I know I’ve already said a lot about this election. Probably too much, you’re all thinking. I just want to say a few more things and be done with it until Tuesday.
First of all, I wish I could be excited. There’s a New York Times article by Judith Warner about how all us Obama supporters should be reveling in the fact that his numbers are up. That’d be nice, but I think Democrats such as myself are too afraid of getting our hopes up or worse, think complacency could lead to a McCain presidency. It seems like just yesterday I was similarly agonizing over the Bush/Kerry election. I remember it so clearly, sitting in my dorm room at the University of Florida with my hallmates. I had gotten into a fight earlier in the week with an RA who yelled at me for putting political signs on my dorm door. I had seen John Edwards speak on campus and was extra excited. Things looked so good...but Bush still won. I remember sobbing upon hearing the outcome.
It just seems like this election has gone on forever and it’s inconceivable to think it actually has an end. Over these past few months, I’ve pored over every piece of information I could find about Obama’s abilities or Palin’s lack thereof, I’ve gotten into debates -- some civil and some not -- and I've blogged my little heart out about all of it.
But what I think I will remember most is the negativity: towards me, towards Democrats in general, and especially towards Obama. I guess I have thin skin. I’m over-sensitive to a fault. I’m also idealistic, something people love to ridicule. There’s that quote, “Cynics are never disappointed.” They’re also playing it safe. In the past three months, I’ve been told I’m naive, unrealistic, unqualified to vote, stupid to think that local Democrats are operating out of anything but self-interest, that Obama’s plans will never work, that Obama will lose, that I’m dumb, that I’m wasting my time, that I care too much, and that I’m lazy and should find a job (I’ve only been trying for ten months and counting).
About Democrats, I’ve seen them called elitist AND lazy, preferring to live off welfare; terrorist-loving AND bleeding heart pacifists; over-intellectual AND moronic. They’ve been vilified for pretty much everything: the financial crisis, voter fraud...they’ve even been blamed for 9/11. Speaking of voter fraud, Republicans never seem to care about voter suppression tactics. What's that about?
What has hit me hardest is the negativity towards Obama. It makes me cry to think about how vilified he has become. He’s been called everything. He’s both a Muslim AND a radical Christian. He’s anti-American. The anti-christ. A terrorist. He’s been threatened with violence both directly (those stupid neo-Nazis) and indirectly (via the Obama figure that was hung from a tree). He’s been called the N word. It’s been said he’ll “go back to his gang” after he loses, which is so preposterous I don’t even know where to begin. When has he ever exhibited any thug-like behavior? And on the other hand, my mom’s friend said, “He’s not black, he doesn’t speak in ebonics” which, when heard with my own ears, made me sick with disgust.
People have said they won’t accept him as their President. They say his birth certificate, which they demanded to see, is fake, even though the state of Hawaii asserts that it’s authentic. He’s been called things that shouldn’t even be insults: socialist, Muslim. People say, “HOW CAN YOU ELECT A MUSLIM?” and I think, "Whatever happened to religious freedom and tolerance in this country?"
So many people hate him. No other presidential candidate has been subjected to this much scrutiny, and I have to believe it’s because he’s black (half, actually). They say, “We don’t even KNOW him”, when in fact we know way more about him than we do Sarah Palin. This has to be racism, out of this culture’s disgusting archetype of the “scary black man”. I can't think of any other explanation.
I guess I should just blow these people off. I’ve argued with them, and even when I show them non-partisan pieces from Factcheck.org or Ontheissues.org disproving their claims, they still don’t believe me. I guess I should assume someone who doesn’t believe the entire state of Hawaii is a kook not worth my time, anyway. But all I can think about are Obama’s two little girls. I hope they don’t know the full extent of all this hatred. It breaks my heart to think that these two little girls have a father they obviously love and admire, and so many people have committed their time and effort to absolutely hating him.
I also think of what Obama represents. It’s not him, per se, it’s the fact that black people are finally gaining a foothold in America. Some (ignorant) people see this as a bad thing. To hear the claims about black people, from one person in particular I won't name, who said to me, “Black people are taking over and they are uneducated and thus our country will be run by the uneducated” and then had the audacity to ask me out on a date, it makes me nauseous. To read about voter suppression, about Black voters exercising their right to vote early being protested by whites saying “SUNDAY IS NOT FOR VOTING!”, makes me livid. (Apparently, you can’t vote on God’s day, but you can PROTEST.) And there's SO much of it out there.
What is everyone so afraid of? And why are they so vocal about it? Shouldn't they be ashamed of themselves? Not related to race, but at an appalling McCain rally, an Obama supporter brought up the Sarah-Palin rape kit fiasco and said his friend shouldn’t have to pay for her own rape kit. And how did the people respond? “She should die.” and “She should pay double.” When did rape victims become villains?
I guess my point is, even if Obama wins on Tuesday, this whole experience has left me beaten down. I tried to do all I could to help, I volunteered, but the experience left me so hurt. The few times I phonebanked, people were so rude. I can understand if they support McCain and don’t want to be bothered, but a polite “No thanks” would have sufficed. Last election, the wife of George Barker, member of the Virginia state Senate, was at the polls with my friend’s mother. She was told (to her face) by some very smug Republican women that she was a “baby-killer”. Needless to say she was extremely upset by it, but it just made me pissed to hear. Again, the gall of these women, women who most likely do nothing to help single mothers care for their children or prevent unwanted pregnancies, shocked me. When did people get so judgmental? When did Christians?
I guess this kind of thing happens everywhere, but it certainly hasn’t left me feeling proud of this country as a whole. You can quote me on that and use it against me at a later juncture if you'd like. But how can you defend all this ignorance? There are a lot of great people out there on both sides and in-between the political spectrum, but the racism and bigotry has left such a stain.
I guess what I'm trying to say is...I could never be a politician.