When my Republican husband proposed that the family go to Lowe's Motor Speedway to watch some racin' and fireworks last night I checked my list of things to do before I die and sure enough it wasn't on there. After a little bit of eye-rolling from the girls, who also had not added the event to their lists, I did my best to portray the "good wife" and build enthusiasm for this event.
We all dressed and ate an early dinner. The dog was walked and my younger daughter was doing her best to show some enthusiasm for our new adventure. The 12-yr-old daughter was bemoaning the fact that she might actually be seen and this was obviously not a desirable thing. I was making sure I grabbed my Kissell stickers. I was going to be in the heart of Hayes country, so wanted to display my loyalties.
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Understanding that this is a casual event in a very casual setting the girls both wore shorts and tee shirts. I, on the other hand, do not do shorts. Sporting black polished cotton capris, a sleeveless white top, black flats and sterling jewelry I headed to the track certain that I would look out of place and not caring one bit.
Apparently, the tube-top mammas didn't get their invitations to this event. I've only been to one NASCAR race and it was enough to last the rest of my life. The cars on the track had no appeal, but the people-watching was some of the best I'd ever done. There's more flesh on display at a race track than in a strip club. Last night, many of the women were dressed in capris and matching tops, so I wasn't as out of place as I had imagined.
Still, I couldn't figure why I was drawing the looks. I'm not overly attractive, nor do I cut a sleek svelte figure as I cut through a crowd. While it was only a few stares and a couple of finger points, I still couldn't figure out why I was attracting any attention at all.
Then, I figured it out. I looked down to put my sunglasses in my cute silk bag strapped across my shoulder and there on my chest drawing a sharp contrast against my stark white cotton top was a bright yellow Larry Kissell sticker. I had forgotten I was wearing it. I sat up straight, plastered a smile on my face that clearly said, "I'm enjoying this race, really I am." I was determined to fit in, if for no other reason than to do Larry proud in Hayes' home turf.
My polite applause for the Bandolero and Legend racers turned to rowdier clapping and I actually watched the cars and not the people watching the cars. I'm sure by the end of the evening I was blending right in.
The lights went out at the speedway after the stock car or crashing cars spent their time going around the track. It was hard to tell who was winning as there was no front and no back, just a big oval of beat up cars with names like Miss De Meanor, No Insurance, Area 51 and White Boy bumping and grinding their way through their left turns. I'm sure with some racin' experience under my belt I could tell where the front of the line is. I'm not sure how much racin' experience it would take for me to actually care where the front of the line is, though.
The fireworks were very nice. The ear plugs we wore during the racing were a bonus. The canned music was appropriately patriotic and the children around us were filling the air with Ooooos and Aahhhhhs. Over the sound of music and fireworks, the commentator reminded us of the, "American boys and girls fighting over in Iraq", and polite applause followed.
When he tried to arouse the crowd over the fact that we were all, "patriotic red-blooded Americans",(full southern country accent) there was barely movement in the crowd around me. Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe it was the fact that I knew this was the cry of the wingnuts on the right that turns my stomach. No clapping, no polite applause, no fitting in. I didn't want to.
That last shout out reminded me how this Republican majority and this President make me feel about being an American. I'm embarrassed at times. The face of dishonesty, aggression and ignorance that this president and this congress have shown the rest of the world makes me feel ashamed and I know that all of the good we as Americans do for others can't erase the harm that has been unleashed on the world by George W. Bush.
I hear that much of the NASCAR, small town crowd is conservative, so I assumed it was true of this crowd. In reality I don't know how many of the people in the crowd were Republicans and how many were Democrats. All I know is that one comment over the loud speaker put a damper on any patriotic spirit that the fireworks display had summoned and I didn't want to have anything in common with anyone who might cheer that on.
Today, a day when I normally celebrate my pride in America, I feel shame. There is no glory in anything George Bush has done in the name of God or in the name of my country. His reign of hate has turned my American pride into American shame. I want my country back.
We've talked about subpoena power and taking back the House, but I've decided that this is not enough. I'm not going to think small anymore. I want to take back America. Do you want to help?