Saturday, September 27, 2008

What We Put On Our Cars, We Wear On Our Sleeves

My partner and I were driving ourselves and our dog to the local forest preserve today to take a walk and get away from all of the political blogs and cable tv pundits. We had just turned onto a four lane road when a car behind us veered sharply in front of us, cut us off, and then slowed down with a great deal of purpose. It was as if the driver was intent on us seeing the back of his car, which we did. The left back bumper had a sticker that said "Nobama" and the right side had a White Sox sticker on it, and in the middle was a "Marines" sticker.

I suppose the sin we had committed was having both "Cubs" and "Obama-Biden" stickers on our car, though I initially wasn't sure which had offended him more. Moments later, we found out. As our car pulled next to his at the light, we were determined to not engage him, not to look at him. We were going to be the bigger people and not be baited. Our windows were open, his were open. As the light changed and he started to speed away, he yelled out his window:

"Go vote for your nigger!"

There was something so vile, so raw, so ugly about this man's hatred that shook me deeply and stunned us both into a brief silence. And then I cried. It felt like we had both witnessed and experienced a moment of American tragedy. An innocent ride down the road turned into a demonstration of the fundamental problem in this country. On the one side are people who are filled with hope, want to believe in the best of our country and want us to move to a new chapter in the history of America. On the other side are people who seem to want basically good things, but express themselves with such mean spiritedness that is disturbing, at best, and frightening at its worst. This guy was mean. This guy was so determined to be mean to us and spread his hatred, that he went out of his way to do it. It was oooh sooo tempting to fight back. It was tempting to yell back, but we didn't get the chance because the coward sped away. The Marine launched his verbal grenade and then ran like a chicken. One of McCain's heroes. What would I have said had he stuck around for my rebuttal? Told him he was a racist bigot? Told him I was as much a patriot as Mr. Marine? Or simply sum it up in three words that seem to say it all:

white sox suck.

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