Yes, We Are

“He’s a good person,” the man said, pointing back at the West Allis Library where Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner was holding a Town Hall meeting. “He’s a good person and I voted for him.” He paused for a minute.

“But you, you’re not good people.” 

I couldn’t believe it. This came from a man my age whom I’d never met, with whom I’d had no conversation beyond greeting him with a cheery hello while my friend asked him if he was interested in working with other seniors on health care issues. We were just standing outside with our little clipboards. Harmless. Smiling. When we tried to talk to him on his way into the hearing, he waved us off and kept walking. His wife trailed behind him, turned back to us with a half apology and a tiny smile. She shrugged as in ‘you know how men are.’

On the way out, he stopped to make his little speech. I wondered if he’d been rehearsing it in his head while he sat in the overcrowded meeting room inside the library. He delivered his final line, “But you, you’re not good people,” and then turned quickly and walked to the parking lot.

I yelled after him, “I’ll tell my grandchildren what you said.” I don’t know why that’s what came to mind. Maybe I wanted to make it clear that I was somebody who shouldn’t be insulted, I was somebody’s grandmother. Part of me wanted to run after him with my resume and my voting record. It wouldn’t have mattered. He didn’t turn back to look at me when I yelled.

I’ve thought about this all afternoon. It astonishes me that a man of decent breeding, if I can use such an archaic term, would insult perfect strangers. I wonder if it was because we were women, thinking that he wouldn’t insult a group of three men. And then I think about how I was raised, for heaven’s sake, a man insulting a woman would sit on the last rung of rudeness.

So I’m left with my puzzle. I am dissatisfied with my response to the insulting man. I wanted to say that we are good people, that I am a good person, that by organizing people and working for change, we are what is best about America.

I want a pin I can wear on my jacket that says this: Yes, We Are.

 

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Yes, We Are

  1. Paula LUcey

    We have lost our manners in this world of bi polar politics. Bad dudes and ” liars” running for president. So the Democrats just take it. But for all the remarks about name calling made during the election, ….What shall we call a president that accuses a president of wiretapping and there is no evidence of that ever happening. Seems like the name for that is a liar. Seems like that is what got Bill Clinton impeached.. lying. This is coming from an FBI director that almost single handedly gave Trump the election. So hard to blame him as being basis.

    But we must remember our elegant role model, Michelle, when they go low, we go high.

    Like

  2. dadlife321

    It’s the political atmosphere we are all forced to live under. This notion of looking at a stranger and assuming you know exactly who they are just by one look, is extremly dangerous and corrosive of civil liberties. Breaks my heart to see and UNFORTUNATELY the very first emotion that comes to mind after reading your story is anger… if you think about it; anger is the catalyst of this atmosphere im talking about. Anger causes people to misinterpret, miscommunicate, it bypasses logic and reason, and it can also make people do and say things they dont normally do or say. In this day and age; it is socially/politically acceptable to say a bunch of made up crap about someone without reasonable grounds or evidence, in other words its perfectly okay to not tell the truth anymore. I’m so very sorry you experienced that and wish circumstances were different for everyone. I am not usually this politically outspoken, I truly believe that a balance of both ideologies (conservative and liberal) is good for this country. Why can’t we all just go bacl to giving people the benefit of the doubt??? Ya know the only thing that beats out anger is it’s opposite… love. So I’m sad you had to experience that from man that didn’t know you from Adam but I’m also glad that you didn’t get to say exactly what you wanted because this age of anger will never go away unless it’s opposite is allowed to flourish! He only heard you say that you were someone elses grandparent… good. Now in the very back of his cold mind he knows that you’re not ISIS and that others love you for who you are and thats all he needs to hear… sorry for the rant, i swear this really isnt like me at all!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Chris McLaughlin

    Was reading a surprisingly good thing in Forbes, Ten Things You Don’t Want To Hear But Need To Hear or some such thing, and the last point was “Someone thinks you’re what’s wrong with the world.” And I guess that’s just gonna be true–not that you’re what’s wrong but that someone, someones, will think it. Sometimes, all you can say is “Well bless your hear!”

    Liked by 2 people

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