Monday, October 20, 2008

Chicken or Shit?

Yesterday, young Betty and I hauled ourselves down to Leesburg to knock on doors for Obama. When we told the campaign workers that we'd come from Lovettsville, they sent us back there with a list of 35 doors to hit -- we knew the area, could best plan a route, etc. Which was true. Thirty-five doors around rural Lovettsville, where home-lot acreage often runs into the high two figures if not higher, is no small effort, and both Betty and I were plenty footsore by the end.

Given the ugly tone of what I've been seing on television and in the blogs, I'd expected something much more depressing than the experience actually was. No one set the dogs on us -- I think being greeted by a father-daughter team with a clipboard was disarming for a lot of folks, and I was always careful to say I was a near neighbor. Only one woman closed the door on us with anything like asperity, and nearly everyone was unfailingly polite, even when saying they were voting for McCain. No racial slurs, no "socialism," nothing that I'd half-dreaded confronting.

We're nice folks in Lovettsville.

What did surprise me was the number of people -- well over two-thirds, in my estimate -- who told me they were as yet undecided. I don't how many were saying it because they didn't want to tell me who they were really voting for, and how many truly hadn't made up their minds. In retrospect, I'm glad I hadn't read David Sedaris' Shouts and Murmurs column from the latest New Yorker:
“Who are [the undecided]?” the news anchors ask. “And how might they determine the outcome of this election?”

Then you’ll see this man or woman— someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. “Well, Charlie,” they say, “I’ve gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind!” Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

Probably best not to go canvasing with that image in your mind.


Casey said...

You're right, but that Sedaris quote is priceless.

I try to have my game face on when I'm making canvassing calls, because what else can you do? And even on the phone most people are fairly polite.

Keep up the good work, Neddie!

HomefrontRadio said...

I think the more worrying part is that they've already eaten the shit with broken glass. They know how horrible it tasted, and how sick it made everyone.

Now their mouths are bleeding and they're stepping over a pool of their own vomit on the way back to the serving dish to happily eat some more.

It's like some sick, sado-masochistic version of 'Oliver Twist'.

Smashed said...

The Daily Show covered this...

Christopher said...

Family Guy referred to undecided voters as "the stupidest people on the planet."

HomefrontRadio said...

No, they would be the people watching Family Guy to begin with.

claret said...

It's a good thing you live in the "real" Virginia, Neddie. Not the plastic, faux Virginia the rest of us live in.

Neddie said...

It's really weird, Claret: When I pass Clarks Gap eastbound on Route 7, everything suddenly turns into an animated cartoon, like the Phantom Tollbooth or something...