Posted by: Joolz2u | November 7, 2008

Walking the Plank

A few weeks ago I was watching the movie “A Walk To Remember” with my daughter. In the beginning there is a scene where a bunch of teens coax another teen, Clay,  to a drainage pond for a sort of initiation. If Clay climbs to the top of a high platform and jumps into the water, then he gets to be part of their group of friends. The teen is nervous, so the main male character, Landon, climbs the platform with him and tells him they will jump together. They count to three and, as expected, only Clay makes the jump while Landon and his friends laugh at the teen’s fear and naivete.

During that scene I had a flash of memory. It was a long-forgotten incident that happened when I was around 11 years old. It was summer and very hot. I was at a friend’s house and she had a small, above-ground pool that was around 4 feet deep. My friend, her sisters, cousin, another friend and myself were all playing in the pool. They decided that we should play a game and try to do push-ups under water. We did this a few times and would come up laughing at how hard it was to do.

On the last attempt, my head came slightly out of the water and just before I went under again I heard the other friend say, “Come on, stop it. It’s not funny anymore.” I opened my eyes under the water and realized that I was the only one doing this. And I had been the only one doing it all along. That was the first time I had experienced the feeling of real betrayal. I was hurt and embarrassed, and although I let it go and remained friends with this girl, I never completely trusted her again.

For some reason that incident came back to me in my last moments of dreaming this morning. I woke up and wondered why on earth my subconscious would pull that back up. Then in my sleepy state the word “Republicans” floated through my head. I put the pieces together and realized that a post from another blog had stuck in my head: http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2008/11/06/a-tale-of-two-parties-myths-realities-and-strategies-in-the-general-election/#comments.

In that post were the election day statistics broken down by party. Turns out that the number of voters who turned out in 2008 was only slightly larger than the number who showed up in 2004, in direct contradiction of the mainstream media accounts of historically massive voter turnout. Yes, there were millions of new registered voters, most of them Democrats. But if you look at the breakdown by party, there you will find the surprising news that all those newly registered voters simply replaced the Republicans who didn’t bother to show up this year.

Why should that bother me, an Independent? Because I wasn’t always an Independent. Until June of ’08 I was a Democrat. I left the party over the fraud of the primary and convention, and became a hardened PUMA. I strained friendships with my refusal to support Obama. I fought a constant battle to get my children to look beyond the Obama propaganda spewed by their friends. I found myself at complete odds with the Feminist icons I once respected.  It would have been so much easier to just let it all go and jump on the Kool-Aid wagon and become an Obot. I just couldn’t do it.

I had to be true to myself and to my principles. I couldn’t condone corruption. I couldn’t endorse virulent misogyny. I couldn’t pretend I didn’t see the empty suit with the engaging smile. I could not compromise myself for a party that so easily cast me away. So I contemplated John McCain and Sarah Palin. I didn’t agree with all of their policies, but they were respectable, accomplished, strong people who walked the walk of their convictions. They had resumes I could check, achievements that could be publicly verified and a reputation for taking on their own party. Not my first choice, but I certainly could sleep at night with them at the helm.

So I voted my conscience. I took that leap of faith off the platform and hit the water hard. When I came up for air, Obama was President-elect, and the Republicans were nowhere to be seen. It was that same sense of betrayal I had felt over 30 years ago as I stood in the pool, looking at those kids laughing at me and my silly naivete. I lost friends and fought with family. I stood my ground and defended McCain and Palin, working for the first time in my adult life to elect a Republican to the White House and McCain’s own party stayed home.

In four years we will have another election. If Obama is once again the Democratic nominee, I will not vote for him. But unless the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin in the top spot, I will be hard-pressed to ever again vote for that party. They had the chance to reach out and form an alliance for the betterment of the country, and instead they stood on the shore and laughed.

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Responses

  1. Yes, yes, yes. I am now dealing with people, who regard themselves as having good hearts, who say winning is everything. I say, If we would complain if Bush and the Republicans did it, it’s no more right when Obama and the Democrats do it. They laugh giddily — We won! We won! They admire the Chicago way. The people living in fear want a strongman.

    Maybe it’s because I don’t root for team sports.

    I, who always prided myself on being a skeptic, sometimes a cynic, am now called an idealist who doesn’t understand the way the world works.

    Maybe I would feel more team spirit if I hadn’t been thrown out of the stadium.

    And yes, I do think this is nearly all about class and contempt for working people. Losers.

  2. And yes, I do think this is nearly all about class and contempt for working people. Losers.

    Considering some of the shocking conversations I’ve had with friends, ICAM.

  3. Wow.

    Your post touches me. I am still reeling from the betrayal of my former party and my race to begin touching the betrayal of the Republicans. But I did not campaign or vote for the Republican ticket, so perhaps that is why it doesn’t touch me as deeply.

    Adults are little more than very big children with years’ more experience. The Republican party is no better than those kids from 30 years ago. So sad.

  4. Adults are little more than very big children with years’ more experience.

    I think I want that on a t-shirt.

    BTW, I love your avatar wlotus.

  5. Thank you. In light of the number of friends and acquaintances who have left me to stand all alone in my opposition to that one, the avatar fits quite well.

  6. So eloquently stated. I must add, as a life-long Republican, that I’m appalled at the way Sarah Palin has been thrown under the bus by the McCain campaign. Seems betrayal comes in two colors–blue and red.

    I have to agree about the contempt for working people. That is spot on.

  7. “fought a constant battle”? i was a hillary supporter all along! what are you talking about? you didn’t have to fight me to look beyond the obama propaganda. yes, i admit, i was 1 of 1 hillary supporter in my class, but i never ONCE said i would support obama.

    remember when i told you that my L.A. class had elections and everybody seemed shocked when Hillary won by one vote in my class?

    🙂

  8. but i never ONCE said i would support obama.

    Yes you did and you did it in the newspaper! But aside from that, how many times did you come home and tell me what so-and-so said about either Hillary or McCain and I had to set the record straight? Hm? And it wasn’t just you, it was your sister as well.

    And I know you were a Hillary supporter and it was difficult to stand by your convictions in the face of all that opposition. But it wasn’t easy, was it?

    BTW, your avatar has glasses! 🙂

  9. If you can show me the specific article where i said i would support obama then i will concede defeat, but until then, i have no memory of doing that.

    and you can’t blame us for asking questions about the candidates if we were curious! I just wanted to know what was right.

    like i said right before the election, i wanted to be able to make a confident decision where if people questioned me then I would be able to back it up with knowlege.

  10. If you can show me the specific article where i said i would support obama then i will concede defeat, but until then, i have no memory of doing that.

    I’ll email it to you, miss Young Voices.

    I wasn’t blaming you for asking questions, it was the times when you or your sister would come home believing rather than questioning, THAT’S what I was talking about. And it happened more often than you think, ESPECIALLY with your sister.

    Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂


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