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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where does the hate come from?

She wore a large crucifix around her neck with ruby red lips and painted on eyebrows. She worked in the office I was visiting for loan documents. Her hair was blown back in a retro eighties style that spoke of an earlier day when she might have been a looker. But the black pants suits and cherry red toes did nothing to knock back the fifty plus years. She was talking loudly two cubicles over while I waited. You hear things throughout your day much like a radio playing where snatches of  conversation roll in and out and you carry those sentences for a little while then forget all about it. But then she veered.

"...well I hate Obama. I can't stand him." Pause. "I hope somebody shoots the President." Just like that the words floated over the cloth insulated cubicle and I sat not moving. We hear things. Things we should respond too. Things that make us mad as hell later. But we don't speak. We dont' move. But I was electrified. Forget that our politics were different, she just said she hopes somebody shoots the President. Isn't that illegal? Are you allowed to say that in an office?

But again I do nothing more than look over the cubicle. She is standing there talking about her son in college now. The crucifix around her neck looks like a giant silver talisman. The Christian avenger? Pontius Pilot updated maybe. You can't help but think of that Rick Perry moment where people cheered all the people put to death in Texas. Or Ron Paul getting cheered for saying let a man die without health care. I mean here is this suburban woman in this upscale office talking about wanting someone to shoot the President.

And you wonder what we have come to where people turn to violence so easily. Not that she really wanted someone to shoot the President, but to even voice that feeling shows American society has fractured and is heading for a break. We see it all around us now. The quick turn to the extreme. And where does this hatred come from? She doesn't look like a racist. Maybe she just hates his liberal policies. Maybe she always hated those urban elites in the cities who made her feel like a dowager. Maybe she was on the wrong side of the fence in the sixties and seventies and is now looking for revenge.

I got my loan documents and got out of the office. I really think I should have said something, but sometimes we don't do what we should. I did look up the law about threats to the President and and found: The statement must also not be the result of mistake, duress or coercion.[A true threat is a serious threat and not words uttered as a mere political argument, idle talk, or jest. So she didn't break the law, but I thought about that lady all wrapped up in God and Country in her suburban bliss, spouting off about shooting someone who disagrees with her view of the world.

And all I could think was: what a nightmare.
Rocket Man

Books by William Hazelgrove