Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election 2006: Adventures at the Polls, Episode 2: Republican Attitudes on Display???

So back to handing out literature last night. We were outnumbered by the Republicans four to two...until my sidekick ended her shift, and then it was four to one. But I managed to get sample ballots out to more people than they did, so, again, I felt virtuous.

Now, when I relate what follows I in no way intend to suggest that such attitudes are common among Republicans...I'm just telling you what I saw and heard from one Republican.

I was chatting pleasantly with my Republican acquaintance, and the woman working with him, doing my best to keep things jokey and pleasant, and to avoid politics. But this woman just couldn't resist provoking me, first with an outburst (unrelated to what we were then discussing) about how "stupid" John Kerry was, then later about how Webb was a "pornographer." When a rather hippy-scruffy-looking fellow turned down an Allen sticker she sniffed, just out of his range of hearing "Well, we can see the quality of the people voting Democrat."

The one truly appalling episode of the night when the Republican woman and I both approached one man, offering him sample ballots. He said something--"no thank you" or something similar--in a thick hispanic accent. At this my Republican counterpart's face darkened, and she said, incredulously, her voice sounding constricted, "Are you voting?"...and all I can say is that the implication was clear. I'm not spinning things here, and I'm in no way searching for something bad to say about Republicans. But I'm telling you that if you were standing there, seeing her face and hearing her tone of voice, I believe that you'd interpret her meaning as I did: she was angry, and she was clearly implying that she was skeptical about his right to vote. She clearly communicated her skepticism, and clearly suggested that he was doing something wrong.

Furthermore, when he indicated that he was voting--by this time obviously a bit unnerved, she shoved the Republican sample ballot into his hands, and said--this is not a quote, but it's pretty close--just vote for these (now poking the ballot with her finger) just vote like if he were too stupid to exercise any free will in the matter...and then she literally turned her back on him in what was apparently a huff.

I was astonished. I offered the man the Democratic sample ballot, and said (again, not a quote, but as close as I can remember): You don't have to vote like that. Would you like one of these? It shows the Democratic positions. By this time his eyes were wide and he was moving quickly toward the doors. He held up the Republican sample he had, his eyes rather wide, and said that that one was fine. I didn't want her tactics to succeed, but I didn't want to act like she had, either, forcing the ballot on him. And, heck, for all I know he could have been a Republican.

At first I thought I must be overreacting to the event, then by this morning I came to think that I had under-reacted, and should have taken her to task for what she had done. I was so surprised...she had been sweet as pie one minute, and then vaguely aggressive the next. And we were suddenly so busy that I almost forgot about the incident until she had already left.

Experiences like this are vague and impressionistic, but the more I think about it the more I think it bordered pretty close on harassment.



Blogger Alexander Wolfe said...

I think we all know somebody like that (and down here in Texas I know quite a few.) They are the people the GOP pandered to in the run-up to the mid-terms, and it's the reason they lost so badly.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I came by to offer my congratulations, but you're still crabbing, I see. I'll wait until you're in a better mood. If ever.


5:58 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Don't add the winky-face when it's insincere.

I'm not crabbing. I'm reporting an at least semi-interesting incident.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I was sincere. In fact I thought I wouldn't ruin your day and mention ACORN and get back to the usual reminder that crap happens on both sides.


1:55 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

That sounds like an over-zealous volunteer to me, so I suppose one could call it "retail" intimidation rather than "wholesale" intimidation. It still isn't right.

In any event, kudos to you, WS, for spending your time and energy at the pools handing out flyers.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shout-out to my old home team--Rutgers(!) just picked off #3 in the nation, Louisville, 28-25. When I lived in NJ, they were lucky to win 2 games in a season; since 2000 they've had a major turnaround, and are now a genuine player.

So go Scarlet Knights! And a belated congrats for picking off the Tar-Heels last month (snerk)

1:17 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

WHAT? Carolina lost a FOOTBALL GAME???

Now I'm REALLY gonna get crabby.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came by to offer my congratulations, but you're still crabbing, I see. I'll wait until you're in a better mood. If ever.

I'm curious - does this qualify as a drive-by?

11:45 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Tom just likes the last word, LL, often regardless of what that word IS...

7:23 AM  

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