The past four years have become what my dad, a WWII Veteran, and man of few words, would call communist. I don’t know if America resembles the fall of the Roman Empire, Nazi Germany, Hatfields and McCoys, or all of the above. Whatever it is, it’s not healthy.
I can go on a diet from social media, but ordinary human encounters are hard to avoid even during COVID. Manners, appropriateness, and common sense seem to have melted like an ice cube in July—gone. I’ve had several personal examples where strangers feel free to vomit their ideas all over me, with no consideration of what I might think or believe. I am stunned, wordless, and then complain when my senses return. In my business, it’s called passive-aggressive, and I don’t like owning that title.
This week, I surprised myself and spoke back at the moment. Like many people, I am not in my strength. My usual positive attitude has withered and flitted away like autumn leaves.
With a blog in mind, I have been taking pictures of 2020 political yard signs. On the last stretch of a recent bike ride, I spotted one I had not noticed before and peddled back to take a picture. I thought, uh-oh—busted when the homeowner strolled around the corner. He was about my age, average height, and wore Scottish dog fleece pajama bottoms with a tucked in worn white teeshirt.
I said, “Hi, just taking a picture of your sign.”
He was friendly and proceeded, as if I cared, to tell me he was a Republican something or other and was in charge of an area from 135 to such and such. He finally stopped long enough to ask if I received a yellow sign on my front door. I said, “No.” He said I should have received one since volunteers canvass the entire city and put one on every Republican or Independent household. I thought Houses have a political affiliation?
Anyway, I sensed where this was going and tried to shift the topic by saying, “Oh, I don’t vote here; I’m from Colorado.”
My effort failed. I didn’t get the usual, “Oh, Colorado, it’s so beautiful!” Instead, he shook his head and looked to the ground. In a low voice, he said,” I’m so disappointed in Colorado; I used to have a friend who lived there. I can’t believe anyone is stupid enough to be a Democrat.”
He continued without taking a breath. I must have reached a limit because I interrupted him, and to my surprised, slowly and softly said, “Well, I’m a Democrat, and I can’t believe anyone is stupid enough to support Donald Trump.”
He quickly repeated the tired statement of, “Well, I don’t necessarily like the man, but he has done so much for the country …” I’m sure I rolled my eyes.
While he was going on louder and longer, I backed my bike around, took off, and waved, saying, “I’m leaving. Adios.” He turned toward the front door, and I could still hear his voluminous ranting.
When home, I made myself a hot tea, eased into the recliner, forgave myself for not rising above my attacker, accepted kudos for saying something, and prayed a Hallmark movie would lower my blood pressure.
I thought, Who does that? How does a person stereotype and dislike with contempt half the population? Since I don’t have an answer, I took my dear mother’s advice and blessed him on his way.
I do believe the president has a diagnosable mental disorder, but Republican and Democrat philosophies are valid, and when in balance, are both necessary for a democratic society.
Sharing my experience with my writing critique group, one wise member wrote back, “I’m so sorry you were the target of political abuse. I liked the two-party system when it resembled a husband and wife – different views, perhaps, but a common goal. Nowadays, it has turned into attack politics.”
He’s my kind of Republican and human—civil, reasonable, and a good communicator; speaking plus listening. Thank you, friend! You renew my hope.