Two days ago I am sitting in my doctor's office waiting room. I take my place, survey my surroundings, and do what most of us do when we sit down in a doctor's waiting room. I create my own version of the Seinfeld routine. You know. I wonder what she has? And what about her? And that guy over there? Of course given that this is an ENT doctor the mind runs no wilder than variations between sinus conditions and ear infections. And maybe a sore throat for good measure. And so I settle in for the long wait ahead.
But then something interesting occurs. CNN is on (the sound too low to hear clearly) and suddenly I am staring at Governor Palin's face. The announcer is showing clips of her Katie Couric interview. And before I can even think 'trainwreck', in a flash, the mostly female audience in the waiting room become very upset.
"Why don't they just leave her alone" one middle aged woman opines. "They would never do that to a man." And then a second woman -wearing a sort of gray bandana- professes, "They did the same thing to Hillary. They destroyed her." "It's a disgrace", volunteers the first woman as a third woman in stretch pants nods her head in agreement. "The media is after her (Palin) just like they always go after the women."
"Well CNN is just another liberal group. They don't tell the truth." And these sisters- in- struggle who a moment ago did not even acknowledge each other's presence suddenly find their voice as kindred spirits.
For the briefest of moments I think I might identify myself as someone who writes for the HuffingtonPost but the venom is so gelatinous at this point I decide it best to remain a fly on the wall. Fortunately this fly can talk.
"You think the media is biased against Palin?" The first woman glares at me as if I have just threatened to storm the ENT doctor before her appointment time and says "what do you think"? I gingerly add "I think the media is trying to find out if Palin is prepared to be vice president and possibly president. Do you think she's quali--?"
And I am interrupted before I can even get the word 'qualified' out and it sticks in my throat like a menacing chicken bone about to cut off my air supply.
"You don't see them doing that to the man who's running- what's his name- Ridel"?
"Biden." The woman shrugs, "They don't ask him stupid questions."
"That's because he's been asked stupid questions for decades and whether you agree with him or not he is at least qualified to be vice president. She looks at the first woman who had just glared at me and says to her "Another woman basher."
At this point I am seriously hoping my 'health care professional' will see me- like- pronto. And if not maybe I can join the witness protection program.
"Excuse me, is the doctor running on time?"
"I don't trust him- Biden- and I certainly don't trust that O-ba-ma." She nearly spits out the syllables and is obviously relieved to be rid of them. "What they did to Hillary was a disgrace." A disgrace" the second one chimes in.
Ah, what the hell- I'll give it a shot.
"Have you ever heard of the HuffingtonPost?"
"I'm not from around here."
So much for that. But why stop now. "It's an internet blog about politics, culture."
"Like I said, I'm not from around here."
"Are you going to vote for McCain?"
"Well, I'm certainly not going to vote for that O-ba-ma."
"The media just love him" and as she glances at the TV again, "Look what they're doing to that lovely young woman. What a disgrace. Disgusting."
And then mercifully I am called in- or maybe the ringleader of the group of Hillary supporters is- it's difficult to remember. Whatever happened the spell was broken and there was silence again.
My head was spinning, my ear hurt and I didn't know if it was due to the sinus problem or the woman in the bandana.
But it was a fascinating time in the ol' doctor's waiting room. And, folks, this little exchange did not occur in Florida, or Texas, or even swing state Ohio, or Pa. It occurred on the north shore of Long Island, a place of increasing democrat political power within the grander confines of a former republican LI.
In 2000 Hillary lost both Nassau and Suffolk to Rick Lazio. In 2006 Spitzer (remember him) and Hillary both won LI in a landslide. Presently of the five 5 NY congressional districts on LI, only one is represented by a Republican.
So, the question is, may we view this medical vignette as a representation of what the rest of the country might be facing? I think we can. There are still - if my humble encounter can be extrapolated- muchas muchas mujeres out there who remain incensed, indignant, and vehemently turned against the democratic party and especially Obama. This is a wound that is deep and visceral. Hillary supporters continue to feel that they were thoroughly ignored, neglected, essentially put on a shelf and left there to fend for themselves. It is obvious that these wounds are nowhere near healed. On the contrary they continue to fester.
It seems quite conceivable that women like these- and around the country there must be multitudes- enough to influence a tight state election- may not be in any hurry to turn out for McCain/ Palin, but they will certainly not be breaking down any polling places to light a torch for Obama, either. So do the Yin and Yang of this clash cancel each other out?
Put it this way. On election day if it is sunny and warm and they happen to be strolling by their polling station, they may stop in and vote Republican. If the weather is less than ideal, then probably not. So maybe the best thing the rest of us can hope for on November 4th is a wind swept rainy day. Oh, and perhaps a sinus flare up or ear infection to keep them in their homes- that wouldn't hurt either!