A Saturday morning visit to a local supermarket gave me a glimpse of political thinking on Main Street.
It began in the checkout line with the cashier’s comments on current White House missteps. The topic of the day appeared to be President Barack Obama’s ill-advised re-election ploy to require Catholic and other faith-based agencies to provide contraception, abortion-inducing medication, and sterilization for their employees.
A middle-aged woman in front of me in line responded with righteous indignation, “The president is playing to the feminist leftist base and disregarding constitutional infringement. It is not about women’s rights, it’s about the president voiding the Constitution and the freedom of religious practice.”
The cashier replied, “The press and the Democrats ignore that it is all about the right to practice one’s own religion rather than about women’s rights to body control. I am a Lutheran, but this Catholic attack affects us all. Lawyer, what do you say?” His question was for me.
“I am a Catholic,” I replied, “so I have a bias. Obama is a divider and single-minded secularist trained in Saul Alinsky philosophy. The president is guided by a manipulative obsession that he is the smartest person in the room.” I expected a violent reaction, but none came.
In line behind me, a 30-something woman opined, “I, guess I don’t agree with you on everything. I am an agnostic and a true-blue liberal, but I am concerned with the government’s intrusion into all aspects of our lives, like the Patriot Act and the invasion of our communications and conversations. It has to stop somewhere.
"I support abortion and contraceptives for all, but I am not sure that the president is doing the right thing. Religion is a touchy area whether you are a believer or not. His ‘accommodation’ is muddled thinking and backtracking. I am not sure he and his people have given this real thought,” she added.
The other shoppers in line seemed taken aback by her comments. Some nodded in agreement. Some looked thoughtful, and others looked puzzled. Then a white-haired lady from the back of the line spoke up, “Obama lies. That is the fact. I believed him and voted for him. Now I see he says one thing and does another. Just look at the unemployment, the real unemployment, what we see here every day. Not some cooked Labor Department figures.
"Just look around here — see all the young people doing minimal jobs — just to be working, burdened with student loans. They are not statistics, they are real people not living the promises we made them,” she added.
The bagger, a senior citizen, was listening and replied, “Religion or no religion, people have constitutional rights. Obama has made a frontal attack on constitutional rights, and people of faith don’t like it, and people of no faith don’t like it. Obama is just too near-sighted to see it. More and more people are seeing this, especially young people.
"Just look at the college kids working here — is this what they went to college for? Ask any of them. The kid over there has a stacking job, but as he says, ‘It’s a job.’ The girl working in the bakery, she’s a math major. For now, she’s baking cakes, but she says it pays the rent and provides health insurance. Who is kidding whom? The economy stinks, and Obama wants to sidestep it,” the bagger continued.
The middle-aged woman ahead of me stopped on her way out long enough to ask the senior bagger, “You’re a bagger?” The cashier answered for him, “He wasn’t always a bagger. He was an engineer and a manufacturing entrepreneur.”
The bagger smiled, “I enjoy it here. I enjoy people and their lives. It beats sitting before a TV all day. What saddens me is the waste of talent that results because of the president’s poor decisions, purposeful or not. He has lost the young, the Hispanics, and now those people of faith. He is neither a manager nor a leader.”
The 30-something woman spoke again, “He is losing me. If he loses the liberal women who believe in liberal tenets, it is too bad. I am for individual rights and responsibilities, as are the libertarians, but I want reasoned government programs.”
Shoppers in nearby checkout lines were listening. Gathering my groceries, I said, “President Obama and his cohorts have set a course that may be his downfall with his conscience attack on Catholics and other people of faith and his faux ‘accommodation’. His acts demonstrate contempt for freedom of worship, which was among Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous “four freedoms.”
Thus ended a checkout line hearing on the Vox Populi (voice of the people) to which the president apparently has developed a tin ear. He would benefit by listening to supermarket shoppers, rather than the screened audiences of his campaign stops.
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