Since I work for a county organization in a highly Republican area, my most passionate political discussions tend to be with like-minded coworkers. Though I rarely let a chance go by without some comment, I tend to be diplomatic and emphasize the hole we're in, rather than who put us there.
I let people draw their own conclusions.
A friend of mine has been genuinely conflicted over her choices this Presidential campaign season. She liked Clinton, especially since she is our NY State Senator and has done good things for the area.
But Barack Obama... she said, "There's something about him I just can't feel comfortable with."
(It would not be diplomatic at this point to discuss any racial issues. I don't think she is racist, at all. But we're one of those areas where the African American segment is like 1%.) I explained why I liked Obama, and suggested she see what he says on his website, especially listening to his speeches.
But it wasn't what Obama did that let her make up her mind. It's what McCain did.
To the Flipmobile!
I've actually heard people saying of Obama, "I don't know if he has the experience. I don't know if he has the right policies. I don't know."
What they are saying is, I don't know him.
I do my best.
McCain is a name they have been hearing for decades. And, in the past, he always said things they liked, too! So it must be quite the mental shift for them to consider an unknown candidate with some unconscious baggage attached.
Especially since I almost always hear the reflexive, "I honor McCain's service, of course."
But the other day my friend, fretting about bills, facing a surgery on her husband, with three girls to raise and try to get through college, told me that she saw an interview with John McCain.
"He was so out of it! I didn't hear any real plans, just this vagueness, like he really doesn't know what to do!"
"I don't think he does," I said, nodding in agreement.
"He reminds me of my mother, when we had to start reminding her about her pills. She's wonderful, but she couldn't be in charge of things like she used to."
"Yup, I know what you mean."
"I couldn't get any sense he knew what he was talking about. I can't do it. I can't vote for John McCain."
"I know. We only have two choices. And it's really important this year."
We made a lunch date to discuss the matter further. I'm just going to keep the conversation on that track, sharing what I've learned from going online. She's not new to the Internet, just new to finding out political information that way.
I'm here to help.
Just last night, another friend; no cable, no newspaper, someone who relies on his friends for political information, came for a visit and asked, "So what's new?"
We told him about the "Nation of Whiners" comment.
"This is McCain's economic advisor?"
"His head economic advisor," my spouse emphasized.
"Well, damn! I can't vote for him now!"