When I came of age to vote, I decided to vote Democrat. About twenty years later, I switched to Republican. Then, at length, to Independent. Things change. People change. Political parties change, that’s all.
Change comes for many reasons, of course, but one of the reasons many might be switching political allegiance this year in record numbers from Democrat, to Republican, Independent, or Libertarian parties (as per a report I just listened to) is what I want to comment on today.
In short, one reason people bail on a candidate or an entire party is: attitude.
And no, I’m not some kind of “precious snowflake.” I’m way too old and have weathered too much to be assigned that label.
When I listened to the report on the stats, I was reminded of a comment I read, once, to a rude front desk person at what business I can’t remember, from a customer who decided to switch venues for whatever it was he went to that store for. The comment went something like this:
I was hoping to purchase _______ in your store today, but your rudeness drove me away. When you, first, ignored me, next, greeted me with a bored look, and, lastly, snapped at me when I asked you to repeat something I didn’t quite hear, I didn’t argue with you, I didn’t respond in kind, I didn’t walk off in a huff and slam the door. I was raised to be polite, to give the benefit of the doubt, to “cover offenses with love.” However, this wasn’t the first time I have experienced your rudeness. But it was the last time.
I will now take my patronage elsewhere.
And I want you to know that there are many people just like me. We treat others with respect and appreciate a response in kind. We might be willing to put up with rudeness for a time or two, deal with miscommunication and/or compromise, if necessary, but there comes a point when enough is enough.
We won’t put up a fuss, we will close the door quietly on our way out, but you will never see us again. You will lose our business, which might not seem like much, one customer at a time, but over time, as more and more people experience your unchanging bad attitude, your business will feel the effects…
Why do I bring this letter up now?
You see, I’m one of the “deplorables” in the “basket” Hillary Clinton, Democrat candidate for President of the United States, referenced the other night, one of those she disrespected. One of that “basket of Americans” whose motives she presumes to know.
But the thing is, she doesn’t really know all of us, does she?
How can she operate on anything other than gross presumption and, even as she noted, gross generalization as she lumped together the thousands, millions of us in her contempt and open disdain, ascribing to us all of the worst she would like her supporters to believe we are made up of?
Now, I did hear what sounded like only affirming laughter in the audio of her audience response, but I can’t help but think there were those, even there, who, having been brought up like most Americans to be more tolerant and respectful, would have wished for a more gracious, a more Presidential nod on her part, to the same people “in the basket” that she will one day, perhaps, if she “wins,” need to honor, protect, and lead as the citizens of the nation that allowed her to be President in the first place.
What I am saying is that perhaps one of the reasons not only Clinton but her political party as well might be losing members/supporters in record numbers this year, is that very kind of blatantly disrespectful attitude edged with contempt that has become very tiring to listen to but has increased exponentially, it seems, in the past several years.
We can agree to disagree agreeably, after all.
And no, I am not a stranger to the kinds of hostility that politics begets. I just choose not to engage.
Were I to write a note to Hillary similar to the note written by the business customer, paraphrased above, it would go something like this:
Dear Mrs. Clinton,
We “deplorables” might not think like you or have your money or your power or your status, but we’re the people who have made this country the kind of “e pluribus unum” that people from all over the world, likely your ancestors as well as mine, have come to for a better chance and have experienced it. Not perfectly, but consistently.
We’re the ones who pay the taxes that keep your (political) class in food, shelter, and clothing.
We’re the ones who donate to world disasters in record amounts, more than any other nation.
We’re the ones who go to war to protect each other–and the rights of millions around the globe.
We’re the ones who protest against the unjust wars and work to address other injustices here and abroad.
We’re the ones who raise the food you eat, and invent the advances in technology and medicine that benefit you.
We’re the ones who even put up with the contempt and disrespect of people like you–for a while, anyway–choosing to give back respect for rudeness, courtesy for disdain.
And, lastly, please don’t forget, Mrs. Clinton, we are also the ones who vote you–and others in your party–in–or out.
Because, and you need to remember this as well, as polite as we are–and as restrained–we also know when enough is enough.
You will do well to remember these things.
With all due respect,
Phyllis Beveridge Nissila