several times while i’ve been working on the sales floor at the b&n, i keep having this repeated encounter with a liberal elderly white gentleman (from now on to be known as the lewg). (how do i know he’s liberal? read on…) the first encounter, a couple of months ago, went something like this:
lewg (with smug look on his face): did you do the right thing?
me (thinking, what the fuck?): depends on what you mean by ‘right thing’.
lewg: you know, did you vote for obama?
me (nearly choking on my own spit): no, i did not.
lewg (looking disappointed): oh, so you voted for mccain?
me (smiling, trying to be polite, because i am on the clock): um, actually, no i didn’t.
lewg: oh, so you didn’t vote at all, hmmm…
me (perhaps trying not to look smug): actually, i voted third party.
a couple of months went by where i didn’t see or hear from him. and then, last friday, an old white man slid up to me like he had some sort of secret, and asked, again with a smug look on his face: ‘did you do the right thing?’ i then recognized the lewg, and said, ‘i think we had this conversation a couple of months ago, and my answer still hasn’t changed. if you mean by ‘right thing’ voting for obama, i think i did the right thing by not voting for him.’ again, he just said, ‘oh’ and smiled at me and walked off. well, today, the same thing happened again, with the same person. i’m thinking that the old man may have alzheimer’s or that maybe he doesn’t realize that he’s talking to the same person when he asks the question. maybe he doesn’t realize that i’m the only person of color that works at this particular b&n, nor does he realize that we (people of color) do not all look alike. at any rate, the lewg is apparently quite proud of himself, an elderly white man who actually voted for a black person, maybe for the first time in his long life. i guess that means he’s not a racist, although i’m relatively sure that he’s not going around asking white people if they did the right thing. (or maybe he is, who knows?)
just to make it clear, i did not vote for obama, and think that a lot of people of all races who did vote for him are now having buyer’s remorse. many politicians run on a platform of change, but voters have grown accustomed to that sort of rhetoric and really don’t expect elected officials to actually change anything once in office. the conservative-liberal pendulum swings back and forth with each election, and it was time for the pendulum to move to the left. most people just didn’t realize how far left, and to what lengths obama was/is willing to go to accomplish his agenda.
on election day 2008, i shed tears because i was happy that this country had finally elected a person of color to the most powerful position on the planet. however, i felt, and still feel that i did that right thing by voting my conscience, and not as expected by the mainstream. if i had it to do over again, i would do the same thing, and knowing how things have turned out, perhaps i would be more vocal in my voicing my opinions. now, i’m just waiting for this coming november. i really hope that the majority of the american people will do the right thing in the mid-term elections, and show the members of congress who have blindly (or even begrudgingly) supported obama’s health-care agenda the door. and then we can show obama the door in 2012 (although for various reasons, i don’t necessarily believe that will happen…),