Tuesday, September 05, 2006

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Location: Texas, United States

Curmudgeon, opinionated, truth-seeker, idealist. Terrible combination, trust me.

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Did y'all have a nice holiday weekend? We went camping at a nearby state park with our daughter and her family. It was terrific, except for the heat on Friday night, which made sleeping almost impossible. But then we began fishing in the lake at our campsite, beneath the tall trees, and over the weekend caught catfish and perch (which as you know taste marvelous for dinner beneath an open sky). And on Saturday evening my cousin and her husband, traveling from Louisiana to NM, stopped and camped in the brand new Airstream they were hauling. It was an absolutely Perfect camping weekend. I don't think it could have been better in any way. My cousin, Joyce, and her husband, Stanley, followed us home on Sunday. We took them to the best restaurant in town ten miles distant--an authentic Mexican place that has the best food in probably ten surrounding counties. Unfortunately, on the way there, we were all talking about New Orleans, the half dead city, and Mayor Nagin. And Stanley, began spouting off about how he won again despite the old "Democratic machine" that is notorious for rounding up blocks of blacks and paying them to vote Dem to steal an election. And being me, unable to keep my mouth shut when hearing insane babble, said, "Oh, sort of like how the Republicans stole the last two presidential elections?" And then Joyce chimed in to say, "They recounted those votes and Bush won." And I said, "No, the Supreme court crowned him President without doing a vote count." And she said, "They counted afterward and he WON. And good thing he did or this country would have been DESTROYED." And my heart began to beat like a tamborine in the hands of a nervous monkey. But before I could blow a gasket and expound on how the votiing machines in FL are produced by a company who gave large donations to the Bush campaign, Lyle said, "Well, if he hadn't won, we wouldn't be in a war that's lasted five years now that we shouldn't be in." And she said, "It's a GOOD thing we took Iraq and it's a great thing, blah blah blah." And before I could even interject any kind of protest at all she went on to say, in a snotty voice, "We're Republican and proud of it because we're working people. Democratic candidates are for poor people who want everything for free and given to them and we're not poor, we're working people." I simply turned to my husband and said, "You see how it is? I told you we're going to have to go to Mexico."

And the political firestorm died into sullen silence.

You must understand that my cousin Joyce makes more than $200,0000 a year as an executive for a well known national company. She is only one of three women in the entire company nationwide who has achieved such lofty heights. Yes, she worked her way up and it took her twenty-five years, and I'm amazed at her ambition and work ethic. But for her to claim she's just a "working person" protected by Republicans from the "riffraff" of the poor Democrats seems rather comic to me.

It certainly soured the remaining hours we spent together that evening and they left before we woke the next morning, though they did call back to thank us for our hospitality.

I do hope MOST of the country is no longer as dyed in the wool rabid about their R. party politics as my cousin and her husband these days. That is something that keeps weariness at bay. But there are enough like them to give me the willies and to make the hair crawl up the back of my neck and to make me wonder where I am and why.

How do people get such idiotic notions anyway? I had never heard anyone separate the two political parties quite that way--working people party and the poor people party. The South, when I grew up and lived there, was predominately for the Democratic tickets. Oh how it has changed. Though she lives in LA now, Joyce is from AL, like me. How did she get so rigid and self-righteous? How did the South change so totally? And I'm not talking about some backwoods, uneducated bum here, but a woman with enough power and money to live quite pleasantly, and who has the brains to catapult her from a menial clerk position to the top echelon of a major company. Some people and some ideas are so wrong-headed you just want to go "duh."

Otherwise, it was a beautiful, family filled, fish eating, starry weekend in a country that I desperately love and grieve for.