I went to see Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius speak today. She is bright, articulate and charming and was here to speak about Obama and his candidacy. There was a great turnout and I was glad to have gone. She laid out the Obama plans and the differences with McCain succinctly. But when we tuned in to see it on the local news tonight, they gave it about 20 seconds and did not show one second of her actual speech. They framed the whole thing as a woman talking to women about Hillary Clinton. I don’t remember her even mentioning the name during her speech.
There was one woman there with a sign that said, “Sweetie is code for sexist.” She held it up through the speech and when it was over I went to ask her what it was about. Apparently, at several points during the campaign she says Obama used the word (Not sure of the context) and he is therefore a sexist. She was, so she said, a former Hillary supporter. I asked how in the world she could now be supporting McCain who is the antithesis of HRC. She launched into a spiel about his experience (and Palin’s, too) prompting me to as whether she had backed Hillary for her policy positions. She said she did, but then said that McCain was a supporter of immigration rights. When I pointed out that he was once a supporter, but now he is not, it turned to “Obama changed his mind, too.” I really wanted to understand what was going on in her head. But Mom stood there rolling her eyes and the local Obama organizer stepped in and said that I was not helping Obama by talking to her. She jumped on this and said that we (Obama people, I guess) are against political discourse. [I must admit here that I was not happy that this person was stepping in to tell me what and with whom I could talk.] The only way that we can possibly make any headway in the political world is to understand how the other side sees the world.
I don’t believe that I could have persuaded this woman to vote Obama. Perhaps she sees herself as a feminist and is backing Palin. Perhaps she is that disappointed Hillary backer they keep talking about on the news that swung over because Obama was not deferential to Hill. Or maybe there is another real reason she thinks that McCain is the best person to lead the nation. I will probably never know. And that is sad.