With so many different issues driving voters to the polls Tuesday, I had the unfortunate experience of learning why a few Republicans chose to vote this past election day. It wasn't because of Immigration, Social Security, or even the war in Iraq. It was because of race.
My husband, a lifelong Republican, works for a business where nearly everyone employed there is a Republican and talk of politics is a regular part of their lunch breaks. Afterall, TN is a red state, so it's really not surprising. It being Election day, talk was more lively than usual and talked turned to how everyone would be voting that afternoon. Out of a table of seven men, my husband was the only one voting for Bob Corker because he felt he was the best man for the job. Five of them were voting for the simple reason they didn't want to see a black man win the senate seat for TN. The only democrat at the table was voting for Ford. I have to wonder if, like me, he felt terribly disheartened by the whole exchange. I wasn't even there and it has dampened my enthusiasm about the victories the Democrats achieved that day. I've not even had the heart to talk about Tuesday's outcome on the political thread that I participate in.
Because I had plans to see show at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium Tuesday evening, I had decided to take advantage of the early voting that had been going on in TN. I knew it was going to be a tight race and was looking forward to watching how it all unfolded on Tuesday. Whether Harold Ford lost or won, I felt he had campaigned well and won the admiration and support of many people across my area of East TN. It would have been quite an achievement for him........becoming the first black man sent to the senate from Tennessee since Reconstruction. I was anticipating leaving the show and catching up on all the election news on the way home. But after my husband shared with me what had happened that afternoon, all I could focus on was how stupid and mean some people are. All the way to the show I steamed and fumed. All the excitement I had been feeling vaporized. I shouldn't have given some ill-breed idiots that type of power over my feelings and I think it had to do largely with the shock. Racism isn't anything new here, but I had hoped people would have enough sense and decency to base their votes on the issues they felt strongly about or the content of a candidate's character. I can take the candidate of my choice losing because others didn't like his stance on the War on Terror or his fiscal policies. Disappointed, of course. But that's all part of politics........ya win some and ya lose some. But to think race played a part in it..........well, that's a little hard to take.
I'm not saying I believe all the people who decided to vote Tuesday were there to vote against a man only because he was black or that's even why he lost. For a Democrat, I think he did very well in a conservative state. I'm just saying that knowing anyone did is discouraging and heartbreaking.
On a different note, I just want to commend Jacke for being such a good sport. She has taken the results of the election with grace and style.