Yesterday, I attended a 6-hour seminar, populated by people I don't know. The subject matter was serious--serious as in if you do a good job, people's lives will be saved. It was draining but for an excellent cause. I instantly liked almost all these strangers and felt that by the end of the day we'd developed a bond.
I'd noticed throughout the seminar the keen analytical ability and quick thinking of one woman in particular. She quickly uncovered some dangerous assumptions inherent in one speaker's discourse. At the end of the day, she asked where I live and it turned out that we're practically neighbors. She needed a ride home. No problem.
This is where it gets weird. Although anyone who reads this blog will not believe this, I do not go out and about discussing politics unsolicited. I wasn't wearing my Obama shirt. And I don't embark on rants except here and in the company of close friends who, bless their hearts, tolerate them.
Anyway, the moment this woman, a relative stranger, was in my car, she got straight to the point: "I saw your Obama bumper sticker! Why Obama and not Hillary??" Although there was an accusatory tone in her voice, I assumed that this question was just an icebreaker and that we'd get through the moment pleasantly enough even if it were true that she was one of those unfortunate bark eating (TM) HRC supporters.
Not so. I explained that I had liked Hillary until she had a voting record and could not forgive her support for the war or for exploitative trade agreements, etc. (This was before I'd heard Ferraro's evil-bullshit comments, too). She proceeded to tell me that Obama voted for legislation that kills live babies (?), that he talks down to people, and, of course, that his popularity among voters has been based on a fairy tale. Then the real vitriol surfaced: "You're a woman!" she told me. "Don't you want a woman president? How can you be a woman and a feminist and vote for Obama? You know, the blacks support Obama, so why don't the women support Hillary? Why do you think that is?" I was aghast. But I kept my cool and explained the myriad logical fallacies in the above comments without ever using the word "you," as in "You don't know what you're talking about," keeping the focus on the points instead of the person (her). I have to listen to tons of bullshit from my students and manage not to pummel them physically or verbally, so I'm pretty practiced in this regard. At this point (and I swear, ya'll, I didn't raise my voice or a hand to this woman), she told me to stop the car and let her out right then, that she'd rather walk!
Damn. Back where I come from, the first lesson in Hitchhiking 101 is to make pleasant chitchat with the driver, even if she wants to talk about getting abducted by aliens or something.
I've been stunned ever since.
Is it just me or does HRC have some kind of bizarre karma? Whenever so much as her name comes up, people square off. And given that she is actually playing on this unique quality of hers lately as an asset rather than a liability, I'm starting to feel that she's so polarizing that she's capable of starting a war. No, not starting another one in the Middle East, starting one HERE!
And I hope that person enjoyed her walk home.