happen to stop by.

Indulge me in one last comment on the political season, please, and I will return to the knitting and the running next week. I promise.

I’m a reformed Republican who voted for W twice although, in my defense, I only voted for him the second time because it was his mess and I thought he should clean it up. Since he didn’t, since he – incredibly – made an even bigger mess, I felt compelled to turn my back on him and his ilk. (I’m truly sorry for my transgressions, and grateful for the many campaign workers I met who have forgiven me.)

There are other reasons why I feel the Republican philosophy is no longer a good fit for me. Six years of volunteering in a federal prison will make you think twice about sentencing reform, for instance. Also? A dozen years of living in an economically depressed part of the country that repeatedly votes against its own interests – need I say more? If I do, just think about “God, guns and gays.” And, of course, race. My husband and I have occasionally entertained the thought of moving just because people are so not like us.

Anyway, back to being obnoxious. The biggest reason I’m proud to call myself a Democrat is because we’re so nice. I’ve been working to elect Obama since the primaries, and not once did I receive an anti-Republican e-mail, cartoon or bad joke. I never saw a Democrat shake his fist at a McCain bumper sticker.

During this political season, I’ve made several car trips ranging from Ohio to Florida. Because my Ford Escape sports several Obama bumper stickers, I felt it was imperative that I drive politely. I strictly followed the speed limit and, in fact, topped out at 55 mph most of the time in order to conserve fuel. (The exception was when my dad was in a coma. That was a very quick trip, all things considered.)

I smiled and waved when McCain-Palin supporters passed me, even as they flipped me off or made gagging motions. I walked away when someone tossed a racial epithet at me. I refused to engage in any kind of back-and-forth with those whose minds weren’t going to change.

I saved my rhetoric for the on-the-fence voters – I particularly remember a checkout worker in our local grocery. She noted that I was supporting Obama (because I obnoxiously wore a campaign button everywhere I went), and asked me why. Instead of reciting my reasons, I asked her what her issue was. She said she heard a lot about the middle class, but not much about the working poor.

I don’t know if I changed her mind, but I do know that when I left, she was thinking about it. What could McCain have in common with her, with his seven homes and 13 cars? Do the rich get poor, really? They have connections and assets the working poor can’t even imagine. The Republican reign has dramatically increased the divide between the haves and the have-nots. I’m pretty sure that had something to do with the outcome of the election.

My daughter has been worried about me, wondering what I’m going to do now that the campaign is over. My husband and I have been working on health care reform for many years, and I’ve been an advocate for sentencing reform for many years, as well. I still have a few pounds to lose. I want to paint the interior of my house and remodel the master bathroom. I have a couple of freelance graphic design projects to do.

Life goes on. Next up for me is the Richmond Half-Marathon. Training has sucked the last couple of weeks, but I did eight miles yesterday and survived.

I’m looking forward to the future. In sooo many ways.

4 comments:

  1. Dave Barry - who is a Libertarian, interestingly - once made a hilarious comparison of Republicans vs. Democrats. He said if you were having car trouble and pulled over on the side of the road, Republicans would just drive on by, giving you a suspicious beady-eyed glare. Democrats would stop to help you, but they'd ineptly pour brake fluid into the gas tank or something worse. I always thought that was a perfect description of what's wrong with each party.

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  2. OMG, Debbi, you voted for W twice?! I guess you never really know someone :) Ok, on a serious note, I respect your right to make your own political decisions, whether I agree with them or not, but I admit I'm much happier that you were supporting Obama this year.

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  3. I love reading posts/articles where intelligent, articulate people describe how they've changed their minds about such deeply held opinions as political beliefs. Gives me hope about things. Thanks for sharing this.

    I have to admit that I voted for both of the last two presidents the first time they ran. Ironically, the way I felt about both of them at the end of their terms is roughly the same!

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  4. Debbi, TWICE?? I agree with PQ, I guess you really don't know some people. ;-) (I do like your logic for the second time.)

    I need to look and see when the Richmond Marathon is -- you'd be going past me to get there.

    Keep running!

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