Tuesday, November 04, 2008


when i was eight years old, i remember sitting in the passenger side while my dad drove down the highway. Upon seeing the driver of the car in front of us had adorned their bumper with a Dukakis sticker of support, I promptly turned to my dad and announced my hope that the driver “fall off the face of the earth.”

I had no idea what Dukakis stood for. I didn’t know what it meant to be Democrat a Republican for that matter. All I knew was that the administration of our Baptist Christian school had given us that day off from the normal school day to hold mock elections. The local news had come, and we were driving home to see if I had gotten on TV. Our principal told us that when we each walked into the homemade election booths, we were free to make whatever choice we wanted, as long as it was for George Bush. George Bush Sr. was of course on the side of God and Pro life. And we knew you were either for God and little babies, or you were for Satan. Hence my vehement wish on the driver’s fate—a long walk off a short earth.

Little did I know that at eight-years-old, that my word was completely flat.

Not only would the earth have to be level to have an actual “face” from which the evil driver could fall, I was too young and misinformed to see a round world and take both points of view into consideration. I knew one side, and it was God’s. Why would He, or my principal waste time with the wrong side? But what scares the living shit out of me was my instinctive reaction to armor myself with blind hatred. I didn’t know anything about Dukakis, his party, or even the driver. But in a sort of primal way, it shows us how fear of the unknown and the desire to be "correct" are often just what the bartender ordered to mix a hate cocktail.

I’ve since sobered up from this kind of thinking. As a former republican, the past eight years have forced me to swallow the notion that I was wrong. Unfortunately I’ve seen much of the McCain camp still drunk on my eight-year-old attitude. People see someone they don’t identify with, talking about completely new ideas, and suddenly they’re making tenuous connections to Acorn. Using convenient puns like “Obamanation.” Accusing him of being a terrorist because of his middle name. Calling his tax plan “wealth redistribution” as if the Democratic Party is really the Bolshevik Army in disguise, biding their time before they come dump out their grandmother’s hope chest of heirlooms. They’re reduced to my eight-year-old logic desperately defending their beliefs because they haven’t seen or refuse perceive a world from all sides, one that’s round. Or simply because they’re so set in their ways and they don’t want to face the daunting proposition that they just might not be right.
Luckily my dad scolded my little Earth exiling ass that day. Although a republican, he at least knew it wasn’t right for anyone to be pushed out of the atmosphere over a bumper sticker. The other night I think I may have convinced him to take that logic one step further, and admit with his vote that the policies of the past eight years have failed. And to anyone else who takes that step, thank you. It’s gut wrenchingly difficult to face facts and admit you may have been wrong. But thanks to the nature of the curtains that surround you tomorrow, no one will have to know. I hope you can soften the armor of your heart, and find the part of it that knows how to do the right thing.

if you actually got to the end of this, thanks.


Perfectly Placed/Poised and Waiting said...

Thank you for writing this! I was born into a family of Republicans. I might recommend this to some of them...the few who might be able to take it once they realize it's not saying "You are a good human being because you're a Republican. Go, you!"

I started blogging because I once lived in Texas and I knew things were really, really f***ed up there; I needed to record it. One thing I observed again and again was the crazed, school-spirit-like, "WOO HOO YEAHHHHHHH" way Texans love their state/ country/ football team(s). It's not just pride, it borders on the mentality of a rabid mob--you can see it during football games and NASCAR events. You can see it on their bumper stickers. You can see it in the shape of Texas superimposed over absolutely everything, often filled in with stars and stripes.

The flip side to that kind of blind patriotism to the USA, Texas, and the NFL, is the unwillingness to admit there's any other way to be. But there is. The world isn't divided into Republican and "souls on their way to burn in hell for all eternity."

As one such soul, I tried to defend my social and political views without insulting anyone. All I got was blank looks and a couple offers for prayer.

I wondered if it was possible to look at one's views, politics, opinions, and see there really is another way to be. After a few years, I figured, probably not. I never changed my views. They never changed theirs.

But what you wrote was...well, just perfect. Thank you.

(Sorry for the long comment. I could have just said "Yeah!" but I thought this would mean more, somehow.)

Jaime Schwarz said...

Obviously you know my political leanings, but you also know I like to play devil's advocate. So here's a little taste of blind faith from our side:


Which one of these little girls do you identify with most as your opposite from the '88 election?

And though these kids a old enough to think for themselves, look what they do:


concha said...

yeah, i'm not really into this either. frankly, i don't think he'd be.

concha said...

perfectly placed. hi, honey.

sorry it took me so long to respond. thank you for your thoughtful response. i want to come back with some solution, but alas.

that crazed mentality you speak of... it's a big bubble of stuff we don't understand. what i've come to accept, is that i can't change my racist parents.

they are a product of conditioning...brainwashing, some might say...

the only thing i can do, and you can do, is not dwell on those mistakes or anyone else's, including those you run into in TX. the best thing we can do is ignore those horrific opinions. because in our ignoring them, we don't give them worth. and in our ignoring them, they lose their value. their words become, well, worthless. my hope is, and im sure yours is too, their value dips below what we consider the currency to pay and play a role in this world. one where all of us have a dollar to chip in for the price of equality. we can't change everyone's mind. but we are responsible for ourselves. and the mistakes of others only fuel me with more desire to take the responsibility i've been blessed with and use it for good.
the only person you can ultimately answer to, is yourself. and the only time you can take charge of this is now. my goal is to take now and turn it into love (cheese ball alert!!) despite the awful things that may float around the atmosphere of what you hear, those things aren't what you're responsible for. the only thing you really can do is keep being the person you are, and hope who's receptive to it will catch on. if they don't...it's not your problem . i wasted a lot of energy thinking that the people with these "wrong" (and they are wrong) beliefs were my responsibility. like it was my responsibility to make significant change in the concaves of their brain. in a way, even though im not religious, it's when jesus said, "forgive them. they know not what they do." if they won't listen, refocus your energy on love. because that is what you were meant to do. no use in wasting your time on people who don't get it and won't spread it, better use it for someone who needs it and will give it back to someone else who needs nothing more than a hug. it's almost darwinian in that aspect. the unloves will get phased out by the loves. and if i can't make it happen in my lifetime, well, i hope nature will run it's course in the ways of love (eye roll!) yes....i just said ways of love. queue the richard marx song :)

concha said...

also this: don't reply to comments when you're 7 vodka sodas deep at 6am :)