Elections 2008: Antagonism and condescension

I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin this week.
As a result, many of my liberal friends have “lost their respect for me.” It’s not just my friends, though. Anywhere I go in New York or Boston, I proceed to get attacked for not voting for Obama. Note, it’s not because I chose McCain, it’s because I didn’t vote for Obama. There have been instances when I actually felt afraid to express my political opinion. Yes, I am a strong Cuban woman and I was afraid to express my opinion. If that doesn’t speak volumes, then maybe the following phrases thrown at me will:
“Are you stupid?”
“Well then you’re an asshole.”
“I can’t believe you.”
“I thought you were smart.”
“I’ve lost so much respect for you.”
“You’re a selfish banker, you just want lower taxes.”
“It’s because you’re Cuban, isn’t it?”
Welcome to my life as a quiet, moderate Independent transplanted from Miami to the northeast. I rarely speak out about American politics; it’s just not my thing. I don’t like to argue with my friends. I like to laugh and joke with them, but since we went to school in Boston that means I have to avoid politics.
After extensively following the primaries, I decided to vote for John McCain. I’m not going to go into the drivers behind this decision – that’s not the topic I wish to address here.
Most of my acquaintances didn’t know I decided to vote for McCain until recently. I only talked about it with fellow supporters in hushed tones, over the Internet, or in empty rooms, but after a certain point I couldn’t keep it in anymore. People noticed the pained expressions on my face when Obama’s “awesomeness” became the topic of discussion. Now, they attack me.
One of my closest friends, who knows how passionate and proud I am of my Cuban heritage, actually compared the Cuban flag to the Confederate flag. Why? She decided that I’m only voting for McCain as a result of the influence of the Cuban-American community. I don’t know how she went from Cuban to Confederate, but she might as well have stabbed me with a knife and ripped out my heart.
Don’t get me wrong here — I love the passion and zeal this election has provoked in our country. It’s about time the general public began to care about and engage in a national election.
I do, however, hate the overzealousness with which Obama’s supporters are approaching this election. I can’t help but think that this is how it felt to be skeptical or critical of Fidel Castro in Cuba circa 1959. I would never say anything like the above quotes to any of my friends. I respect that they idealistically believe that their candidate can do the job. I disagree with them, but I would never insult them for their beliefs.
Debate and free thought are some of the fundamental values of this country, or so I thought. Last time I checked, antagonism and condescension were not qualities embraced by our founding fathers. The fact that I frequently encounter these traits amongst Obama supporters scares the living daylights out of me. This country doesn’t feel like a free country anymore. Instead of conversing, they attack. Instead of debating, they judge. Instead of respecting, they scorn.

20 thoughts on “Elections 2008: Antagonism and condescension”

  1. Unfortunately, those friends do not know much history, nor do they have much respect for their friends with different opinions. I would try to overlook their ingnorance because if Obama is elected, they will be eating their own words and will regret making such hateful comments.
    Do not feel like you’re alone when comes to discussing politics. I too, can only discuss such issues with like minded people in private.

  2. I, too feel your pain. I’ve had to basically quietly “end” a couple of acquaintances this week because they just can’t take my voting for John McCain. I am willing to listen to their point of view; they just are totally unwilling to listen to mine. It’s quite immature actually. You’re not alone. But this election is too important. A true friend won’t treat you like that. Stay strong!

  3. Feeling your pain here on the West Coast, Monica.
    “Instead of conversing, they attack. Instead of debating, they judge. Instead of respecting, they scorn.”
    And, let me guess… they accuse YOU of attacking, judging and scorning.
    My mom would just call them “mal educados.”
    Keep the faith.
    Marta

  4. Marta, my abuelo would have simply called them Come Mierdas.
    It’s the double standard. If Obama wins, I’ll suck it up and move on. If McCain wins, these wankers will riot.
    Unreal!

  5. While this hasnt gone as far as affecting friendships to the point of breaking,it has cause me very heated discussions.
    I avoid politics until I hear something so outrageous I just can’t keep quite.
    Tell those people in “taxachusetts” they will soon have less money in their wallets.

  6. It’s common round here also. It seems that in Texas if your of latin decent your just expected to vote democrat. I am openly supportive of McCain and Palin I could care less what people think. It’s iroic though how these supposedly open minded liberals act when you don’t agree with them.
    If they act that way they are not real friends.

  7. To the author: You are welcomed here in the Heartland, here for one Obamandroid sign there is 10 McCains, we know the difference.

  8. Pobrecita! Welcome to the world of the abused.
    In the past two weeks my colleagues have told me I was “out of my head” and “full of myself” because of my pro-McCain and anti-Obama views. When Bush won in 2004, 8 of the 14 people in my department sang a horrible anti-Republican song to the tune of a Christmas song to me at our Christmas party. They said I was a “good sport” about it. I reminded them that it was because I was not a liberal.
    Their nickname for me is “guajira” because of my interest in Cuba which some of the scoff at because “it’s not that bad” in Cuba. And for a while they would put che pictures in my room or send kids with che shirts to me to ask if I liked their shirt. “All in good fun,” of course.
    Get used to it, it will never get better.

  9. Monica,
    I agree with you 100%. This election year has brought out the ugly in a lot of people.
    It may fall on deaf ears, but did you forward the link to your post to these friends of yours?That’s what I would do.
    besos!
    Amanda

  10. Once again, Sven, yo can look here for more evidence that liberals are intolerant and don’t let you express your opinions. Is this specific enough for you?

  11. I refuse to be intimidated! I’ve lived long enough to have seen that same “politic of fear” during the Cuban Revolution. My parents didn’t let anyone intimidate them in Cuba (and believe me it was much, much difficult then) and I’m not about to do it here. I will not disgrace their memory or their sacrifice.
    I went to the McCain rally at FIU with my McCain/Palin T-shirt; I have a McCain/Palin bumper sticker that I drive all over Broward County and anyone that doesn’t like it can kiss my Cuban-American ass (I had it on the back rear window of the car and someone ripped it off. I’ve placed it on the inside of the window now). I wear a McCain/Palin button everyday (sent to me by friends from out of state) which seems to draw lots of dirty angry looks. I really don’t give a shit! I just look at them and smile and continue about my business.
    My only disagreeable “encounter of the third kind” with an Obamite was in the parking lot of “La Panera” restaurant in Miramar. I was with one of my grandchildren at the time when this man just came out of no were and got in my face. He called me a couple of dirty names then took off. Still, I refuse to allow these leftist, liberals and their tactics to keep me from asserting my political beliefs. If I allow this to happen, what will I be giving up next? My freedom?
    Monica, with friends like that you don’t need enemies. I’m sorry. It’s you who shouldn’t have ANY respect for them. Not because of their political leanings or their choice of a candidate, but because they are being judgmental and cruel to you. You have the right to vote for the candidate of your choice. Don’t worry “time unveils the truth.”
    Perhaps a copy of the U.S. Constitution might make a nice Christmas gift to them. If you are still friends, that is.

  12. Monica,
    I greatly admire your character. You are discovering that there is a big difference between true friends and acquaintances. You are correct in saying that “this is how it felt to be skeptical or critical of Fidel Castro in Cuba circa 1959.”

  13. George, McCain is not a conservative, he’s a counterfeit republican. Just thought I’d correct that little error.

  14. Felix,
    I don’t give a rat’s ass about McCain being a TRUE conservative. Suffice it to say that Obama is a SOCIALIST! Capice?

  15. Time unveils the truth, eh? If Obama won and things went to hell, they’d blame it all on Bush, anyway.
    Oh, and Sven, are you paying attention? Is This specific enough for you yet?

  16. Monica, you just reminded me of a huge learning experience I had the day before I left Cuba 47 years ago.
    I went to say good bye to a friend I had known since I was 5 years old. He was a lieutenant in Castro’s milicia and I was a member of the anti-Castro, Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (although he didn’t know this). Because we lived in the same block, our families knew each other and for 14 years we had played together and grown up as friends I thought the proper thing to do was to say good bye. Well, when I knocked on the door his mother opened, gave me a look of disgust and yelled: here is a gusano to see you.
    I ignored the insult and when he came over I just told him I was leaving the next day for the U.S. and wanted to say good bye as a friend. His response was: “I know you will come back as part of an invasion and I want you to know that my trigger finger will not tremble when I aim at you with my rifle.” I smiled and said: “Thanks for telling me”, turned around and walked home as his mother continued to yell GUSANO! GUSANO!
    I learned that day that some people are unable to put friendship, family or even religion ahead of political ideology and the years have taught me that leftists in particular have a pathological propensity to that defect.
    Remember Monica, there are friends and there are acquaintances, you just need to reclassify them.

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