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Under the Radar

I went to the McCain Palin HQ today to get tickets for the Palin rally this Sunday. I had several reasons for going. I kind of want to photograph the people who are there to see her, sort of like a cultural anthropologist. Then again I was thinking, getting tickets (4 of them) would mean that the yahoos who love her cannot get in. Is that wrong? And I admit there is actually a part of me that wants to see her in person to see if she really has that kind of charisma that you cannot see on TV. I kind of doubt it, but….

Going into the Republican HQ I was reminded of that lump-in-my-stomach feeling I had as a child when I sneaked into the Biltmore Forest Country Club with Binford Jennings. At the time, I was in elementary school at Asheville Country Day. All my friends’ families were members of this exclusive country club, and one of the groups excluded were Jews. My friend Binford asked me to go with her one day and with a lot of trepidation I went, wondering what it could possible look like in there. It was a huge mystery, a forbidden fruit. Going in I was absolutely sure someone, I am not sure who, was going to expose me. Jew! I would be found out and thrown unceremoniously from the grounds of the elite institution. Ultimately nothing like that happened. (My mother, however, had been challenged on bringing my brother to birthday party given by a classmate years earlier, and refused to return until the policy changed.) It would be years until the Club would open its doors to Jews, Catholics and non-White people.

Walking into the McCain/Palin office I had that same disquieting feeling. Was Anti-American Liberal written on my face, like that Jew mark I thought the club members could see? Apparently not. I walked in and was immediately and politely shown to the short line for Palin tickets. No ID check. They did ask for me to sign a sheet with my name and phone. I gave them my name, but I said no to the robocalls. No problem. They handed me the tickets and I was off.

It was only walking out to the car that I remembered my Obama bumper sticker. I sidled out, making sure my trajectory was not obvious to the people parked along side, who nonetheless caught on to me but only gave me “the glare,” nothing more. So this weekend, I will be heading over to see Herself. Wondering which of her $150,000 worth of outfits she will wear for the hillbillies here. And I say that with love. I, too, am a hillbilly – a Jewish hillbilly. Now I wonder how many Biltmore Forest Country Club members will be there and if they will once again try to out me. I’m still afraid of them.

A few years ago when I was wondering what to do for employment a friend suggested that I consider being a detective. Both of her parents had been federal agents, one in the CIA, the other in the FBI. She said that knowing how my mind works, she thought I would be very good at it. So this Sunday, I’m going to put it to the test, going under-cover into the belly of the GOP. Sometimes our agents don’t come back alive. Pray for me. Pray for us all.


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