Behind the lines

Some of you probably already suspect this, but it’s time to come clean. I’m in cahoots with Barack Obama. That’s right. For the last few weeks, we’ve been carrying on, exchanging e-mails pretty much on a daily basis. Same goes for Joe Biden. And just yesterday, I even got a friendly e-mail from Michelle Obama, my personal favorite.

OK, so they keep hitting me up for money, and Michelle has yet to invite me to lunch or seek any fashion advice, but at least we’re on a first-name basis. (I let them call me “Melissa,” which is usually reserved only for my family members).

This isn’t to say I haven’t been wooed by the other side. In fact, just the other night, John McCain gave me a buzz on my land line (he’s still trying to figure out e-mail, I guess.) He didn’t call me by my first name, but did address me as “dear American,” or something to that effect, which made me feel sort of special (although I still can’t say I buy the whole Hollywood/terrorist thing). Anyway, I know he’s a “maverick” and all, but does anyone else conjure up Dr. Evil every time he speaks? (Which reminds me, give him my regards on Friday.) As of yet, there’s been no call from his running mate, although I did get a call from Track Palin about a week ago (on closer observation, it turns out I was Goodman’ed.)

I’ll admit, at first all the personal attention was flattering, but now, well, it’s getting a little creepy. Borderline stalking even. All I can say is if I open my in box tomorrow to find a message from Matt Damon, it may be time to block sender.

My children are under strict orders not to pick up the phone during prime call center hours of 5-9 p.m., and we’ve gotten quite good at playing the “quiet game” during unexpected visits from people carrying clipboards and pamphlets.

I know, these people are doing noble work, trying to educate the masses who may have happened to miss the 700 e-mails, phone calls, mailers or “Saturday Night Live” skits. And I know their work is particularly grueling, especially among grown adults who can’t seem to keep “Obama” and “Osama” straight.

It’s just that when I get chased down on my bike en route to my kid’s soccer practice by a yard sign-wielding canvasser, well, it makes me rethink my stance on gun laws, or at least leash laws.

Of course, I can’t help but wonder what elections would be like without the convenience of modern communication methods. You know, before you could flip on YouTube and watch Sarah Palin say “nukuler” in her folksy backwoods dialect, punch your name into the Palin “Baby Name Generator” (still trying to figure out how they came up with Clip Dragon Palin) or check out the Palin debate flow chart. Back when people actually had to read, listen and pay attention to the issues and each other without the benefit of computer games, superimposed bikini models or Tina Fey.

As luck would have it, last week I got my chance to get back to the grassroots when a top-secret retaliation mission for a ruthless paint ball attack (long story) brought me to GOP headquarters in Colorado Springs, of all places. Anyway, even though there was an ulterior

motive, I seized it as a prime opportunity to visit the trenches, so to speak. To rub elbows with the folks behind the scenes, the ones manning the phone banks, passing out the yard signs and leaflets, and registering Americans for one of the greatest freedoms on earth: the right to vote in a democratic election. So, in the spirit of bipartisanship (and because I thought some bumper stickers might make good ammo) I donned the red hoodie I just so happened to have and walked not through the blue doors on the left side of the street, but the red ones on the right.

Despite the fact that I had my “Hockey Moms for Obama” T-shirt on underneath, the commie detector did not go off as my mostly unwilling accomplice and I entered the pachyderm’s lair. In fact, turns out red just happened to be the color du jour, and I was soon greeted by a sea of fellow red wearers. My first instinct was to flee, but I stayed my course, giving the familiar “wave through.” However, I was worried that my accomplice, who had turned a paler shade of gray and was beginning to perspire profusely, would blow our cover. But seeing as how there are only a few precious weeks to go till D-Day, the place was buzzing like a swarming hive of busy red worker bees. Just as I had zeroed in on the bumper sticker table, thinking what great gifts they would make, I was detected.

“Here come two more,” I heard a man say, as he excitedly whisked me to an open chair at a large, crowded table. Although I’m pretty sure it was some sort of interrogation room, I didn’t want to find out. And what would happen to me when they discovered I was a card-carrying member of the liberal media, with a peace sign lurking under my red exterior, I can only guess.

Suddenly, the fight or flight kicked in. Without a word to my accomplice, I beelined for the door (but not before getting some souvenirs to prove I was there.) But, I’m going to have to admit that despite the soaring blood pressure and tunnel vision, it was mostly a figment of my overactive imagination. I wasn’t chased out by an angry mob wielding pitchforks, torches or holy water. I was simply told “thanks” and “have a nice day” before stepping out into the warm light of day.

Could it be, that underneath all that red and blue, we are all just varying shades of purple? (Come to think of it, even my Obama shirt is a light hue of lavender.) Maybe is doesn’t matter whether you say “nukuler” or “nuclear,” but whether you care enough to get involved. I mean, in the end, don’t we all just want to do what we think is best for this country?

Sure, things have gotten a little ugly in the last few months, and I may never be able to shake the image of the guy at the Pennsylvania rally with the Curious George doll (thank you, Youtube). But when all the e-mails and robo-calls have subsided, and us “Dear Americans” return to life as usual, let’s hope we can all remember those October promises we made.

– Missy Votel



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows