A Random Life Lived Thoughtfully

October 7, 2008, is the 228th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain, a heroic Revolutionary War Battle where our ancestors bearing muskets defeated the Tories and the mighty British Army. These days I wonder if we are at war with each other.
I will always be from that mythical place called Shuffletown. It is in my memories and my DNA.
American citizens have been divided by race, creed, and color, not to mention in utero and non-utero Americans, hunters, white women, women of color, crazed old women, Fundamentalist Christians, heretics, liberals, and those liberals, Christians and those Christians, sinners and saints. Sometimes, we watch others for signs of inflammation. Aren’t you tired of the screaming and name calling by our leaders and the media as they build monuments to our differences?

Is it my imagination? Do we quarrel more among ourselves failing to find common ground? Have we forgotten the importance of insincerity, manners and respect? We all seem to know who is a Democrat or a Republican and we treat each other accordingly?

I am exhausted by the daily slanderous political emails. Emails that alert me to supposed horrors committed by our political and religious leaders?

Do you think God counts emails?

After many, many, emails informing me that Obama is a Muslim. I do not believe this because I am convinced that Michelle would not wear a burka.

Are we being divided into war zones or voting precincts? Are the other voters really serious about changing the American way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? It seems we have all begun to drop bombs upon each other from our places of insecurity. The louder we argue. The more we divide. Are we being distracted?

There was a time when we did not measure a person’s depth of religion by their political party.

I figure my name is on a political marketing list in some room filled with computers and Twitters (whatever they are)? I wonder if they know how I felt yesterday and what I did on Monday. How homesick I get?

Have they got me pegged? They probably know I used to work for Charlotte Motor Speedway, that I belonged to the Southeastern Outdoor Writers’ Association and that I own a graveyard. But, given all that, would they peg me as someone who has never owned a hunting license or that I think shooting a moose is about as much sport as shooting a cow?

Have they found out that when I worked for the Republican Party, I was secretly a Yellow Dog Democrat?

These are my suspicions. My very own suspicions of what I think are going on today. First off, and this is the truth, I just don’t feel like I have a dog in the upcoming election. I think it is because politicians don’t seem to care about the truth today. They can even make a lie become the truth by telling it over and over until it is accepted as truth. I don’t trust any of them.

I blame my spiraling paranoia these days on the fact that John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. You see, I am not real sure about a great-horned Alaskan virgin hunter-goddess of five children for Vice-President of the United States?

On the day, McCain chose Palin; I turned off CNN as background noise. I have stopped reading political columns in daily newspapers and, oh, how I dislike the screaming talking heads. To many, I am that sort of voter, whatever that is, and I am talking about those who do not know.

Cynically, I also requested that my sister send me a photo of her husband voting for a woman, which he inevitably would do in this election.

I now read only the feature stories in newsprint and of course, the Mountain Island Monitor, because it tells me what my neighbors are up to and how we never get to vote about how much money is spent in our area because we are just regular folks.

Is it just me or do our politicians and leaders want us to react, get mad, and be suspicious of others who do not vote as we do? Has any president other than George Washington been elected unanimously? Yet, we have always carried on with the American way of life after the elections. Since 2000, it seems that we are carrying around grudges from election season to election season.

I am tired of being fed a daily diet of ugly headlines and innuendoes that get us all riled up about things without noticing what is going on around us, right here in River City, the good old USA.

I am not now nor ever have been an honor-bound Hillary supporter. I always thought she should leave her philandering husband and get a real job. I wanted her to get down and get dirty every day like I did. I was sure Hillary would have no idea of how to live on my paycheck. But what do I have in common with Palin? I have had a hysterectomy; does that make me a female with missing parts?

Has anyone checked with the American male? The looming Presidential 2012 race between Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Hillary must look too many like a ring in “Dante’s Hell.” But, again, according to the Mayan calendar the world is to end in 2012.

How could McCain lose this race? He has a blonde on one arm and a brunette with a gun on the other. He just grins and his hair shines like a silver wreath beneath the spotlight. Where are the togas when you need them?

Sometimes, I think the three of them look like they should be competing in a Gene Autry Karaoke Contest.

I do not believe that Obama is a Muslim and I have read even an email from someone in Billy Graham’s Association who sent out an email comparing Obama’s charisma to Hitler. Is this nice?

I live in Los Angeles now with a fiscally conservative, socially responsible voter who was until a couple of weeks ago, a Republican. Lee voted for Bush, twice. We live in peace, for the most part. Then two weeks ago, McCain chose Palin and Lee chose not to be a Republican. He is now an independent voter.

Some mornings, I get up tired and read the headlines of the newspaper too quickly. Then I will fire a shot over the bow, but I have been admonished and unsuccessful often enough to mostly know better. Besides, I have made note in the last eight years that no matter how we argue…we go out and face the same world every day with the mounting challenges of eking out an existence. Life is not easy these days for any of us, no matter how we vote.

I have seen my father bow his head in prayer each time he sat down to a meal. I also saw him lean his head in his hand in exhaustion while gathering the strength to eat.

The most recent departed souls of Shuffletown, the ones who sat with me and told me their stories that are published in my book; they are my heroes, each and every one of them. I honor them with memories most every day. Where are our heroes today?

I will always be from that mythical place called Shuffletown. It is in my memories and my DNA.

I am retired, never made much money; I was fired from five jobs…mostly for talking back to the boss. There is also the matter of three divorces. My children were raised latchkey kids because their mother had to work.

I am of the first generation to step away from the plow, and the last generation to learn how to send emails. We do not work for a harvest anymore, we work for health benefits.

Rich and richer, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain’s economic advisor, said that we have become a nation of whiners. But he and his wife, Wendy, who worked in Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget, have made millions since they left government by working for the same corporations they used to regulate. They do not worry about gas to get to work. Nor do they have friends and relatives searching for work.

Instead of bailing out financial institutions and pandering to oil companies, shouldn’t we pursue an alternative energy source with the same commitment that planted the American flag on the moon? Why don’t they spread the money among us that is being used to bail out corporations in trouble? Let them learn hard lessons, just like us? That is what we are expected to do. Americans used to be able to take care of their own.

I have lived a random life, thoughtfully. This might be a hard sell, but believe me retribution is swift in my life and I have had long periods to ponder my actions. I have experienced three lifetimes of set-backs. Yet, I would not have missed a one of them.

Still, in the sixty-seven long years of my life, I have noticed that no matter where you are and who you are talking with there are always a few things that we all hold dear and true.

We all care about our loved ones and friends having sustenance and shelter — as the army says, “Three hots and a cot.” But that is getting harder to provide each passing day.

Everywhere that I have traveled I have found that people, folks, that’s all we are, regular, day-to-day folks. All we want is to cherish what we have; to protect and provide for this life of ours.

I am a lightning rod.

I own a graveyard.

I have no credentials except hard knocks. You have no reason to take what I say seriously, except that I am your neighbor.

I do not expect you to agree with one word in my wanderings on this page. You can stomp the newspaper. I am sure the editor would prefer that instead of calling him…you would call my brother and sister to complain. Or, you could call all of them to express your sympathy for their connection to me. It has been done before. Many have used the term, “Well, you know, Judy,” when referring to me.

In the spirit of the Battle of Kings Mountain, let’s work together to get our politicians to listen to us. Hug a Democrat, hug a Republican, be nice, and don’t pray for it to rain on another’s parade.

If we do this, maybe our leaders will start acting like us. Maybe our politicians will locate where they stashed their good sense, after all, we know who they are, also.

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