At a meeting the other day, someone I admire talked about her new car getting keyed all down the side. This person has a bumper sticker: “Middle-class White Women for Obama.” Maybe her car would have been safe in Seattle, and one would think she’d be safe in nothern Alabama and this city, which often votes blue — but her politics endanger her possessions — and her self. I’ve had several instances of road rage directed at me — big trucks tailgating and passing too quickly, squeezing me into my lane, close calls — and I wonder which instances are the normal road rage in any city and which are punishment for my dark blue Obama presidential campaign bumper sticker.
My son wants me to take the bumper sticker off. I won’t. I will not give in to my own fear and others’ intimidation.
The day after Obama’s speech on health care to Congress, a student in an elementary school here said, “I would like to put a gun to his head and shoot–but I don’t have to because somebody else is going to do it.” Another child said, “”That’s wrong to say. You respect the President of the United States and you don’t make threats of violence to anyone.” Where was the teacher’s input? Absent. The teacher said nothing.
Are we healing racism in this country? The hate talk against Obama indicates we are a nation in need of radical soul searching. Political road rage and cowardly responses inflame. Do we know how to debate with intelligence and decorum? Before the election, I came out to the parking lot and found a piece of notebook paper with a penciled message under my windshield wipers. The message said something about my being blissfully ignorant as a liberal. No signature.
Courage. Conviction. Respect. Dialog.