I went to school today to help out with the Book Fair. My kids have been educated in a Montessori program, and between the two of them, this is the sixth year that we’ve been working with their teacher. (The program runs three years, and they stay in the classroom mixed with 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s. It’s awesome.)
So anyway, I have a pretty good rapport with the teacher. I forget how we started talking politics. It’s been years. Maybe it started with the war, or with the 2004 election, but in terms of political ideals, she and I are fairly simpatico.
There’s also an assistant teacher in the classroom, and I have a good rapport with her as well. I’ve always thought she and I are very much alike. We have the same kind of fashion sense, for better or worse. We both are the type who seeks the solace of comfortable shoes. Today she was even wearing a fleece jacket from Lands End that is the same color and style as one that I have. We’ve laughed together, confided in each other, etc.
So, as we walked with the class, back from the Book Fair, I said something about Obama, and she made a counterpoint about McCain. I thought for a second about what she had said, and what it might mean. She fell back among her students to tend to one of their needs, and Clooney whispered in my ear, “She likes John McCain.”
And I respect that…in theory. But in my heart, I felt a wedge, like suddenly there was this huge difference, this area that had to be avoided or guarded.
This is coming also on the heels of an experience I had on a moms message board. Political discussions have been heated on the boards, nothing derogatory, though some of the McCain supporters have complained. I think they mostly have felt ganged-up on, as the bulk of the comments were made by Obama supporters. Though, to be fair, the Obama supporters were just pointing out inaccuracies in the McCain supporters’ posts about things like Obama’s ties to Islam and terrorists, the definition of socialism, etc.
A few weeks ago, the moderator got into it and told us all to basically “play nice.” Again though, I want to stress that if anything derogatory was said, I never read it. So then, I guess, one of the McCain supporters posted a thread that asked for responses only from McCain supporters, and the Obama supporters felt slighted. The moderator got involved again and separated us all into our respective corners. Any kind of dissenting opinion is seen as antagonistic, I guess. I think it’s just a shame that this is the state of our political discourse.
Edison and I carved this pumpkin together. We don’t claim to be professionals with the carving knives, but we did have a lot of fun doing it:
Wednesday, we went to lunch at a diner not far from our house because we had painters working in our kitchen. We were there for a few minutes when an older couple slid into the booth behind us. They must have been regulars, because when the waitress sidled up they exchanged friendly greetings, and the talk soon turned to the previous day’s primary in Pennsylvania.
Not that I was eavesdropping. I was sitting in our booth, trying to keep my monkeys in their seats. But every so often, a snippet of their conversation reached my ears, and I was subsequently appalled. The old man said, “I don’t like that Obama…” and the kids had my attention for a second, “They say he’s…” T3, would you sit down and eat your grilled cheese? and then finally: “His name is just one letter off from Osama…” and I was like, huh?... “and those connections really scare me.”
Which connections was he talking about? Were they the ones Obama made at Columbia University or Harvard Law School? How about the ones he made while he was teaching at The University of Chicago Law School, or the connections he made serving in the U.S. Senate? Do those connections mean anything to this guy?
I’ll tell you what scares me: it’s how ignorant of the facts some people can be. How can people go through life so blindly? Again, I have to blame the media, specifically TV, since most people don’t even read any more. It is the TV news networks who are to blame for the sad state of American democracy. It is they who have perpetuated the disinformation and innuendo put forth by Obama’s opponents. It is they who continue to broadcast anything said by anyone without bothering to check for facts. And it’s a shame that some people in our country are too lazy or distracted by the day-to-day to find out the real facts about Barack Obama the Man or Barack Obama the Leader.
I’m not saying you have to vote for Obama, but I do think that if you decide not to vote for him, you should base that decision on the facts, not some slanderous allegation or sleezy “slip of the tongue” made by John Ashcroft, Mitt Romney, or Wolf Blitzer.
The moment has really stuck with me. Sometimes, I think I’m too cynical, but other times, I think, no, I’m right.
I know Orwell was right. He was just off by 20 years:
War Is Peace Freedom is Slavery Ignorance is Strength
It’s time for change.
Update on Banana Bread: Serious doorstop material. Yesterday T3 began to ask for a piece, and then thought the better of it, “Mom, can I please have a piece of ba– um, some other kind of snack?”