Thursday, December 2

Flashback - November, 2000

Before I get to part of an essay I wrote back in 2000 (in a very short continuing series of stuff I unearthed from my hard drive), I need to point out two occurrences which have happened in the last month.

Occurrence 1: I've mentioned in the past that I started this blog as an easy way for the pals on my email list to get all these stories and brain farts I come up with. That group of pals (of all political persuasions) still exchanges political messages today (and I still appreciate you guys and your contributions here).

One member of this list decided to shoot out a post-election screed, deriding Democrats for some of their tactics against the Republicans, for our criticism of the GOP, and mostly for our criticism of Bush - and therefore he didn't want to be on the list anymore.

That's it. He didn't like what he read, so he wanted out. (With all due credit to my pals, they HAVEN'T let up on him, even though we no longer hear from him.)

Occurrence 2: Bullit, my wife, was raised in a VERY Christian household, and therefore has a deep knowledge of what the rest of us would call the Red State of Mind. As a writer, she knows how to create a friendly nuanced message when she deals with her family and friends back home, and she does a splendid job in deflecting all the political hooha she gets from them - I dare say, a tenfold better job at diplomacy than I could ever muster.

Just this past week, one of her friends-in-law (a friend of her sis) sent out a mass message about how her 54-year-old uncle - a Vietnam veteran - is willing to join the fight in Iraq because "terrorist [sic] want more then [sic] anything to destroy you and me." This woman, by the way, is in her 30s, so she was too young to see the returning troops from Vietnam firsthand.

Bullit replied with a message of peace, invoking the phrase "Thou shalt not kill" regarding the way we invaded Iraq and its citizens instead of going after - y'know - the terrorists. She praised this woman's uncle profusely, but told her that everyone who returned from Vietnam didn't turn out so gung-ho. She cited her own cousin who needed almost three years to recover from the horror he experienced.

The friend-in-law shot back a highly passive-aggressive reply admonishing Bullit, telling her that the commandment meant only murder, and that we're justified in attacking and killing the enemy - and that we must support the president's decisions.

Oh, and she also mentioned that she was removing Bullit from her email list.

So there we go. In two months, one neocon and one fundamentalist in our inner circle have decided to shut out their friends because we had the temerity to challenge the president.

Which brings us to December, 2000 - and how this closed mindset has remained utterly unchanged since that election.

We moved my mother out of Florida this past May and brought her here - a little over a mile from our home. It was the greatest gift we ever gave her - and ourselves - for many reasons. One of which was Florida's assembly-line healthcare for seniors. Another was the hurricanes. And as you'll see here, Florida's rife with political discrimination.

The neighbors in this essay lived behind my mom. He was 55-ish, his wife in her 40s. Every day, Mom would walk over to the fence and give snacks to their German Shepherd and chat with the couple. They looked out for each other and led an extremely friendly coexistence. Then one day, everything changed.

(You'll see that in spite of this incident, I still gave Bush's supporters some credit. Hey, I was young and naive.)
(November 30, 2000) - The continuing polarizing as a result of this election has opened up a Pandora's Box for those single-cell humanoids who wholeheartedly miss practicing discrimination. Yes, intolerance is making a rousing comeback. Like the pinhead who lives next to my Mom.

Mom is one of the kindest people walking this planet. She's 80 and she lives in what America now thinks of as Pinhead Central: Palm Beach County, Florida. Nonetheless, the folks in her neighborhood always look out for each other. Y'know...feeding each others' pets when they're away, watering the plants...and therefore everyone holds a set of keys to each others' homes. That is until Mrs. Pinhead knocked on Mom's door last Monday to give Mom her house keys back.

"My husband doesn't want the keys to the home of someone who voted Democrat," she said to my Mom.

Mom's first reaction was what any of us would ask. "This is a joke, right?"

"No. He doesn't want to watch your house anymore."

"(after two minutes of a dropped jaw:) Is there anything I can say to him?"

"No. He's impossible to talk to when he's like this. We're sorry."

And she turned home undoubtedly to cater to Mr. Pinhead's other ugly biddings like washing his sheets and hood...leaving Mom with one less friend this late in her life.

Now mind you, Mom never talks politics with anyone. She never puts any kind of political placard on her front lawn, and believes her politics (like religion and life) are nobody's damned business but her own. Still, the Pinhead household HEARD she voted Democratic and gave her the figurative bird. No questions asked.

Is this typical? Hell no. But when something like this happens, should it surprise you that this act of random stupidity came from the mind of a supporter of America's "Compassionate Conservative"? Hell no again.

Again, Pinhead here is in no way typical of the Bush camp. He's just showing his true colors as a card-carrying...well, Pinhead. And no matter which side you're on, you cannot comprehend this sort of thing coming from an 80-year-old lib'rul tree-hugger like my Mom.

This prolonged election has apparently brought out a few people's long-suppressed desire to hate (or at least strong dislike) and discriminate. That we can now identify these jackasses has made all the waiting worthwhile.

In no way do I have the desire to speak for this manure pile in Sans-A-Belt slacks, but I'm still compelled to say, "I'm so sorry, Mom."
What bugs me after four years is that this behavior doesn't stun me anymore. It's been repeated so many times that it has become a permanent stain in the fabric of our lives.

Bush. America's uniter.