Thursday, January 10, 2008
I had a disturbing conversation with a man who clerks at my neighborhood grocery and with whom we swap friendly banter on a near-daily basis. He enjoys greeting us variously as Mr. and Mrs. Flip or Mr. and Mrs. Susan and never tires of addressing us thus.
Today, he beamed at me as he totted up my purchases and said, "What did you think of the New Hampshire primary?"
I said I was disgusted by Hillary's blatant and cynical attempts to pull votes out of people's heartstrings because Obama was the better person.
"Yes," he said, "he is a good man but if he gets elected there will be race riots all over the country. People will be killing each other in the streets."
I was dumbfounded. The illogic of his remark sat over the counter like a heavy gray cloud. Racism is still racism no matter how it's rationalized.
"That's no reason not to vote for him," I said. "That's pandering to racists because you suspect they might do something. How is that good for America?"
"I'll do anything to get Bill back," he said. "Cheating is better than people dying every day. Bill cared about the working man."
I looked closely to see if he was frothing at the mouth.
Personally, I think what Bill Clinton cared about had nothing to do with men, working or idle.
I usually avoid broadcasting my political preferences in this space, but the magnitude of spurious reasoning evinced by Bob, who votes, is so staggering that I cannot help myself.
His thought process is equivalent to not giving women the vote because some of them might stop darning their husband's socks. Or how about not giving children an education because they might use it someday to become "dangerous" to the dominant culture? In fact, this is the very rationale that allowed segregation in public schools.
Such reasoning would have us continue to elect white presidents forever, whether or not they are the most qualified candidates and despite the fact that we are a multi-racial society, simply to avoid conflict.
If we are so paralyzed by fear that we refuse to advance in any way, we are doomed.