There I was, on an overcast but warm Saturday afternoon, waiting in line at Panera Bread to get some lunch.
As I stepped up to the cashier to place an order for broccoli & cheese soup and some multi grain bread. I heard, "who are you voting for?" from the young brunette pony-tailed cashier, who was looking right at my Obama-Biden button -- my big, color, with photos, OBAMA-BIDEN button.
I replied, "Barack Obama and Joe Biden," glancing down at the button on my jacket.
She looked at me quizzingly, and with a little tilt of her head, she leaned in toward me and asked, "why?"
I told her I used to volunteer for Joe Biden's presidential campaign, that he wrote the landmark bill helping women who were victims of violence, and he put funding into a bill that provides thousands of police officers on the street, and that his five point plan for Iraq passed in the Senate, even included votes from Republicans. I pointed to the photo of Obama, saying I had never met him in person but he is the most exciting candidate in my recent memory.
She paused for a minute, rang up the order, and then responded, "you know, they're calling him the anti-Christ."
If I had had the soup in my mouth already I would have spit it out in disgust. She said it matter-of-factly, in an uppity tone ike it was "common knowledge," in front of an entire room full of restaurant patrons, and the people in line behind me were aghast.
"Well, they just might be a little bit racist," I replied. "I'm no judge or jury, but someone who is a practicing Christian, and goes to services with his family, doesn't sound anti-anything to me."
Several people nodded and came to speak with me when I took my seat at one of the tables.
This conversation didn't take place in Alabama or Mississipi. And it didn't happen near Crawford, Texas, either.
It was spoken in the state of New Jersey, in the county of Bergen, in the town of Edgewater -- a place right next to my town of Fort Lee. A place with a Democratic mayor, several Democratic Congresspeople, two Democratic U.S. Senators, and a Democratic governor.
So I sat down and tried to eat my lunch, and all I kept asking myself was, "what the hell is going on around here?"
And then I was reminded of that line in the movie, "Alien" -- "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
It looks like we have a lot of work to do between now and November 4!!!