This morning started like the last few Sunday mornings, with my latest handmade Obama sign in shreds. The kids, drunks or whoever it is that drives my rural Texas road on Saturday nights had again expressed their political opinions in the crudest possible way. But no problem; my signs are individual sheets of paper, each printed with one letter--O,B,A,M,A--that I color blue with diluted craft paint and string on twine. Ten minutes work to replace.
I'd also spent a good part of yesterday replying to the usual ugliness emailed me by people who should know better: Michelle's Lobster and Cavier "Snack"...Obama=Hitler?...Obama Will Make America Into A Communist Nation. Thank God, only ten more days to go. If I could just make it through election day--I'm a Democratic judge-- it would all be over.
I headed out to Duke's Chevron, a convenience store on Jacksboro Highway that has a few booths and sells the usual burritos, potato wedges and pastry. Almost every morning I go there to have my morning cola, Tootsie Roll and sausage biscuit. I can also count on some some good-natured ribbing from the folks who call me "that Democrat!" and occasionally, some discussion with those who want to know why a nice woman like me would vote for "that awful man."
I was a little later than usual this Sunday, which meant I'd missed the pre-church crowd. There was no one there other than Jody, at the counter, a woman who works one shift at Duke's, then another full shift at the restaurant next door, making just enough to survive and provide for her family. I asked her about the condition of her newborn granddaughter, still in the hospital after neonatal heart surgery. The baby was doing well, Jody reported. Biscuit, soda, Tootsie Roll, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, $3.45 I sat down to eat and read.
Too many sea turtles being killed by fishermen...American generals changing their strategy in Afghanistan...the winners of the paper's pumpkin carving contest...I worked my way through, then turned to the editorial and opinion pages.
And got a jolt. There he was. Full-figure, taking up three-quarters of the left-hand page, walking along with that now-famous smile. The lanky guy with the jug ears. The black guy. The jihadist. The terrorist. The socialist.The communist. The baby-killer. That One. That Awful Man.
Barack Hussein Obama.
Above him, a headline: Barack Obama is best choice.
I must have sat there for a good thirty seconds, just staring, my throat a little tight. Then I began to read.
The attached full-page editorial began by detailing the problems that face this country, and the need for change. Below that:
Obama provides the prescription for America's ills at this moment: a fine, inquisitive intellect, paired with an eloquence that allows him to articulate a message with clarity and substance; an ability to inspire people of all ages, races and ethnicities who never before were engaged in the political process; and an unflappable temperment that allows him to weather a barrage of withering personal attacks.
Under his leadership, the Obama campaign has been amazingly disciplined, efficient and effective. Those same talents will be essential for the difficult work ahead....
This, from a paper in the deepest part of blood-red Texas. This, from a paper that endorsed McCain in the primaries. I wanted to show to someone, wave it in someone's face, but the store was empty, and Jody was busy in the back.
So I kept on reading. For the Star-Tel's editors, the contrast between Obama's choice of Biden and McCain's choice of Palin were large factors in their decision. As for Obama's supposed lack of experience...
....it's a fact that [Obama's] governing resume is not as long as we'd like for a new president.
But he has surounded himself with talented and knowledgeable advisors from whom he draws counsel and historical context, people such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and investor and philanthropist Warren Buffet.
The editors also contrasted McCain's campaign strategy
--fear drives otherwise rational people to make irrational, even hurtful statements--
Obama isn't afraid to articulate people's fears and acknowledge their anxieties and then try to help them move beyond them.
They finished with this:
Barack Obama's performance throughout his two-year presidential campaign has been extraordinary. He has never blown his cool under enormous pressure and vicious attacks. He has continued to speak of bringing our nation together to work for the "more perfect union" that our forefathers envisioned.
That is indicative of what Americans can and should expect of a commander in chief when the unexpected occurs--and it will occur.
The Star-Telegram recommends Barack Obama for president of the United States.
Thank God there was none of the usual crowd at Duke's this morning. You really don't want a bunch of hard-boiled Texans seeing you cry. I waited until Jody came back to the counter and, with the pride of someone showing you their kid's picture, showed it to her. She nodded.
"Good. About damn time we got someone who cares about people like us."
Checked my email and found this from someone who had originally sent me an ugly "Obama is" email that I'd pointed out was a lie.
If you want to vote for a terrorist, diaper wearing n*****r, that WILL bring this country down, go right ahead, but leave me out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I wrote back: "Tssk. Such language. And the diaper-wearer, sir, is going to win!"
Still, it had me gritting my teeth. Until I came back here and found I'd been recc'd. Thanks so much, folks! You guys make up for all the uglies...who are getting more vicious as they realize they're going to lose!
I just put up my sixth sign, paper sheets spelling O,B,A,M,A with two Obama/Biden logo sheets on either end and nickels taped to the back to keep them from flipping in the wind. There may be a seventh sign, even an eighth. But I've just decided what I'll put up for my last sign...
"Yes, we DID!"