Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Election Day Aggravation (on being a one-l Hilary)

After voting for Hillary in the KY primary, I made my way to the post office and got in a long slow line.

Behind me was a big man with a deep, resonant voice that hummed into my brain as he talked endlessly on his cell to a woman whom I learned is suffering from depression, and for whom he had ordered online, "love that eBay!" and dropped off at her back door, six boxes of a "completely holistic, can't do you any harm" anti-depressant.

He further suggested that she stop taking her doctor-prescribed medication and shift to his cure; and then went on to tell her about his son's (don't know that for sure, as I was merely an unwilling listener) struggle with his parole officer and his license-loss for a DUI, and then on to many, many other topics in great and loving detail.

As the line we were in moved forward, I would jump ahead to get some space between me and his deep resonant voice directly into my ears, but each time he closed the gap to stay closely behind me.

This low-grade misery ended when I gained the head of the line and stepped up to the tall and handsome, grey-haired, U of KY basketball-obsessed woman postal clerk. The big guy moved to the other clerk.

"Well, how are you today!" The clerk boomed at me as she began to process my letters.

"I voted, so I feel good!" I replied, touching the "I voted" sticker on my shirt.

"Well, I didn't!" she almost-shouted, so that her voice could be heard by everyone in the place. "No one to vote for!"

OK, I thought, "no one to vote for" among Hillary, Barack, and McCain. That probably means deep religious right. I looked down at the counter and did not speak.

"Did you hear about Ted Kennedy!" she shouted, as she placed the label on my envelope. At that I looked up. She wanted a fight.

Looking her in the eye I said, "Yes, and that is terrible news to me, though I bet a lot of people around here think it's great." I had cut out her chance to smirk and do the right-wing anti-Kennedy nudge-nudge, or so I thought.

To undercut me, she took up the "thoughtful Christian" response, wide-eyed and loving. "My gosh, I know what you mean, but people really should be able to separate out a man's personal life from his political beliefs, you know?"

She was not taking this in a very logical direction, so she tried again, while we interpolated comments about adding one-cent stamps to my letters. "I remember when my husband was in college, and Jack Kennedy was assassinated, and the negative comments - "

At this bizarre attempt to show her sympathy for the Kennedys I interrupted her, trying to prevent myself from hearing more shit of this terrible type. I lowered my voice and said, "Anyway, seeing as how my first name is Hilary, I just keep my mouth shut around here to get along, you know?"

She did not hear me and shouted "What?" So I repeated myself, a bit louder. And then the big guy who had stood bellowing on his phone behind me, heard my remark and burst into new voice. "Wow, with that name I bet you aren't voting for Bama - Obama, Obama," he crowed from beside me.

I hunched down and looked at "my" clerk, who finally realized that maybe she should shut the hell up and get me out of there. I said, "You see what I mean," and she nodded in sympathy and gave me my stamps, as the guy, on his way out the door, shouted to the room, "She has to vote for Hillary, she doesn't have a choice, not a choice!"

I turned around wide-eyed to the line behind me to make my escape, and found one indignant woman shouting at the hastily retreating back of the big guy, "She does too have a choice!" The others in line stared back at me, mildly shocked at all this outcry. As I walked toward the door I saw a beautiful young black woman standing in line, with her "I voted today" sticker on her shirt.

I said, to her, "I voted too - and isn't it great?"
"Yes, it's WONDERFUL!" she replied with a friendly smile, and I went out into the fresh air.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton: Thank You for the Honor!

I just got back from voting. When I spoke my first name aloud for the gals to check it in the book, I wondered if I was breaking some sort of election law.
So just for humor I added, "With one l."

But they smiled, they had seen it all, and then I got to go into the booth and vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States of America.

Electronic voting -- bad. You bet!
But nonetheless my heart lit up when I scrolled the clicker-thinger around and it filled the box with red to the left of her name.

I pressed Enter!
I got to do this wonderful thing!

I then made my two other votes - both for change, and against everything that Cheney and his toy stand for, gave a small cheer heard only within the immediate environs of the booth, and stepped away.

My face must have been shining with the joy of that moment as I walked out of the school cafeteria, past the ladies in their pearls sitting decorously near the door, and out into the morning air.

By the time I crossed the street back to my block, I was shaking and weepy.
I know that looks bad -- soft, sentimental, too human and girly.

Oh well - too bad for anyone who sees it that way.

I have wanted to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President since the mid-90s.
I have a button somewhere that reads, "Hillary in 96" that was affixed to the visor in my car for many years.

This was finally my day to reach that long-awaited goal.

Thank you to everyone who made this possible (including though not entirely limited to, my own several fifty-dollar contributions).

I look forward to whatever happens next.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is it me...or them?

In Lexington KY, I went to a nearby fancy Hillary event last night – “an evening with Hillary’s best friend” that was also featuring Chelsea and the inevitable Phyllis George and KY Dem party leader Jerry Lundergan (he looks like Count Dracula – sleek seal type) – and left after about a half hour.

It was the strangest reaction.

I went in, got my name tag (“one l, please”) and then went in the adjoining rooms to see people getting wine, and loading up on dainties (mostly deep fried!!!).

This is at the big place with white columns on N Lime that was a funeral home until a few months ago but has been redone as a for-hire party palace, complete with pompous bad little hunting paintings and such.

I saw that I was grossly under-dressed, or that was my first reaction.

I had my usual garb on, plus a Hillary Tshirt, and was carrying my backpack.

The women and men were wearing big-time party clothes, very elegant dresses, and the women were slathered in heavy makeup.

I got a small plate of vegetables to nibble on and walked into the adjoining ‘permanent tent’ to sit down, in front of a podium with big tv lights shining on it, and did some people-watching. They were talking up a storm, so excited and happy, with many girly screams of joys and little hugs and stuff.

Sure there were other modestly dressed people there but …maybe five total.

I watched the gals and guys flow in….the elusive Bluegrass wealthy, I realized, with whom my path has never before intersected….and these were the liberals among ‘em.

And then, after eating my vegs, while I still had time before the show started, I just – got up, discarded my plate, walked back through the intervening rooms and went out the door, got in my car, drove back over to my apartment.

I still don’t know what my reaction was all about.

It may be that I am, simply, for Obama but don’t yet know it; but it seemed deeper than that.

Right now I know that I had a great big YUCKO response to that scene.

Of course I will vote for Hillary in the primary on the 20th, but my estrangement is deep and total from the people who are the Democrat party stalwarts here.