On of the young missionaries approached me. She was young, white, and expensively dressed. I detected a faint scent of Fleur de Fleurs, and the smell of Crest toothpaste on her breath. Were we not in public (and were she alone), I would have taken her in my arms and kissed her, deeply.
But, we were (and she wasn't).
"Are you registered to vote?"
"Yes, ever since I was eighteen."
"Are you a believer?" she asked.
"In what?" (It seemed to be a good time to be a little coy.)
"Our Lord and Saviour, Barack Obama." (Actually, she said "Senator" instead of "Lord and Saviour"; but, the latter makes for a better story.)
"Because he's black?" she asked.
"No, because he is the least qualified man ever to run for the highest office in this great land of ours. And, because he is without conviction. He seems to change his positions with the wind. He sat, for twenty years, and listened to a racist crackpot denigrate America, without complaint. He has a messiah complex." I could have gone on for hours. The fact that he really is an African-American has nothing to do with my feelings about the Illinois senator.
"Well," she said. "Have you read his syllabus from when he was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School? He is brilliant." (She said this word--"brilliant"--like she was English.)
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I have." (I can not believe that this is happening. I had been asked by my friend, K, if I had read his syllabus. Whether I knew anything about Senator Obama's law school tenure. Since (then) I had not, I went out and read everything that I could find.)
"I also read an article about how then-Professor Obama had been hired to teach to help diversify the faculty at U of C. How he had been offered tenure though he had never (which is to say, never) published. And, I looked at his syllabus, which I found to be nothing special. Oh, and it had several typos."
"Well, what would you know about his syllabus? It's not like you are a lawyer," she retorted.
"Actually...I am The Lifeguard. And, when I was in law school, I read all of the case law on his syllabus. Most every law student does. I had also read many of the articles, speeches and books that he suggests in his bibliography. I also can not understand his lack of scholarship. Pretty much every tenured professor that I knew lamented about the need to 'publish or perish.' I also found it interesting that in twelve years at U of C, he never really expressed any firm opinions or views." (I could have gone on for hours.)
"Ummm," she said.
"Ummm," she said again.
"You sound like Senator Obama once he is off of the teleprompter," I told her.
"You are a Right-Wing racist," she said, walking away, frustration evident in her voice and demeanour.
And, as I watched she and her shapely friend retreat into the crowd, I remembered that when an Obama supporter calls one names, the Obama supporter has ceded the argument.