This summer, my family and I took a much-needed, long-awaited vacation to Disney World. We loved it! Yes, there was the occasional line to wait in for some of the more popular attractions, but the Disney Way is to entertain you as you are waiting in line. Music plays, sometimes there is video, and, particularly in the Animal Kingdom, the waiting areas look like safari-booking agencies, or white water rafting places.
Contrast the above with our return flight, where we had to wait for freaking ever in the Orlando airport, where no fewer than 4 televisions in our small waiting area had the loathsome CNN late-breaking news story, which just happened to be "Terror in the Tunnel!" (July freakiness in the Holland Tunnel in NYC, scary shit, but still...) It went on and on and on. And you know what? It totally did not fit into my "Disney Bubble" that I so enjoyed while being at Disney World.
I had the pleasure of being cradled in a different kind of bubble yesterday, when I had the opportunity to go and see this man. He was with Bruce Braley, who is campaigning heavily in our District for a seat in the US Congress. They appeared, along with some other Dems who are running for office this November, at a local elementary school gymnasium. It was not a fundraiser, nor was it a ticketed event- anyone, I repeat, ANYONE was welcome to attend. Mr. Obama is an amazing speaker and I do not question his honesty, his integrity, his earnest-ness (is that a word?). I was so impressed with his position on the war, the economy, health care, minimum wage. Listening to him, I was filled with hope, with optimism.
On the way back to our car, which was parked on a side street about a block from the school, we saw a guy who goes to our church. I won't use this space to say how creepy I have always thought he was-oops, too late. He was out in his yard, playing catch with his son. He was deliberately avoiding looking at us, until Mr. T addressed him with a "Hi, John, how are you?" Without looking at us, he replied "Hi, fine, how are you?". His words were nothing but polite, but his tone gave him away. His 5 year old son asked "Do we know them, Dad?" and then, he kind of had to save face and answer nicely, "Yeah, they go to our church." And as an aside- (to us?), definitely meant for our ears, "I'm just glad it's someone I know who's parked in front of my house. I'm outraged that they would use a public school for something like that. It should have been held at a private venue instead of wasting our tax dollars." We didn't further engage him in conversation, but as we were driving away, I thought of a million things I'd have liked to have said to him, like, "We'll pray for you, John." or, "Then I'm sure you were equally as outraged when Dick Cheney came to town and all of our police officers and other emergency workers were making sure that no "outsiders" attended the event and that 70 year old women waving small flags were arrested, because those little sticks could be used as a weapon." , or "How about that president of ours, junking the Geneva Convention and potentially putting our troops in danger, despite advice to the contrary from well-respected sources like Colin Powell and the FBI?" Grr. The man is running for PUBLIC office. We VOTE in public schools- hell, we even vote in CHURCHES, which seems to go against the grain. Why is it such an outrage that people running for public office be given the opportunity to appear to the public- and speak? Again, it was not a ticketed event, unlike the one that Laura Bush appeared at on Friday, which was a pricey fundraiser for Mike Whalen, I think. When the Republicans have had events here, they have definitely NOT been open to the public, and in some cases, people had to pledge allegiance to the GOP. Shouldn't everyone be welcome? What if someone was undecided? What if attending that event made them change their mind in a party's favor? Do we not have the right to assemble?
I love our country. I love that we have the freedom to express our opinions, even when they go against what the current administration says and does. I welcome every one to vote and to vote their conscience. I have friends who are all over the map of the political spectrum- from staunch Republicans, to a friend from high school who actually worked for the Socialist Worker Party. I admit that most of our friends lean a little more left of center, but I don't treat people differently because they don't vote like I do. It's ok that we don't all agree. BUT! Why did this jerk feel that it was ok for him to spew his own political opinions to us? All my husband did was say hello, as is the norm in CIVILIZED company. He didn't say anything about his feelings about the president, about the war, about anything, and he definitely wouldn't bring it up in casual conversation with people he doesn't know very well.
I don't get it, and it definitely didn't fit into my "Obama Bubble".