Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Great Example of Neighborly Love. Orrr Not.

Imagine if you will...

The Occasion: Midterm Election Night 2010
The Setting: A small apartment in a small town on the coast of New Hampshire
The Characters: Me & my boyfriend, a Coast Guard Democrat
The Mood: Hopeful but realistic. See also: downtrodden

Remember when I didn't care about politics? Remember when I started my first job in D.C. & needed a high school civics book to teach me the basics of government? Remember when I couldn't name a single senator except maybe Ohio's?

That was a long time ago. Since then, I've watched a handful of elections (& State of the Union addresses & other political events the average American replaces with "True Blood" & "Mad Men"), all with D.C. friends far more politically knowledgeable than me. I've watched with amusement as they yelled things like "It's all platitudes!" & "What is our metric of success?" at the television, measuring the likelihood of so-&-so beating so-&-so & calculating what it may mean for our country's future. I always feel invested, even if I have little to no idea what they're talking about.

I spent this election night quite differently, with no access to cable TV & only my Twitter feed to sate me. Also, an angry redneck hassling me about my political views outside my own home (& by "my," I mean "not really mine, but I've been here for two weeks so it feels like it") for no legitimate reason whatsoever.

We're in the parking lot, getting out of the car on our way home from WalMart ('MERIKA!) circa 8pm. "We need to get inside so I can obsess over election results!" I yelped. Nate's curmudgeonly neighbor, lingering nearby with his very cute dog, piped up: "Don't bother. The Republicans win." Unable to determine his party affiliations & figuring he was just making (truthful) small talk, I mumbled something neutral & unmemorable, such as "Yeah," or "Seems that way."
The neighbor went on to ask, with no small amount of disdain, whether I'm "one of those" hoping against a Republican takeover. With a friendly "We'll have to agree to disagree," I tried to turn the topic of conversation away from politics & toward aforementioned mutt, who is nuzzling my leg: "She's so cute! Can I pet her?"

This is where the curmudgeonly fella got way crankier than necessary - & where I found it necessary to hold myself together for the sake of loving thy neighbor, even when he is an a-hole. (Oh, that's not how the commandment is worded?) He proceeded to follow us inside & down a flight of stairs, hot on our heels us as we tried to unlock the apartment door, railing on & on about how it's been a long two years, how ObamaCare is ruining the world, & how the socialist agenda has taken over - but not anymore! Not now that America's party is about to regain control! On & on, just begging me to take the aggressive, ignorant bait.

But I bit my tongue. I swallowed my pride. I stayed the course. I engaged in a million other cliches to keep myself from saying a word to this unnecessarily mean & entirely unwelcome man who verbally assailed me & my belief system for no reason whatsoever. And then I did what any polite person would do: I gave him the stink-eye & mean-mugged him as best I could, then I shut the apartment door behind me & seethed. Loudly. It's not just that he was saying moronic things; it's that he had no reason to say them to a complete stranger except that a little Democratic girl in the parking lot made an easy target for his hostility.

Did the D.C. bubble have me this disillusioned? Is this what the rest of the world is like?! And in New England, of all places! My heart, it breaks.

I wish it were possible to TP apartments. Just sayin'.


15 comments:

Erin said...

"What is our metric of success?" Hilarious. I love living in the nerd capital of the world...it is so soothing to be among my people.

San said...

As much as I want to, I really won't get political here (on on my own blog)... let's just say: I am totally your girl! I am constantly biting my tongue if I hear people talk like that jerk.

San said...

P.S. I need to say one more thing: in the country where I come from, "socialism" doesn't mean "handouts, government takeover, or secret agenda", it simply means "taking care of your people".

Nora_L said...

When it comes to politics I'm constantly biting my tongue. CONSTANTLY. I'd be right there with you on this one.

Hermia said...

Politics is ugly in conversation which is why I never bother discussing it. For that same reason, I always try to avoid talking about the divide between Northern Ireland and The Republic (Up the Republic!!) and the issue of abortion: they never end well.
If it makes you feel better, if I was an American voter, I'd be on Obama's side!

San said...

It's the "American" way of thinking: one doesn't want to pay for somebody else (through taxes or what have you), even if it means that one would benefit from it yourself if you were in an emergency situation.

I don't understand it.

Abby said...

I also had a major "incident" involving dogs (mind) with an awful neighbor. I'm still really upset! Now I know the silver lining -- at least it didn't also include politics.

Annie said...

Hi! So nice to meet you and thanks for your lovely comment on my giveaway! Good luck! :) I've been reading through your blog, it's been fun! :) :) :) This post made me laugh - I think you did well to bite your tongue, and the stink-eye was TOTALLY called for! :)

spleeness said...

This got me boiling just *reading* about it. It reminded me of the guy who held open a door for me at a rest station, looked at my sandals and said, "I'm holding this door for you even though I can tell you'll vote for Obama." AUGH!!! Why are people so rude when it comes to politics??

Traci @herdingsquirrels.com said...

It exhausts me, all of this. The anger. The crap about Obamacare DESTROYING HUMANITY with it's, you know, extension of health benefits to children. Yes. It's true. The black man came to annihilate the whites like all Hitler-ian Marxists dream of doing.

...i have a headache.

emmysuh said...

I hate people who just can't let it GO. You know? I believe a certain set of beliefs but I know I'm not presto chango going to change someone's mind. There comes a point where, like you said, you agree to disagree, or at least drop it for a bit, or part ways to cool down. Sigh.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Exactly. And don't get me wrong, I'm usually up for a little bit of political discussion, even - and sometimes especially! - with people with differing views; in particular, I like being able to find things we DO agree on! But when it's like this, a sneak attack full of vitriol & hostility, well, no thanks.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

His dog was cute. And apolitical. I wish this argument had just been about dogs!

Jenn.* said...

The people who vote Republican (against their own self-interest) are usually the most idiotic in general. What's more is that they have to prove their idiocy by picking fights with liberals and anyone who doesn't subscribe to their warped ideology, like it somehow qualifies their views over others. IDGI. I'm very liberal, to be sure, ans as much I love politics, I tend to stay quiet when Republicans and far-right libertarians are around. They don't use logic, reason, or intelligence in their comments, just nasty attacks and made up bullshit. That gets tiring. It's rare for me to come across a well-spoken, well-informed conservative these days. I like talking/debating with them because they're 1) respectful and 2) interested in what I have to say. That is how political discussions and debates are supposed to go. I want to be able to disagree with you for hours, and then have a nice meal or something later on. No hard feelings. I guess that's what is so depressing about the current political climate...we're so divided. We've let our polarizing views dictate how we treat other people, and that's fucking pathetic.

terra said...

I hate to generalize but why are the conservatives such assholes so much of the time? I mean, all us crazy liberals suffered 8 fracking years under one G.W. Bush and we were not nearly as moronic and whiny and bitchy and inappropriate as the conservative right has been. It is SO HARD for me to keep an open mind when I hear stories like this of crazy people spouting off their (Republican) views - I've never heard a story of a crazy liberal Democrat go spouting off his or her beliefs to someone who clearly did not care to hear them.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I keep coming to very harsh and mean conclusions about tea-baggers and conservatives and Republicans and there's a growing part of me that's totally convinced that the only reason these people hate Obama so much is because they just can't get past the fact that he's black and successful. They use words like socialist as a stand in for socially unacceptable words that start with the letter "n" and think no one's the wiser.

I could go on and on, but I shouldn't because I'm sure you've had the same or similar thoughts. Kudos to you for keeping your cool and acting like an adult when faced with such immature silliness. (And I'm sorry I got all ranty :)

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