( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Hello fellow Dharmaniacs, just wanted to share a story that happned to me today at work.
Cross posted at the Big Orange Menace
I live in a bright red district in a overall blue state. Racism is alive and well in this city. There is a clear line dividing the west side made up of mostly African Americans, the east side made up of whites, and the old down town middle district, which is mostly Latino. You don’t even have to live here to know the divide, just drive across town east to west and see who’s about, it’s that clear. It’s still possible here to go for years without contact with person of color, and many do just that.
I work with a guy who for all the 20 years I’ve know him has been the prototypical Limbaugh, O’Reilly loving wingnut.
I have a short story about this man and how he will vote in this election, and WHY.
For the purpose of anonymity I will refer to my co worker as Bob.
Bob worshiped Ronny Rayguns, he even took a day off from work to watch his funeral, and hung his flag in front of his house at half mast for weeks afterwards. He loved Bush the elder and was thrilled when Gulf War 1 started, saying that there’s nothing better than a bunch of dead sand ni**ers so fuck’em anyways. He did, and still does hate BOTH Clinton’s with a passion. He also loved the first several years of George Junior. He thought it was going to be a return to the glory days of Reagan/Bush. After 9/11 Bob was as gung ho for killing more (insert racist remark here), the more the better. By the time Bush’s first term was over he was less enthusiastic but voted for him again anyway.
Throughout the years I have had an uncomfortable relationship with Bob.
I work with him every day. Our politics and ideas about race couldn’t be more polar opposites. I have never tolerated his racism and called him on it every time it came up. There has been a few times where we didn’t speak for a few days because of it, which is hard when you work side by side with someone. Even though I couldn’t stand his politics or occasional racist remarks, he wasn’t a total asshole like perhaps I have made him out to be.
He does volunteer work for blind kids, lots of it actually. If you got a problem of some sort, need a ride somewhere, short a few bucks till payday, he’s the first to offer help. Every winter he shovels three of his elderly neighbors driveways even though his back is fucked up and is always able to politely refuse their offer for payment without making them feel bad about it. These traits told me there was an honest to G-d likable human being hiding in there somewhere.
Our discussions about politics have been similar, with me providing a counterpoint to his years of indoctrination from the right.
I have worked slowly and steadily to break through the wall of separation that true disciples of wing-nuttery erect around themselves. Sometime during the last year I noticed that at lunch time during our talks he wasn’t just waiting for me to shut up and launch into his point of view, he was actually listening.
Before our primary here, and steadily since, I have talked almost everyday at lunch time about why I think Obama is best suited to be our next president. Bob first met my views with almost complete disinterest, so I talked with the other men that work there. A few weeks ago he started asking me questions, I answered them as best I could and pointed him in the direction of YouTube to take a look at some of Obama’s videos.
Just last week he admitted that he finally got his teenage daughter to show him “How to do the tube thing”. I smiled and told him “it’s pretty cool ain’t it”.
So today we are working together on a press brake bending up some big ass hunk of metal plate and out of the blue he says to me “I’m voting for Obama”. I just about shit. I told him, that’s cool, so am I, then let him talk. He told me he has never voted for a democrat in his entire life and never planned on it, but that there was something about Obama that made him feel good inside, something that gave him hope that this was the guy that might be able to steer this country back on track and that he believed Obama was trustworthy. This was clearly an emotional decision for him.
He then said something else, He said:
“I don’t even care that he’s a black guy, I think his character is more important than the color of his skin”.
That to me is not cracking the door of racism open a bit, it’s kicking the fucker down.
Good on you Bob, good on you.