The other day, I struck up a conversation with a father of a son in Ethan’s autism therapy program. We talked about some things our sons struggle with due to their disability, such as playing team sports. It felt good to talk with another parent whom totally gets what my husband and I deal with on a daily basis.
Then the conversation moved onto our sons’ individual education programs at their public schools. “I was so happy to hear that Sarah Palin is going to mandate more clearly written IEPs,” he said. At the mention of her name, my smile froze. I left the building feeling a little shaky, and couldn’t get the image of him mentioning Palin’s name out of my head.
This conversation made me realize how polarized politics has made me. No matter how much I have in common with another person, if he or she mentions their support of the Republican party, I immediately feel a disconnect.
I didn’t used to be this way. When Bush won in 2000, I was disappointed—I’m a life-long Democrat. In those days, however, I was open to voting Republican if the candidate appealed to issues I cared about. I knew neither party was perfect—both suck up to special interests, which never help the average American.
In 2002, when Bush made the case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, I believed him, and supported the invasion of a sovereign country. Then the day came when I felt betrayed by my president. It was July 2003. I was half-listening to NPR while making dinner and playing with Ethan. An NPR reporter stated that after searching the entire country, no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Anger bubbled over in me—I was duped.
Five years later, no one even mentions weapons of mass destruction as the reason we occupy Iraq. Since then, I’ve been counting the days for Bush and entourage to leave office. And, unfortunately, I don’t see much difference between McCain and Bush on issues I care about. The last thing I want is another four years of the same.
I bet my reasoning wouldn’t have much impact on this McCain/Palin supporting dad, no matter how much we have in common in day-to-day life. He’d probably have the same reaction to reading my blog as I did to hearing him say Palin’s name.
It saddens me that politics have so divided our country.
10 hours ago