Friday, October 17, 2008

"Almost lost it..."

I was on my way out to lunch, computer bag over my shoulder, the delightful October air just inches from my nose, when a middle-aged couple walked into the office.  They approached the two older ladies who were manning our front desk and said, "We have some questions about Senator Obama."

I always relish the chance to see what is going into someone's decision-making, so I stopped at the door to listen in.

"If he's elected, how will he be sworn in?" asked the husband.  "Will it be on the bible?  We heard it would be on the Koran"

"Oh my god," I muttered, drawing a glare from one of the front desk ladies.  So the hell what if he IS a Muslim, for (ahem) God's sake!

Calmly (certainly compared to me) and gently, the elderly woman manning the front desk informed them that Obama would be sworn in on the same family bible that he used when he was worn into the Senate.

"And is it true he doesn't like to salute the flag?"

I kept it holstered the second time around.

"No, no," they were told reassuringly.  "Seantor Obama is a patriot."

"OK," the wife said.  "There are a lot of things we like about him.  We just wanted to ask, because we got some e-mails..."

I began to realize I was face to face with two honest to god Reagan Democrats- Hillary Clinton's "hard working white people".

And you know what? Hillary really was right when she said Obama couldn't connect with them.  Well, sort of.  I think it's just as much that they can't connect with him.   

In a matter of just over 60 seconds, I went from unfiltered disgust to a bit of grudging admiration.  They got splattered by the Republican manure spreader, and while they didn't know immediately which brand of bullshit was being disseminated, they at least had a bullshit meter tuned enough to know it didn't smell right, and went right to the source.

I had even greater admiration for the ladies at the front desk of a field office in a Republican district, and for everyone who has been in the trenches here for months, deeply invested in the campaign, and can hear these kinds of questions and react with cheerful equanimity and simply fight smears with truth and let the people decide.

John McCain has, in all three debates, failed the temperament question, but I damned near failed it, myself, today!

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