soft hands.

get on board, little children

background: i work on the dementia "neighborhood" of a long term care facility, and over the course of my days gather colorful arrays of conversation, ranging from childlike to profane to profound to disturbing.
in several years this is perhaps the most unsettling thing i've heard, and the best part is that the woman doesn't even reside in my facility: she's a functioning member of the world Outside.

a conversation between myself and the sister of a resident on my floor:

sister: "are you voting tomorrow, dear?"
me: "of course."
sister, in hushed tones: "and who are you voting for?"
me, trying to circumvent a potentially touchy subject: "i haven't quite made up my mind yet..."
sister: "i'm voting for bush! i don't like that kerry. [pause] you know, the catholics are against abortion. and i watch the EWTN, and i know it's not just the catholics. even the colored churches! [another pause] and if that kerry gets in, there's going to be the abortion, and the homosexuals, and the thing with the cells..."
me: "stem cell research?"
sister: "THAT'S IT! you know they take the cells from the em-br-eye-oh and that's murder, mhm! and the euthanasia, you know what euthanasia is? [dramatic pause] it's when you get old and they kill you because you're no good anymore, mmhmm. and that kerry, he reminds me of hitler!"
me, trying not to look utterly horrified at the notion of this woman going to the polls tomorrow: "HITLER?"
sister: "he does! the way he moves when he talks! like this! [starts flailing her arms in the air in a mock nazi salute, nearly falling off her chair in the process] but i know dear, you have to work. you just have such a sweet disposition, and i'd hate to see you sin..."
me: "mrs so and so, i -- sin?"
sister, very seriously, reaching over to pat my hand: "maybe you ought to talk to your priest about it."

i'm not a politically outspoken person - i know my own mind and what i identify with, and while i respect people who deviate from my, err, vision.... this well-meaning old woman, for five minutes, was the voice of an america i tremble to remember exists.

james wolcott, as ever, succinctly hits the nail on the head:
I am preparing myself for either outcome today. Should Kerry win, I will post an important statement called "A Time for Healing," or something equally noble-sounding. Should Bush win, I shall post a statement of philosophical resignation tentatively titled "Good, Go Ahead, America, Choke on Your Own Vomit, You Deserve to Die." The latter will probably require a little more tweaking.

Get out. Vote. You'll feel so much better afterwards--cleaner inside.


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