“Who are you voting for?”
Tell this one you voted for McCain.
It’s been an unavoidable question everywhere for the last month or so. Does anyone else get a moment of panic when asked this?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ashamed of my choice. I just don’t like random street interrogations about it. Everyone has already decided. I know I can’t change anyone’s mind. And honestly: I do think we’ll be better off either way (I don’t see how we couldn’t). “The Question” is different, though.
The questioner clearly has a strong opinion. It’s always asked in a confrontational, aggressive way. People who ask aren’t looking for a debate or discussion of the issues. Only one answer will satisfy: confirmation of what they already think. When The Question is posed, I have to pause. I make a brief calculation of the likely political position of the interviewer. I do a mental cost/benefit analysis of engaging with them. I figure out how tall they are and how far away I have to be to keep them from reaching me. I don’t want to be a coward, but what will follow the answer?
Losing a misguided friend? I can’t hate people (entirely) for personal choices, voting their conscience or just not being very smart. I don’t cut people from my life because they are super-religious or, alternately, have a rabid, pathological hatred of religion. I don’t have all the answers. They will either change their mind or not, but it won’t be today, and I can’t force them. It doesn’t always mean they are bad people.
Fist fight? I don’t want a letter carved in my face. Call me crazy, but it’s not worth it. In any position, there are extremists and nut jobs. It can get heated even with people I agree with if I don’t love the candidate enough. It’s disheartening to see people “on my side” use the same tactics of regurgitated sound bytes, intimidation, hyperbole and lies that they claim to hate so much in “the other side.” You’re kind of killing my buzz, angry mob.
A long, rambling attempt to convert me? Save it. I’m not some knee-jerk, black-or-white idealist. I think I’m making my choice rationally for pragmatic reasons, and I hope I’m right. I’m not kidding myself that it’s perfect by any stretch. I already did research using multiple sources, and badgering me (and usually doing a poor job of it) isn’t going to change my mind this late in the game. Short of some last-minute plot twist, minds have been made up.
Maybe I am a coward. I have to admit to dodging the question on a few occasions. Besides my usual policy of never talking to anyone who is bloody, smells of urine or is carrying a sign, I have weaseled out of answering numerous sketchy strangers. I have even lied. I’m part of the problem!
“Ay! Who are you voting for?” yells the drunken leader of a gang of college kids. Are they frat-type jock assholes or brainwashed by liberal professors?
“I can’t vote; I’m a felon.” That usually shuts them up.
“Who you voting for?” slurs the wild-eyed man in fatigues. Is he an extremist militia Libertarian or a bitter hippy veteran?
“What’s that behind you?” And then I run.
Most of the time I just sigh, answer, and try to cut it as short as I can. I’ll be glad when it’s all over and we only have to deal with “don’t blame me” bumper stickers.
What’s that? Who am I voting for? Ah. Well, you see … I-voted-for-Obama-now-I-really-have-to-go-use-the-can-check-you-later!