Monday, November 5, 2012

A funny thing happened on the way to…

…exercising my constitutionally guaranteed write to participate in the process and practice of democracy as we have come to know it.  I almost got arrested.

I am a fervent believer in fulfilling my duty as a citizen of this great nation, and in the beauty and elegance of the principle that my beliefs, opinions, and feelings are important to the rest of the people in this, the greatest of democracies.  Well, at least until this last Friday when I went to vote.  I did not take into account that numbers of those choosing to follow my plan and get their ballot in early.  I ended up on the fifth floor of a county annex building standing in a rather long line

In front of me were a group of ladies listening to one detailing her family trip to Italy for vacation.  Their focus was on their conversation and not the flow of movement of the line.  This caused a large number of folks having their day lengthened significantly and, to tell the truth, became quite irritating.  This irritation was unfortunate but acceptable in that, regardless of time, these ladies were exercising their citizenry even in the face of their mundane and semi-selfish conversation.

After a while I decided to turn to see how far back the line stretched and encountered a young man (25-35, that is young to this advanced aged author), dressed in a shirt and tie, who looked at me and promptly asked, “I wonder how many of these fools are going to vote for that fucking nigger?”

My initial reaction was disbelief.  Surely he did not say that.  That kind of speech is rooted in a past of ignorance, bigotry and hate.  It did not seem as if this kind of atrocity could be perpetrated by one as young as this man was, and certainly not in this day and age.  Regardless of the outwardly overwhelming and outrageous stupidity of the question, I found myself obliged to reply. 

I told him that if he did not shut the fuck up, there would be two ballots for this election that would never get the opportunity to be counted.

Regarding the outrageous stupidity of the situation, the question certainly deserved a response.  However, the reality of this selfsame situation was that it would have been an absolute absurdity to think that I was physically capable of delivering the sound thrashing that this idiot deserved.  I must thank the powers that I do not understand in my life that this adversary chose to hold further comment and go back to playing with his iPhone.

The other side of this vehement reaction to what was said came in my latter realization that, no matter how I felt, this person has the constitutional right to ask that and any other question he so chooses.  That right was one of the reasons we were even standing in the fucking line in the first place!
I take to task, from time to time, whether or not the Founding Fathers did us a service or disservice by fighting and ensuring us the rights we have.  It is not the words he used that were offensive as the feeling and belief he was attempting to convey.  I do not like that we have the right to hate.  It goes against my spiritual beliefs, my political beliefs, and my moral beliefs. 

The God of my understanding commanded me to love my fellow man, and he supported this commandment by not hating the people who tortured and killed him in a horrible and painful manner.

My political beliefs stem for an abiding love and acceptance of those ideals I take issue with our Founding Fathers giving us in the first place.  Until, that is, I remember verbiage stating this thing known as “inalienable rights.”  It gives me little relief to stand on principle and write the incident off as the practicing of an undisputable entitlement of citizenry in America.  It gives me even less relief to know that I have not the right to tell him he is wrong by way of forcible action.  Great and good ideals are not always the standards by which one might live when the emotions and beliefs contrast with the ideals.  Yet, I defy anyone to find a better way to do it.  What we have is monumentally better than what we could have if we do not defend our rights.

My moral beliefs are probably the area that this conversation is best left to.  As a child, I learned the difference in right and wrong at the knee of two women who were and are giants in this world of moral decay.  It was never a question in my household about the difference between people.  It was never even a consideration to shun someone for having different colored skin, lifestyle, or ethnicity.  The word “nigger” was vehemently not allowed and harsh consequences were meted out for non-adherence to this rule. Hating people, for any reason, was the absolute last thing that ever came to my mind until I grew old enough to go out into the world and learn firsthand what hate was all about.

I have been more charged in this election than in previous years.  I believe Barack Obama is the person who needs to lead this country and I am a passionate supporter.  A large part of this is due to the progress his administration has made in working out problems faced by America.  The other part is directly related to what that young man asked me in that line last week.  Never have I experienced the level of hate that is being perpetrated on this President, and I believe it is because he is black.  America is blind in many ways, and cares little about the strides that the African American culture in our country have accomplished to set aside and live beyond the atrocities of slavery and prejudice.  Barack Obama has indeed set that to the side and worked exhaustively and diligently to make this country the type of country many of his opponents have called for…a place to raise our children.

Emotions aside, I challenge anyone to tell me where it became acceptable to hate anyone.  Many of the opponents to this President’s election have called for “Good Christian Principles” to defeat him.  They do not care how it gets done, be it by falsifying information about him, or challenging his citizenship, to questioning how he paid for his education.  In all these areas President Obama has been forthright and cooperative.  Why did they not ask these questions of the last guy who was president or, anybody else that has run and been elected President of the United States?  Unequivocally it is because they were white, and he is not.

I remember an episode of the television show “Star Trek” where the ship was threatened by two aliens.  These creatures resembled humans except that their skin was divided into one side that was bright white and the other night black. In the course of dealing with the danger to the ship, Captain Kirk asked why they were even at war.  The main antagonist shared that his opponent was not the same color as he.  When challenged as to the fact that they looked exactly the same, the answer turned out to be that the opponent was not white on the right side of his body like the antagonist and, as such, was to be punished.  The episode ended when they arrived at the home planet of the beings to find the entire civilization destroyed due to the war started based on what side of a person’s body was white and which was black.

Barack Obama is half white and half black.  Unfortunately, for some, he is not white on the right side.

I leave this conversation here by stating my feelings as opposed to fact or beliefs.  If you do not think a candidate should be elected, that is your right.  If you do it because you hate the fact that he is not the same color as you…Fuck You!