It was Saturday morning on a sunny September day in Florida. Both major political party conventions were over, and football was the focal point of the folks. At a local supermarket, a conversation began when a customer stated to the cashier and those in the checkout line, “The Democrats want to divide Americans. Obama screams that the Republicans are the past, the 20th century — black and white TV, yet he resurrects Ted Kennedy and revives Bill Clinton. Who is living in the past?”
The tourists in line seemed stunned, but several year-round residents chimed right in.
A gray-haired lady in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt calmly noted: “Obama-ites are seeking to pit Americans against Americans. All the Democrat women talk about is abortion, contraception, and gay marriage. By their standards, women are just sex objects.
"The Democrats look to increase food stamp give-a-ways and provide free money to lazy bums in their 20s on phony disability. Help for those in poverty, my eye! Just look at the beach bars, the bums getting drunk on taxpayer money, while their girlfriends work. They all know Obama will buy their votes with some new entitlement.”
A former town commissioner and retired engineer said, “She is right on. The Obama people are just Chicago professional trough-feeders. Never met a payroll, never had to lay off someone, never dealt with some political hack enforcing some nonsensical regulation from the EPA or OSHA, and that’s the truth.”
“I loved Clint Eastwood’s satire piece at the Republican convention,” said a young man wearing a “Gator” T-shirt.
“It was cool. It broke the seriousness for a few minutes. My generation knows unemployment, but we know underemployment better. I am doing yard work with a Master’s degree in finance, working alongside six hard-working illegals. We all are glad to have jobs, but I have student loans, and the cost of food is going up. Paul Ryan has it right. I am living in my family home and wondering why I voted for Obama.”
A lawyer in line answered, “There’s an old legal adage, if you have the law, argue the law; if you have the facts, argue the facts; if you have neither, argue your opponent. That is what the Obama people are doing, slinging mud, using Chicago-style gutter politics. When a Hollywood type says obscene things about Romney’s wife and Ryan’s wife, the press thinks it’s cute. Then at the Democrat convention, they had a nun give cover to anti-God, anti-Israel secularists and Muslims because of her social justice views. Her remarks offended me as a Catholic.”
Those in the checkout line nodded and smiled; a number clapped; and one man yelled, “You tell’em, Tommy.”
A young woman in an adjacent checkout line raised her hand, as if in school, “Are Romney and Ryan as mean and awful as the ads say? I saw them on TV, and they seem genuine and rather nice — good-looking. The Democrats say Republicans are against women.”
The cashier and interlocutor answered her, “No way are they mean or felons, as Obama’s thugs portray them. Tom said it, “They’re slinging mud — plain lies.”
Without a pause, he continued, “I had a small manufacturing plant, a union plant in Ohio. After 24 years, the union bosses called me out as a capitalist money grabber and demanded that a union representative check my books and sit in on all hiring, that I buy insurance from a certain company, and that the union OK any contracts. I said no way. I closed my plant and laid off 105 employees — men and women, old and young, white, black, and native American. My Democrat local leader told me, “Go along or get out. That is the Obama way.”
A tall dude dressed in a flowered shirt and khaki shorts glanced at the customers in the checkout lines, at those waiting to buy lottery tickets, and at the store employees. Then he spoke, “I am from New York City. I am a Democrat and proud of it. I am for Obama, but I do worry about his imperialism. He is going too far against people of faith. The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship.”
Slowly, he walked to the customer service area in front of the checkout lines. “I am not changed politically by what you said, but I am changed by my understanding of average Americans. I don’t hear this talk in any grocery store in New York or New England, but I would be very careful about speaking so freely in the future,” he paused, “if Obama wins. Good luck.”
The lawyer answered, “You may be right, but we are Americans. Obama can’t change that.”
James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.
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