I already believe

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Being in Canada, I watch the cable news networks.

We have them too, Americans. I get CNN, MSNBC, the regular networks et al. I read Daily Kos, and my old local New Hampshire newspapers online. I check in with my hometown newspaper once a month of so, just to make sure that Rutland hasn't been washed away by some biblical deluge.

As an expatirate, I had to organize myself to get an absentee ballot quite awhile ago. When it arrived in early October, I voted and mailed it back in plenty of time to have my vote ready and waiting for November 4th.

The one thing I have not been....is in the US. Until this past week, when I came to visit my dear friend.

I saw signs for both candidates for President scattered pretty liberally on my meandering drive. New Hampshire tends to be a fairly politically active state, so it looked to me like the other multitude of Presidental years I spent there. Nothing horrifying like I had seen photos of and read in some accounts of people hanging effigies of Senator Obama in their yards.

Now it will not shock any of you reading that I don't tolerate hate speech well. Especially in code. I had, in fact, written to my own State Senator (Republican) and expressed my deep concern over the tenor of some of the "approved" message of the Republican party. Here is, in fact, my letter:

I am writing to express my deep concerns with the behavior which is being witnessed at Republican rallies across the United States.

As a New Hampshire citizen, I must believe that if this behavior ( yelling out Traitor - or Kill Him) happened within the Granite State that swift and complete renouncement would occur.
Furthermore, as the wife of a Black Man ( registered independent) and the mother of a bi-racial child ( age 10), I worry that there is more than a little racial hatred simmering beneath some of this reaction.

One of the reasons we chose New Hampshire to settle down and begin our family was the understanding that racism and hatred would not be tolerated.

I would ask you to speak with your party leaders and urge them to STOP or DENOUNCE this behavior Now. I can not tell you how sick it makes me to watch Republican rallies and witness such repugnant hate filled rhetoric.

Running a tough race is one thing - but this is stepping WAY over a line.
And we are better than that - I hope.

A little much, I know...but I felt I had to say something.

So imagine my surprise when checking out of the local Wal-Mart this week in the States while visiting my friend... (You really can't beat the 6 pairs of underwear for 6 bucks deal and the cheap Halloween candy, I mean - Come ON!)

It was maybe 2 in the afternoon and not terribly busy . I had stocked up on real Sudafed...and socks and undies and all the things I refuse to pay a fortune for in Canada. The cashier leaned over and said:
"At least it will all be over in the next week..."

I was half dreaming as I was waiting to be checked out. You know that dreamy kind of tired you get after the shopping hunt? Yeah, That was me.

"I'm sorry?", I said. My tone indicating that I hadn't been focused on her words.....but had merely half caught her statement.

"Over", she said, " In a week all this election stuff will be over."

"Oh - Yeah", I said. "I live in Canada now so I already mailed in my absentee voter ballot ages ago. I'm just down here visiting a friend."

"You probably don't get CBN up there do you? Well, you know that Obama was really born in Kenya and so he can't be President - He won't produce his birth certificate to prove he is an American. He is really Kenyan. "

Her inflection on the word Kenyan infuses the word with unsaid meanings. I hear them although she doesn't say them out loud. They are BLACK and FOREIGN and probably MUSLIM. They are TERRORIST and SOCIALIST.

"I don't believe that is accurate", I say. "He was born in Hawaii. His mother is from Kansas. So even if he was born in Kenya - which he wasn't - he is still an American citizen. "

She fixes her eyes on me.

"Why won't he produce a birth certificate? If he's got nothing to hide then he should show everyone his birth certificate."

"Well", I say. "He is a Senator. I have to believe if there was an authentic concern regarding his citizenship then it would have been fully investigated long before now..." I trail off. I am not sure what else to say.

"Well, if Pat says he isn't American then he needs to prove he is - If he's got nothing to hide, then he should show his brth certificate..."

I am at a loss for words. I mean I saw the woman tell John McCain "He's an A-rab" on CNN. I saw the woman in North Carolina yell "Socialist"and "Get out of here" when Barack Obama visited the restaurant. I saw further when he offerred his hand to her with a "How are you today Ma'am" and she refused to shake it.

And now here it is. A person making MAYBE $6.00 per hour, a woman who most likely does not have access to health insurance, a woman who does not benefit from the policies of the Republican party as far as I can see - and she has been made afraid by Pat Robertson. Someone who claims to speak for God is making her afraid of a potential President by playing on not even subtle veins of Racism and hatred that fly in the very face of the Religion for which they suppose to speak.

I wish I could tell you that I changed her mind. That I had a witty zinger that fixed everything.

But I didn't and still don't. I feel helpless and angry and sad.

But Hopeful.

It will Change.

17 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

I know, and my heart aches when I hear this stuff too. My own parents also said exactly what you wrote about the birth certificate issue, and him being a socialist, while I visited with my biracial son (2.5). Now I know where they heard it! I even said I'd already voted, hoping to quell the politics talk. I was even told that as a woman I should support Palin, who doesn't represent my beliefs at all, just because she's a woman & working mother! HaHa!

I didn't have anything witty to say either, and these were also people who don't benefit from the Republican policies, yet they defend them to the death. It makes me sad how sickening this election has gotten.

How is Canada? If by some freak chance Obama loses...I need options.

Jaelithe said...

Luckily, being I write about politics now, I generally am armed with many facts that I can deploy when I interact with such people. Like, for instance, the fact that Senator Obama HAS produced a birth certificate, and it is available on his campaign website and several other places on the internet.

Unluckily, a lot of these people don't want to hear facts even if you have them, because they prefer a version of the story that allows them to cloak old-fashioned racism or blind partisanship in what they think is a more respectable veil.


Many of the neighbors I see every day have willingly sucked down gallons of ridiculously false anti-Obama Kool-Aid. I keep smiling at them, even though many of them now scowl at me because of the signs in my yard. And I keep fighting to get Obama elected so that they and their children can one day have better wages, better access to healthcare, and a more peaceful world anyway.

Madeleine said...

Thank you, Dawn, for sending that letter, for sending your ballot, for at least trying to speak truth to the poor deluded woman.

And thank you for making me feel less bizarre for the way I stock up on Sudafed every time I visit the States. I'm partial to the CVS store brand, actually. It has the slippery red cover, unlike the nasty stuff they sell up here.

Anonymous said...

OK delurking - you finally made it happen - LOL. I live in North Carolina (born and raised here)- and yes I early voted for Obama - but honey you have no clue how bad it is here. I am white therefore everyone assumes that I am voting for McCain and feels it is perfectly ok to voice these same things to me - and I have actually had 4 people tell me they will not vote for Obama because he is black. No other reason at all - they admit they don't like McCain or what he stands for - but they can't vote for Obama because he's black?!? Are you frigging kidding me - this is what a democracy is? I have people who forward to me racial jokes centered around the campaign and will say - well I know you like Obama but this isn't exactly about him --- mmmm ok. So yes - if Obama doesn't win - I may join the masses headed to Canada - because I am so ashamed of people in my state and country right now - I can't believe we have come no further than this. Good for you - for sending out that absentee ballot.

MrPickles said...

I am married to a non-practicing Muslim man. He is not an American. I am. I am also an independent. My mother, who admittedly loves her son-in-law, said she could never vote for Obama because (whisper) she swears he is really a MUSLIM. And you know what those people are really like!

I was shocked. She just recently visited my husbands country, met his family and was treated like a queen. Spent a week in this muslim country and saw NOTHING scary. Yet her prejudices cannot be overcome by experience. It is sad sad sad.

Anonymous said...

Probably not something you want to hear, but she's right. He's not. Hawaii has been issuing birth certificates to people for years even if they weren't born there. Go figure, I find that odd too. They know it and do it. Second, you don't have to be a U.S. citizen to be a Senator, you only have to be a citizen for 9 years. He was born in Kenya, with many family members witnessing the event. An odd twist to the story is that his mother was 18 when she had him. By law he's not a citizen because his mom was not 19. The law only applies to women who are 19 and over unless he was born on a military base or in an embassy. So, as silly as it sounds and as crazy as it is. She was right.

Partially ... the law was changed. But it still bothers me he wasn't born in the U.S.

Anyone want to guess why that's a law?

Because the founding father's were tired of the intermarriage of kings and queens of the European empires. So if you weren't a natural born citizen, you shouldn't be allowed to lead.

Still valid ... maybe ...


Anonymous said...

Knot - I'm interested to know why FactCheck.org has a copy of his birth certificate and a copy of his birth announcement from a Hawaiian newspaper, giving the address of his parents in Hawaii, if he was born in Kenya.

May I would suggest that you reveiw the two articles about Obama's birth on FactCheck's website? Perhaps it will give you a different perspective on this issue.

mamatulip said...

I'm ready for it to be over, too.

I'm ready for change. And I'm not a US citizen.

Fraulein N said...

Dammit. It doesn't surprise me, but it makes me angry and sick. It just kills me, like you said, that the majority of people who believe the lies they've been fed ... these are the people who would benefit most from Obama's intended policies. You work at Walmart, lady! You think McCain gives two shits about you (or anyone else, for that matter)? Stupid stupid stupid.

Listen Up, MoFos! said...

First time visitor. Is no one going to refute what "knot" said??? This is what scares me the most, that we are at the mercy of ignorant people who have no ability to think for themselves, to educate themselves by reading different sources, who just what the 700 Club and live their lives by it. I am so afraid. If Obama doesn't win, I just don't know how we'll make it...

SUEB0B said...

If I hear one more white person say that they won't vote for Obama because they are "concerned" about him, I am going to start screaming. The man has been vetted for 2 years and no one has found ANYTHING significant, so the Repubs have to lie because their candidate isn't strong enough to win if they don't.

Anonymous said...

I reviewed them. I think the birth certificate thing is a ploy. However, there was enough legal evidence for a lawyer to file something. He has witnesses who pin him to Kenya. I still think the whole thing is just a ploy. An interesting ploy.

I do think the law is good. That keeps, for instance, Cubans from running for president.

Honestly, I think the whole election is a mess. I'm a-political. The bureaucracy has gotten so bad and the polarity is so strong nothing is getting done. The only solution I see is a major catastrophe or foreign war on our soil. It's sad it's come to that. It doesn't help that the average American sees the president as having the powers of a king or equating them to that. We're doing a poor job in government classes in the states.


Kikilia said...

I'm tired of the race. Will be glad when it's over. And am sad that I don't feel I can support either candidate.

I know I won't vote McCain. I know I can't vote Obama. I just don't feel Obama has the experience needed to get the things he promises done.

Oh and yes, I'm still pissed that Hillary isn't going to be the next president.

At least I know who I'm voting for as Gov. in my homestate.

Mitzi Green said...

i wish i shared in your optimism...but i don't.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a-political, huh? The book you just wrote there about Obama speaks otherwise. At first I just thought you were yet another victim of propaganda, then I read your little jab about "Cubans becoming president" and realized you were a willing participant.

I am surrounded by people who shoot themselves in the foot. They're working poor who don't qualify for much, if any, assistance, because they make an effort to support themselves, and yet they won't vote for the Democrats because they [insert: won't vote for people who kill babies, don't like "N"s, or "queers" or Muslims, or "love our country and the Democrats will get us all killed", blah blah blah]. They focus and fixate on one issue and ignore the rest, which are probably much more likely to affect their daily lives than the highly controversial ones.

Anonymous said...

Just an example. I could have said, "French from becoming president." Point is, it's dangerous to let someone become president who could have an outside influence.

But doesn't it make for good drama?

Someone yesterday wrote, "I don't know what I'm going to do if Obama doesn't win."

I told her, she was going to get up and go to work and realize the president doesn't have as much power as either candidate says they do. Just like we did when GHW Bush didn't win and Al Gore didn't win or Reagan didn't win in '76 or whomever didn't win. Life goes on.

What will change this country has nothing to do with politics.


sweatpantsmom said...

We did it. And for once, I do feel hopeful that change will come.

(I have to strongly disagree with Knot when he says it doesn't matter who's president - the last eight years is damning proof.)

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