This is an incredible story from my friend and fellow Democratic County Chair Melissa of Pike County, Georgia. Wow, and I thought us Democrats had it bad in Harris County (We do, but not this bad! I have been totally astounded by all of the spewing of bigotry and downright meanness we've seen this campaign season. It scares me to think my fellow Americans are filled with such despicable hate. The actions described below are beyond the pale.
This story is printed today in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Melissa's initial version is below:
MY DESCRIPTIVE PERSPECTIVE:
Registering "Gutter scum" gets a mouse head in meal for Democratic Chair
My name is Melissa and I'm the Chair of the Democratic Party of Pike County, Georgia. I have lived and traveled to many places both here and abroad. My current passport is littered with the physical stamps of these regions while my brain carries with it the psychological and photographed impressions of people of many cultures and beliefs. My expired passport is stamped with the obligations that came with being a member of the Air Force. I served, my sister served, my ex-husband with whom we share three children is still serving, and now my son is joining.
I along with several others in the county have been diligently registering voters and ensuring that the disabled and the elderly have access to absentee ballots. Upon this journey I have met many people and have heard stories from long-ago and how these times are just remarkable. Stories of hope, inspiration, triumph, and most of gratitude for even me being there and offering assistance.
Aside from that and on to the unfolding drama, the Democratic party in Pike County meets every month at Ruth's restaurant. We meet in the back room free of charge and have brought extra business to this restaurant once a month by inviting outside people to our meetings. The attendance can be sometimes three, sometimes 15. The owner's husband is always there, helping or assisting, and had always been cordial. He had let me know in the beginning he was a republican, and I can respect that. Everyone in this country has the right to have their views.
We met this past Thursday, October 9th, and I knew that we were going to have a small meeting because all of the officers were at other obligations but I chose to stay in case someone dropped by. I ordered a to go plate at 6:30 to be done at 7pm. I would stay until then and leave if no one showed and could fill the time by making some phone calls to district leaders and candidates. My husband you see is a Republican and I love him very much. He was sick at the doctor and I should not be out too late. At 7 I decided no one was going to show and got my styrofoam covered dish that was placed before me by the waitress.
She actually is a nice person that always has a smile on her face despite the apparent pain she suffers from the incredible limp given to her most probably from birth. Moving from table to table smiling, happy to have her job, I can only imagine the sore arthritic joints she bears when making this journey from kitchen to table, from table to kitchen. Standing now at the counter with my gift for my husband and waited to pay for it. Pastor Tom says doing these small things in marriage daily continually builds and holds your marriage together.
The owner's husband came in from outside with a sense of urgency, briskly walking around the counter and stood before me and beloved's meal. With heightened voice and a tone I had not witnessed in him before, he began to state his disgust about the registering illegal's and gutter trash. I immediately glanced at the TV that hung high in the corner of the one room dinning area. What news had I missed while spending the day at the Aquarium with my children? I Gazed through the once familiar horizontal lines on the screen that had neither seen cable during its time, and after Feb 2009 will cease to exist if a special tiny box is not attached to it giving it life again. Not able to detect the breaking-at this moment news-I was drawn back to this man I had not known previously. It took me about 3 whole seconds, which seemed like 3 hours to realize his anger, his hate, his frustration, was directed to me. Just me. I was the one registering this "gutter trash" ,these supposed illegals. "They do not deserve the right to vote, they shouldn't be allowed to vote. It was "gutter this" "gutter that" in short broken sentences spent out in fury.
I told him it was a free country, the United States of America, and that everyone has a right to vote. It is one of the only rights we had left. He went on about how apparently he could have gone to finish his school and ran for our senator, congressional seats and that even he could have done that. These statements are not new. In previous conversations when he had slipped this out, in much a different voice, I took it that he was interested in politics and possibly had made a mistake in his profession. But at that pivotal moment, him behind the counter, customers staring at the event unfolding, news from behind the rotating horizontal lines, my beloved meal standing before me, I knew then, what was the intent of these previous conversations. This man who once could carry a conversation about events and beliefs had transformed to something vile and angry.