Friday, October 31, 2008

Facebook, long lines, and various other ramblings

Yesterday I stood in line for over two hours to vote early. I took a book, of course, so it wasn't too bad. A woman behind me held a four month old baby in her arms the whole entire time. I wished so badly that I'd had a sling or something in the car to loan her, but I just had my non-adjustable Hotsling, which would not have fit her. I also felt like I should offer to hold the baby for a bit, but that's always a little weird, isn't it? She and I and two other women in line chatted off and on the whole time, and I think we all wanted to help, but what if she didn't want strangers (as nice and normal as we all may have seemed) holding her baby? Then we'd all have to stand there together feeling awkward for the next hour. Oh well. I did eventually make it to the machines to cast my vote. Woo hoo! I really prefer to vote on election day, but BD is going to be interviewing people at polling places that day, so I figured I'd better go ahead and get it done. Now watch, on Tuesday the big story will be that everyone is in and out in twenty minutes.

Not to delve into a big political discussion, because this is not that blog, but I recently experienced a big boom of people I went to high school with linking up on Facebook. In looking at their profiles, I couldn't help but notice that the vast majority of these people list themselves as "conservative Christian" and Republican. Neither of which, suffice it to say, comes anywhere close to the way I describe myself. I went all the way through elementary and high school with most of these people, so I guess that's why for some reason it surprises me to learn that they are all so different from me. Which is silly, really, because I in fact thought that everyone was Baptist until sixth grade, when I befriended a Jehova's Witness. And then all of us in our little cool girl clique proceeded to tell her that all her beliefs were wrong, that not believing in hell was crazy, and that her religion condoned way more racial mixing than we were led to believe was acceptable. I still want to find that girl and apologize to her. Thinking about her makes me cringe, not only because of our well-meaning bigotry and intolerance, (which were more often than not backed up by our teachers), but because it makes me think "Holy crap, the Jehovah's Witness was the crazy liberal in my world then?" I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt, after all, the city with more churches than gas staions, yada yada yada. I guess I'm just surprised because I grew up that way too, but I'm not that way now, and the path from there to here just seems so natural to me. To realize that the majority of my peers, kids I went to school with for up to ten years, exchanged classroom valentines with, went through puberty with, snuck out and ran around with, turned out so completely other than what I am...it just feels weird, and kind of depressing. It makes me realize how much I float along in my little liberal midtown(ish) bubble, forgetting I'm a blue dot in a sea of red.

11 comments:

Secret Agent Mom said...

When I see former classmates from MN who ended up conservative it astonishes me, especially if they stayed in town. You're a Minnesotan! Act like it!

Stacey Greenberg said...

i ran into a republican in midtown today and it totally caught me off guard!

Sassy Molassy said...

They had a black guy in a Kemp Conrad shirt standing outside to confuse people.

Shannon said...

there is no ish. midtown claims you.

Stephanie said...

That has definitely been one of the weirder things about Facebook- finding out how everyone landed politically.

Mrs. Katherine said...

I live in a very blue city, and you should hear the way all the blue dots here talk about the voters in your neck of the woods. I find the stereotyping more than just offensive; I find it confusing. Where does the "open-mindedness" come in? I prefer not label myself. I vote by person, not by party.

Mrs. Katherine said...

I should clarify that not ALL of the blue dots say such things, but I have had heard a couple of the more outspoken ones say less-than-flattering remarks...and Vanity Fair.

Rita.the.bookworm said...

Like I told you before, my impression of the people in your area is that you're all really artsy and hip, that southern hip which is a kind of hip you just can't get anywhere else. But, that's because my exposure has been in academic or artsy arenas. But, hey, even if your kind is the minority where you are, you're representing yourselves well in the bigger world.

If it's not politics, it's something else. The reason aren't like the people you went to high school with is because of the bell-shaped curve. MOST of the people in high school make up that big bell part--they're dumb and they suck (or they're even worse, they're the little tail end on the right or the left of the bell, whichever way you choose to read it--who are exquisitely dumb and suck to the max) and then there are people like you (and moi, I declare!) who make up the little tail end on the other side, and we are not dumb and we do not suck. And, there ya have it.

dandelionink said...

Same thing here. I was amazed at how many old friends from Dyersburg showed up on Facebook, and not SO suprised as you that they are all conservative. It's weird too when things have changed so much for me to decide whether to tell these people about my major life change. After all,even though I am not embarrased, it is also none of anyone's business.

on midtown.. we liberals have to remember to be tolerant of republicans and conservatives here since afterall, tolerance is what we preach. I have seen things get nasty when a bunch of midtowners start talking politics with a conservative neighbor. not nice.

Sassy Molassy said...

Rita, I'm glad we've made such a good impression!

Katherine, as liberal as I am, that would bother me too I'm sure. I imagine that if I lived in San Francisco or somewhere, I'd turn into a Republican (Ha!) because that just seems to be how I work. It is hard to remember to be tolerant of the majority when you are totally in the minority, though, you know? As far as voting for the person rather than the party, I think that's a lovely but idealistic way to look at things. Politics, unfortunately, is about the machine. I vote for the cogs in the wheel that I want to run the machine. As the saying goes, I'd vote for an old yella dog if he were running opposite a Republican.

Dandelion, I know what you mean about deciding whether to tell people. I do think that's totally a personal decision.

CarrieJ said...

I think most of the people I knew in high school would fall into that listing - conservative Christian and Republican. I have been lucky enough to find a handful that do not have a stick up their ......