I've had countless discussions with people from various different political viewpoints over the last 8 months, and while none of the opposing viewpoints I've heard was good enough to change my mind, at the end of the day I really couldn't begrudge most folks their opinions. A really good friend once told me "Bread (my nickname, short for Cornbread . . don't ask), just because you're right, which you usually are, that doesn't give you the right to go around telling everybody else they're wrong." Whether or not he was right, it just kinda stuck with me. I find that most people have made up their minds about this election long before they started talking to me, and I don't have the energy to try to sway them. The following two opinions are no different, although I have to say they're two of the worst reasons I've heard so far, and it just so happened that I heard them both today (within ten minutes of one another).
Democratic voter #1, who shall remain nameless, is a 20-something white female, single, working and going to school. I have no idea who supports her, whether it's her parents or herself. She's known to be one of only 2 Obama supporters in the office, and as one of the youngest people there we conservatives tend to playfully gang up on her from time to time. Today, for instance, we forwarded all of the robo-calls that came in to the office lines to her extension. It really wasn't nice. Anyway, for whatever reason I decided to press her on her affiliation. The following is a close approximation of the conversation.
Me: Why is it that you think the government should decide where to send the money I earn?
Her: Well, some people just can't afford everything, you know? Why should some people get paid millions of dollars to play a sport, like basketball, when somebody like you or me can't afford day care for our kids?
Me: /head scratch\ So the Bobcats should pay for your day care? Why? What did you do for them?
Her: No, I'm just saying, when somebody gets paid that much money, they should spread it around a little bit so everybody else has it a little easier?
Me: But where does it stop? There are people who make less than you, you know? Should the government take some of your ten dollars an hour and dole it out to those who make less? After all, you get paid all that money just to watch kids.
Her: No, I need all of my money, but somebody who gets millions of dollars a year to play basketball could afford to have less.
Me: But why should they accept that? They wouldn't make that much if the public didn't support that pay structure in their profession. We buy the tickets and watch the ads, they earn what they negotiate. Couldn't somebody just as easily say that you shouldn't even get paid to watch kids, as it's something other people would happily just do for free?
Her: No, that's different.
Me: No, I'm sorry, it's really not. I appreciate you making my argument for me, that was really a lot easier than me having to do it for myself.
The next encounter was with a black woman, probably in her early 30's. She's a hard-working professional mother and wife and a very nice woman, but overall not the sharpest blade on the mower. When we (the group of conservatives that was chatting over lunch) asked her who she would be voting for, the conversation was quite a bit shorter than the first.
Us: Hey, name left out to protect the innocent, who are you voting for?
Her: Honey I done already voted!
Us: Who'd you vote for?
Her: Umm, hello, I'm black, who do you think I voted for?
One of two things was being implied here. First there's the possibility she really feels that as a black woman (I hate the term African American) she has some sort of over-riding obligation to vote for a black candidate regardless of his or her views. If that's the case here (or anywhere), then that is the strongest case anyone can possibly make against programs like Affirmative Action (or at least our modern-day version of it). Essentially this shows the that the relationship many of us are afraid will develop between the public and a far-left leaning President is already existent today. Namely, if people feel like they owe their success (and well-being, and opportunity, etc.) to a certain group or type of politicians, then they'll blindly line up to vote for them and perpetuate their own self-devaluing. They put more importance on this show of loyalty than they do on their own ability to think through the issues and make a decision on their own, leading to an almost cult-like following and belief in a candidate or party. If this is what this woman was implying, then we are indeed fighting to save the identity of our national government.
Or, there's the other possibility, which is that we white folks should just assume that all black people are voting for Obama . This disturbed me, and I actually told her that it insulted me that she was implying that I could make some sort of assumption about her choice of candidate based solely on the color of her skin. If that was her implication, then there's only one racist among the two of us, and it wasn't the one in the Vandy hat. "How dare she?", I thought. Well, she dares because only one of us is allowed to pull the race card in a situation such as this, and again, it wasn't the one in the Vandy hat.
So that's where this political discussion will leave off . . with me frustrated with the dynamic in our country more so than with the actual issues themselves. I honestly feel like what goes on in Washington has almost no bearing on my life. Down the road when we're investing and trying to build wealth I might feel differently, but for now there's very little chance of some new President making my life all that difficult. Don't get me wrong, there's a big difference between the two ideologically, but how much of that rubber actually meets the road here in North Carolina is likely to be insignificant at best. Either way, I feel obliged to leave you with this last image. If you haven't already, get your ass out there and vote tomorrow. It's the only chance you have to validate your complaints when things don't go your way!