I’ve been secretly and not so secretly dreading today for a while: first race ever in the morning, when my lackluster training attempts haven’t led to me running farther than 30 minutes and 2.7 miles as a personal best; and moderating a book panel with some highfalutin’ authors in the afternoon, when public speaking and being in charge are two of my least favorite things.
Well, the race was fantastic. So exhilarating! I kept running the whole time and in fact beat Chris and Shelby, who were parking the car and didn’t expect me to be done yet, to the finish line. A personal best, distance and length of time. And the book panel went fine, despite 90 degree heat, glaring sunlight, and a crazy lady with a shopping cart strolling up and interrupting the proceedings with a broken-English yelling match.
After the panel was over, we went out for lunch to celebrate. I parted ways with my companions at the subway and, strolling home in a pleasant margarita haze, decided to call my grandmother, who’d donated to my race-fundraising efforts, to let her know I'd finished it successfully.
We chatted cheerily. I was almost home when the bombshell dropped.
“Now, you remember that my cousin has a daughter who works for Senator John McCain?”
“…Oh. Uh, how nice!”
“And she says to me, she says, “Norma, John McCain is a good man.”
“That’s very nice, Nanny.”
“I mean, I’ve never met John McCain. But when Barbie—I mean, Barbie’s daughter Amber, who works for him—says he’s a good man, doesn’t that give you great confidence?”
“…I’m really glad, Nanny.”
“Now—I just hope…I mean, who—well, I hope that helps you with what you’re thinking. Have you been following it much?”
“Nope, not really. I mean, I just … I don’t like to get into politics too much, I like to keep family things … I just don’t like to get into it.”
“Well, just as long as you’re not going to vote for someone who’s going to raise taxes!”
That’s when the tequila—or, I prefer to think, a hitherto-untapped source of bravery based in deeply felt convictions—kicked in.
“You know, Nanny, under Obama’s tax plan the middle class will benefit MORE from tax cuts than under John McCain. Under McCain the middle class will have to pay more taxes than they would under Obama.”
“That is not true! Obama wants to raise taxes for the middle class!”
“No, that’s just Fox News rhetoric. If you look at the facts, if you actually look at Obama’s tax plan side by side with McCain’s, the middle class will benefit more from Obama’s, and that has been reported by the Wall Street Journal, which is a conservative newspaper—“
“Obama is going to raise taxes for the corporations and for the rich people. And when we have to buy groceries, buy clothes, from these corporations, we are going to be suffering and paying more.”
[Blink.] “…Nanny, I just don’t like to talk about politics with family; I love you guys so much and I just want to keep it—I just love you guys so I don’t like to talk about it.”
“Okay, well…I’m just going to pray that you find the conviction to vote for the right candidate.” [The Right candidate?]
“Okay Nanny, I love you. Bye bye.”
So now my sweet grandmother, who was clearly so alarmed about my (never stated by me in family settings because I detest conflict) political standing that she brought the topic up at all, as indicated by her nervous laughs throughout the conversation, is going to be even more disappointed in me than she already is (because I live in sin); and I have to sit here and actively think about something I generally try to ignore which is that my entire family is so brainwashed that they are willing to ignore plain facts and vote for John McCain because he’s “a good man,” as my grandma’s cousin’s daughter (whose paychecks are signed by him) says, the man who will—if we let him—drive this country even deeper into the ground. There goes my high for the day. I’m throwing my cell phone out the window and watching it smash.
If they lived in Kansas, I’d probably be more able to let things slide. Naturally, they are--ALL--swing state residents.
I truly hate giving my grandparents distress. THIS coming after YESTERDAY’s lunch at which Chris had to intone “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it.” in the face of HIS grandfather’s repeated attempts to compare Sarah Palin to Teddy Roosevelt. Grandparents, listen up. We are TRYING to respect our elders. Please don’t make it hard for us. Allow us to respect your life experiences and don't get in our face with viewpoints that will force us to lose that respect.