Wednesday, November 05, 2008

He won!

I'm extremely glad that Obama won, jubilant even. But that's almost overshadowed by relief that the whole thing is over.

Now maybe the McCain people will stop filling my inbox full of hate mail. Not hate mail directed at me, mind you, but Obama. Maybe we can get on with solving our very real, very present problems instead of concentrating on our differences. And maybe, just maybe, it will be safe to pick up the phone and talk to my father, eat local restaurants, and go to the grocery store again.

Yesterday (at the grocery store) I crossed paths with a woman I've written about here before. A perfectly nice person who probably gives new meaning to the phrase, "Kill 'em with kindness". She's the one responsible for sending my kid home in tears from VBS a couple of years ago because he drew the war between heaven and earth on his t-shirt and she was unhappy he'd drawn demons and wouldn't let him wear his t-shirt the final day (I was out of town at the time at a conference). Then later on she asked for prayer for him in front of a group of VBS staff. She was sure he was far too fascinated by the occult and demons and that they needed to pray for his soul. This is the same woman who was just sure there was no way that I was working and homeschooling the boys (In fact, she thought that Gary was doing it all--Gary who worked twice as many hours as I did) and was "shocked" to learn that we often schooled them together, but I put together all the lesson plans.

Yeah. That woman.

I keep trying to like her. Really. She's a kind person, funny, intelligent, with what seems to be a good heart. Most people like her. My husband likes her. So I try. But she rubs me the wrong way almost every time I interact with her. So I typically keep my distance.

Like myself, she's a homeschooler and today after greeting one another and being asked how my day was going I mentioned taking my kids with me to the polls to show them what the voting process was all about. It opened the door for further discussion. This was my first mistake.

She made a comment that Scholastic holds a mock presidential vote online for kids and that they've has been doing something like this for a long time and that the kids' results have been in line with the actual election results all but two times in thirty-something years. Then she went on to say that the kids predicted Obama would win and added that this stood to reason as kids in public school are more exposed to mainstream, liberal thinking. She added that she hoped that it was wrong this time.

My sons are standing there listening. I am not a liberal. I am a conservative who voted for Obama because I believe he'll do a better job as president than McCain. My kids have been watching the whole election, they know their parents differed on this one this year. They've listened to the candidates' debates with us and made up their own minds. Trying to end the discussion I move away from her, joking over my shoulder that our kids got a pretty good dose of the differences between the parties this year as Gary and I voted for different people, even though neither of us claim affiliation with either of them (Though his leanings are pretty Republican). This was my second mistake.

She followed me wanting to know why I voted the way I did. I explained briefly.

"So you didn't vote for him because he's going to take our rights away and give more rights to the homosexuals and the Muslims and maybe that will cause an awakening among the Christians in our country?"


He's not going to take away our rights, I said, trying not to look too amused. I chose him because I think he's paying attention to the needs of the American people, specifically the middle and working classes.

Again I back up, this time turning to the shelves to buy the items on the aisle that I'd come for.

Then it starts. She begins to quiz me, implying that if I'd had all the facts that I wouldn't have voted for him. Did I know that he had terrorist ties? That the leader of Libya endorsed him? Did I know that he said that he'd let a viable baby die if it survived an abortion? That he plans to redistribute the wealth. She said when she heard him say that, she knew that voting for a McCain was a no-brainer and that he was the obviously right choice.

A. No. Brainer. Yes indeedy. She said it, I didn't.

I bit my tongue hard on that point, replying instead that we can't control who does and doesn't like us (McCain had white supremacists among his fans, for instance) and that what she'd heard him say was taken out of context. (I also said that I really struggled with the entire issue of his being Pro-Choice. I am strongly prolife, but I couldn't let that rule my entire decision). As for the redistribution of the wealth, that too was misunderstood and taken out of context. I encouraged her to do some homework, look up the entire speeches this information came from.

Then, shaking her head, she says, "You must feel pretty lonely here in Shell Knob, surrounded by a bunch of people who voted for McCain."

I shrugged and assured her that I wasn't all that alone (My mother, my brothers and sisters, our church secretary, are all Obama supporters and I'm sure there are others), but that I was used to being on a different wavelength than the people around me. I said this with a smile. I've got to finish my shopping, I said. Have a great day. I start down the aisle.

She followed me, still trying to drive her point home.

My amused husband intervened, redirecting her conversation while I made the getaway.

In the car on the way home, he said, "You had to have seen that coming."

I confessed that I didn't this time, thoug maybe I should have. I honestly thought I could just state who I voted for and move on as it's not my personal style to attempt to correct everyone else's views on the world and I guess I tend to extend that expectation to others. But now that I've come to grips with the fact that this woman does, I'll simply add politics to the ever lengthening list of hot button issues I can't discuss with her.

When we got home there was an e-mail waiting for me in my inbox from this woman. It contained a link to a video discussing why the Democratic party isn't really for the middle and working class. Since the speaker was an African American I guess I was supposed to be impressed, but I really wasn't. I listened to thirty seconds of it and deleted it. I'm not a Democrat and I'm not considering joining their party.

As for now, I'm going to pray that our new President makes the right decisions for our nation and hope that I am raising people who can contribute to the solutions to the problems our nation faces.


Scotty said...

It's really, really difficult to be nice to people who attempt to back you in a corner and foist their views on you, isn't it? Good on you for continuing to smile, and good on Gary too for running the intercept.

There are many people here who are also happy that Obama won - that he has his work cut out for him is beyond question but I think he'll do a pretty good job - let's not forget that before he can improve anything, he has to fix a lot of stuff he inherited first.

jeanie said...

Oh my.

"I keep trying to like her. Really."

Why would you? She is not a nice person to you, there is nothing in any text that I know that you have to keep turning the cheek when the option is to walk away and not engage ever with her.

I think the saddest bit about elections is that you keep hoping that you will get someone truly decent, but you know that (a) they are politicians, and (b) the mud that is slung sticks to both the slinger and slingee.

I am really glad for the world that Obama has been voted in - not just because of party or race - but because it showed that the citizens of the USA are willing to embrace change and work with the world.

And I was really impressed by McCain's graciousness in defeat. Best bit of public service he has done for a long time.

scavella said...

She is not nice.

She's a demon.

I kid you not. I know that kind well. Like the small group who read down the cursing psalm upon me, who prayed for God's curse to fall upon me.

They pretend to be nice and godfearing; but by their fruits...


Big Plain V said...

Klingons. I attract 'em too.

I'm just kind of quick-lurking, but I had to let you know I stopped by because I see you've finally posted a picture of yourself.

Now you have a face. Yay!

And I've gotta ask: are you mocking Scotty in your picture?

Debby said...

Mary - Jars of Clay has a song about people just like this woman. It is called "Good Monsters".

I received soooo much crap via e-mail from McCain supporters who were likewise horrified that I could vote for Obama. (Really shocked them. They thought that I was a Christian. You're far too polite. I tell them that I disagree with them on virtually every point, and then walk away.


Sometimes I run away.

Mary Paddock said...

Yes it is Scotty. I'm looking forward to what's in store.

That was very well put Jeanie. As for trying to like this woman, I think you're right. We wind up at a lot of the same events (often one or the other of us in charge of them). I guess I've got to find a way to be pleasant without exactly cutting her off.

Scavella said: I kid you not. I know that kind well. Like the small group who read down the cursing psalm upon me, who prayed for God's curse to fall upon me. Oh I gotta hear the rest of this story.

Hi Ray! How are the edits going? Me mock Scotty? Never. However I was probably doing the same thing he was--not showing anymore of the background than was necessary (though I'll bet Scotty's better about dusting than I am. :) )

Mary Paddock said...

Debby! I didn't see you down there! I'll have to look for that song. It sounds like I could use it. I spent nearly a year avoiding this woman after the VBS incident (I was that angry). I think I need to be more courageous.