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.