My trip to Fry's Food Market in Phoenix, Arizona turned political this morning. First of all there was a table outside with two older Navy men dressed in their dress white uniforms. There was a donation jar on their table and a sign asking for help for military veterans. Something felt very wrong about the scene and I walked by and went on to my shopping. As I pondered the situation I vowed I'd stop by and talk to the men. More below the fold:
At the checkout counter, the clerk rang up my order and then asked if I'd like to donate any money to the Susan G. Komen foundation and I said not only no but hell no. Why would I donate to a cause that took on the goal of destroying Planned Parenthood? The clueless clerk said "but it's for breast cancer" and I said you need to do some research here, that this cause would take your money, pay large amounts to it's bigoted and fundamentalist directors and board and little would go towards alleviating breast cancer. I intend to send a letter to the management of Fry's and express my outrage at their choice of charity.
Back out in front of the store, I dropped by the table manned by the veterans and told them politely. "I very much support veterans but believe that the very funds you're trying to collect should be coming from the Federal government and not private donations and that if they truly wanted to help veterans, perhaps they should be registering voters and helping us turn the Republicans out of office, the scum that have made a career out of throwing our military into needless wars and then defunding veteran's benefits at every opportunity". I expected at that time to be accosted with Rush Limbaugh talking points but surprisingly the larger of the two men smiled at me and said he agreed, that they were both very active on that front as well, that John McCain goes out of his way to avoid him after numerous confrontations. I laughed and said that I'd be doing my part extensively in the coming months, wished them well, thanked them for their service and carried my groceries to my car.
I met a woman a month or so back who seemed nice and open minded and she spied my Obama bumper sticker and got outraged, told me she was from a military family and they all hated him and I asked her why. She said that it was because he was not an advocate for veterans and I just shook my head and told her to do some serious research because the facts were completely different from her family's perceptions. Having these two older veterans actually know the truth was encouraging to me today.
I think the lesson from today though is EVERY TIME we see examples of right wing, fascist, hypocritical, or uneducated behavior, no matter if it's a casual walk into our supermarket, an email from our opinionated racist uncle, a talk at a cocktail party, we need to stand up and have our voices heard and not be intimidated by their numbers, their uniform, their attractiveness, or their power. Their megaphone right now through the election is bigger than ours, more heavily funded. I feel good right now because I didn't stay silent and found hope in finding an unlikely ally at that table. Let's get people registered and ensure they have every tool at their disposal to have their vote counted.
7:40 PM PT: Wow, I wrote this in the morning and then had to head out of town. Get back to an amazing response. Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments and recs.