From the Oval Office through the vast red majority of our hinterlands, the driving force of American Christianity has purposefully removed the blessedness of the peacemakers, the inheritance of the meek, the compassion for the outcast, the first stone throwers, the cheek turning, the money changing, the eye of the needle and universal forgiveness in lieu of reactionary Right-wing control of our government
At the library where we vote early, serendipity had caused Bubba and I to enter the same last parking place together. I inched against him for a spell but finally gave over to the pragmatism of vehicle size. I parked down the street and walked through the sea of political signs; correction, the sea of Bush and Delay signs, to meet Bubba at the end of a very long line. The year before when I came by to vote early, I had been the only person around. I hear the same is going on in all early voting states. I would suppose it is because people are afraid for their lives come Tuesday making for more early Democratic voters.
The wait was going to be some hours so with time to kill I decided to play my constant game of building Bubba up before giving him a whack. I pointed out the only two Kerry signs over by the dumpsters, Bubba followed my finger and found them also. Bubba was enjoying himself. I brought up the recent story about the two eighteen year olds who had been caught stealing hundreds of Kerry signs, clearing out entire sub divisions. Just a couple bad apples Bubba told me. I agreed with him in that I have had three Kerry signs in my yard for two weeks and they were still there. He enjoyed his little victory until I closed by saying they were in my backyard. This generated a few guffaws twenty people down which caused me to understand I had a captive audience.
Okra drove by and seeing us gave a honk. She soon joined us with great and grand explanations to those around us why she got to take skips, though it soon became obvious that it was mostly because of her tee many martunni lunch. In seconds Okra and I were hard at it. Unlike the Bush supporters with their buttons pinned upon their flag fashions, I, like most Kerry supporters, dressed politically clothless, though I did wear a small NO DELAY button. Okra unaware of the audience asked me what was wrong with Tom DeLay. There it was, my opportunity to let it fly in public.
"What is wrong with Tom DeLay?" I loudly began, "He is as-bad-as-it-gets regarding religious intolerance and bigotry. He is as-bad-as-it-gets regarding the environment. He is as-bad-as-it-gets hammering in corporate money for his votes. He is as-bad-as-it-gets when it comes to political dirty tricks. He is as-bad-as-it-gets with being voted the most unethical man in Congress for 2004. And on a personal level, he is a stupid, mean, nasty a whole."
Okra went from white, to pink, to red and by the time she had turned purple, she had lost control and pushed me in the chest hard enough to topple me. Bubba caught me before I went down as Okra glowed in her Christian Grace. Most of the audience was unaffected but seemed to take some enjoyment in the scuffle and giving Okra wide berth. After all, Most Texans are more like Bubba than Okra. They are not much concerned with religious issues, or any issues at all other than their tax money, their guns and keeping coloreds out of their immediate surroundings.
After recovering from my close call, and Okra calling me a baby murdering heretic, I brought up the previous evenings’ local news report about the young man who had beat the crap out of his wife for saying she was going to vote for Kerry. The cameras before the judge saw the young man blame alcohol and his deep religious beliefs for his uncontrollable violence. Okra asked what that had to do with anything. I gave her a hard look, figuring the proper retort would just pass her by. So letting it go, I asked if she and Bubba would save my place for a few minutes which they agreed to do.
I jumped back in my car and spurted home to pick up my Kerry signs in the backyard which were doing no good. I returned quickly, parked, and approached my friends from the back of the line carrying the three ungainly signs. I said nothing and just whistled the – give a little a whistle- song. Which soon drove Okra over the edge.
What are you going to do with those? She growled.
With what? I replied.
THOSE SIGNS! she yelled.
What signs? I played.
THOSE GODDAMN KERRY SIGNS IN YOUR HAND! She screamed.
Third commandment! I cried.
This was one of those cases where its hard to tell if its the alcohol or the religion causing the craziness.
ARE YOU JUST GOING TO CARRY THEM AROUND ALL DAY? She spat.
Well, yeah, then they won’t get stolen. I added.
Okra was in a huff. Bubba chimed in telling me I couldn’t carry them into the building proper. He was probably right so I asked Okra if she would hold them for me while I went in to vote. Okra was in more than a huff now.
Taking Bubba’s point to mind I noticed that the narrow lane of grass between the parking lot and the sidewalk we lined up on was mostly devoid of signs, so I stepped out and put them in the ground spaced about ten feet apart. Okra immediately went out into the sea of Bush signs and carried back three to place inches in front of mine so they could not be seen from our point of view. CLOSED! I yelled. I picked my three up again and placed them in an open area, loudly shouting, OPEN! She repeated the process and then went and got three more to put on the other side so they could not be seen at all. CLOSED! CLOSED! I shouted. I slipped mine out from the Bush sandwich one last time and with final conviction said OPEN! OPEN! OPEN! Okra sandwiched them in again and I let it rest; hoping that by some miracle at least one person in the line understood the issue that so permeates this election cycle.