Prairie Angel tells a wonderful tale from Virginia:
And here’s anecdotal evidence from Leesburg, Virginia, which every October 31st has a big halloween parade downtown. Every firetruck, marching band, karate class and insurance company for miles around decorates a truck to parade down King Street past the courthouse (and not incidentally, right past the front of my store.)
This year we (Esoterica) fielded a truck, complete with bellydancers and cloaked witches. This all to explain why I was standing outside my store with a camera as the parade went by. This is the first election year since we purchased the store, so I wasn’t aware that the various candidates’ supporters fielded trucks and cars as well.
And here in Leesburg VA, Bastion of the Right, the Kerry trucks and cars were greeted with cheers and cries of “Help is on the way!” and the Bush trucks and cars were greeted with boos and cries of “Ker-REE Ker-REE” and “Two More Days”.
Wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it; that’s how Republican Virginia tends to be. But it sure cheered me up.
It’s become common in the last five or six years to talk about red states and blue states, as if this country was made up of a kind of crazy quilt of safe areas and danger zones, places where one opinion was acceptable and others were not. It might be safe to back a particular candidate in one state, but not in another, it might be all right to talk about politics here, but not there.
It’s bullshit. We are, as Barack Obama reminded us so eloquently at the convention, one country. There is no wall that separates us from our fellow men and women, no fence we have to jump to feel secure in our political identities.
I’ve caught myself recently feeling relieved to live in Illinois, where Kerry’s going to win in a walk and the Republican senate candidate is a national joke. That’s completely crazy. I am an American; I have a right to say what I want to say without fear of reprisal wherever the hell I damn well please. And Jane’s story reminded me that when you start confounding expectations of what it’s all right to say, the response you get may surprise you.
Tell your own stories in this thread. What have you seen that’s given you hope for the future of this country?