Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Met Red America Last Night

Update: "Red America" in the headline refers to Republican, not red as in the term "redneck".

When my Republican husband proposed that the family go to Lowe's Motor Speedway to watch some racin' and fireworks last night I checked my list of things to do before I die and sure enough it wasn't on there. After a little bit of eye-rolling from the girls, who also had not added the event to their lists, I did my best to portray the "good wife" and build enthusiasm for this event.

We all dressed and ate an early dinner. The dog was walked and my younger daughter was doing her best to show some enthusiasm for our new adventure. The 12-yr-old daughter was bemoaning the fact that she might actually be seen and this was obviously not a desirable thing. I was making sure I grabbed my Kissell stickers. I was going to be in the heart of Hayes country, so wanted to display my loyalties.

Understanding that this is a casual event in a very casual setting the girls both wore shorts and tee shirts. I, on the other hand, do not do shorts. Sporting black polished cotton capris, a sleeveless white top, black flats and sterling jewelry I headed to the track certain that I would look out of place and not caring one bit.

Apparently, the tube-top mammas didn't get their invitations to this event. I've only been to one NASCAR race and it was enough to last the rest of my life. The cars on the track had no appeal, but the people-watching was some of the best I'd ever done. There's more flesh on display at a race track than in a strip club. Last night, many of the women were dressed in capris and matching tops, so I wasn't as out of place as I had imagined.

Still, I couldn't figure why I was drawing the looks. I'm not overly attractive, nor do I cut a sleek svelte figure as I cut through a crowd. While it was only a few stares and a couple of finger points, I still couldn't figure out why I was attracting any attention at all.

Then, I figured it out. I looked down to put my sunglasses in my cute silk bag strapped across my shoulder and there on my chest drawing a sharp contrast against my stark white cotton top was a bright yellow Larry Kissell sticker. I had forgotten I was wearing it. I sat up straight, plastered a smile on my face that clearly said, "I'm enjoying this race, really I am." I was determined to fit in, if for no other reason than to do Larry proud in Hayes' home turf.

My polite applause for the Bandolero and Legend racers turned to rowdier clapping and I actually watched the cars and not the people watching the cars. I'm sure by the end of the evening I was blending right in.

The lights went out at the speedway after the stock car or crashing cars spent their time going around the track. It was hard to tell who was winning as there was no front and no back, just a big oval of beat up cars with names like Miss De Meanor, No Insurance, Area 51 and White Boy bumping and grinding their way through their left turns. I'm sure with some racin' experience under my belt I could tell where the front of the line is. I'm not sure how much racin' experience it would take for me to actually care where the front of the line is, though.

The fireworks were very nice. The ear plugs we wore during the racing were a bonus. The canned music was appropriately patriotic and the children around us were filling the air with Ooooos and Aahhhhhs. Over the sound of music and fireworks, the commentator reminded us of the, "American boys and girls fighting over in Iraq", and polite applause followed.

When he tried to arouse the crowd over the fact that we were all, "patriotic red-blooded Americans",(full southern country accent) there was barely movement in the crowd around me. Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe it was the fact that I knew this was the cry of the wingnuts on the right that turns my stomach. No clapping, no polite applause, no fitting in. I didn't want to.

That last shout out reminded me how this Republican majority and this President make me feel about being an American. I'm embarrassed at times. The face of dishonesty, aggression and ignorance that this president and this congress have shown the rest of the world makes me feel ashamed and I know that all of the good we as Americans do for others can't erase the harm that has been unleashed on the world by George W. Bush.

I hear that much of the NASCAR, small town crowd is conservative, so I assumed it was true of this crowd. In reality I don't know how many of the people in the crowd were Republicans and how many were Democrats. All I know is that one comment over the loud speaker put a damper on any patriotic spirit that the fireworks display had summoned and I didn't want to have anything in common with anyone who might cheer that on.

Today, a day when I normally celebrate my pride in America, I feel shame. There is no glory in anything George Bush has done in the name of God or in the name of my country. His reign of hate has turned my American pride into American shame. I want my country back.

We've talked about subpoena power and taking back the House, but I've decided that this is not enough. I'm not going to think small anymore. I want to take back America. Do you want to help?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear that much of the NASCAR, small town crowd is conservative, so I assumed it was true of this crowd. In reality I don't know how many of the people in the crowd were Republicans and how many were Democrats. All I know is that one comment over the loud speaker put a damper on any patriotic spirit that the fireworks display had summoned and I didn't want to have anything in common with anyone who might cheer that on.

This is why the smart money is on y'all losing the 8th District. Most Democrats in this area treat their neighbors like they treated the "townies" in the over-priced tiny little colleges that seem to produce much of the chattering class these days.

I'm really impressed that you swallowed your pride and joined the groundlings for a night of revelry. No doubt it will make for interesting ice breaker material at your next coffee klatch.

When many of us went to college had to endure the rantings and moonbattery of a great number of sanctimonious, liberal professors who couldn't make a dime anywhere else. Needless to say, most of American doesn't like being looked down on by self-satisfied elitists who have learned "all they need to know" about the "others" around them through reading Harpers rather than relating to them as neighbors.

2:15 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Sam said...

Great story! It's kind of sad that I've been in Charlotte (or the surrounding area) since birth and haven't attended a NASCAR race. I'll definitely put that on my "To Do" list. Also, when the "right" criticizes liberals as elitists, aren't they assuming an elitist role themselves (part of the greater backlash strategy, if you have read What's the Matter With Kansas?. As for me (and I'm sure the writer), I don't count myself better than anyone of my (many) friends of different political persuasions. In fact, we almost always enjoy our discussions, and I feel like both sides come out smarter. I think our Republican friends will realize that we are their family, friends, fellow church members, and neighbors--no matter how many times Ann Coulter (the paragon of motherliness) or Rush Limbaugh (the paragon of morality) portray us as "limousine liberals." If you would like, please link to my blog. I'm a political science major (math minor) at College of Charleston. Great blog!

10:33 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that your nascar race and you political race have something in common – you can’t win with yellow. Yellow the color of caution, slow, middle of road. It is the hardest color to win with that is why no-political savvy person every runs with yellow.

But you spent the evening with people you pre-judged, you tried hard all night to look and act better then them (and were surprised when you realized they dressed just like you) and then ended the night with contempt for our country and disappointment with our soldiers. John Kerry would be proud!

3:28 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger B. Muse said...

Justin - you didn't try very hard to see the humor, did you. The first part of the post was meant more for folks who know me - or at least who have a sense of humor. I'm no fashion maven.

You're wrong about Democrats. Most Democrats I know treat people with respect and are very caring toward their neighbors. I find just the opposite is true of my Republican neighbors who don't ever seem to have the time to pitch in and help out. It's every man for himself. They are always ready to judge others, but all holy hell breaks loose if anyone dares to raise an eyebrow at their behavior or lack of common courtesy.

This Republican congress and Republican administration have ruined the good name of America and if that depresses Republicans then good. They should be ashamed for voting these lying, adulturous, borrow-and-spend Republicans into office.

Robin Hayes lied. He lied more than once. He betrayed his constituents and if Republicans in the 8th want to keep sending a lying multi-millionaire to Washington, then they deserve to keep losing their jobs to overseas firms.

It's time for a change.

9:43 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger B. Muse said...

Sam - Thank you. I will take a look. I like to link to other local sites.

You're right. The Republicans are elitists and have pre-judged all Democrats long before ever meeting them.

9:45 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger B. Muse said...

Anonymous - I didn't try hard to look and act better than anyone. I look the way I look and act the way I act. I'm respectful and kind. This was not the typical NASCAR crowd. That's more the point I was making.

I am not a NASCAR fan. I never will be and won't try to be. I don't go in and act like something or someone I'm not. I don't dress up or dress down to pretend to fit in. Don't you think being genuine is preferred to putting up a pretense?

9:49 PM, July 05, 2006  

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