Tuesday, April 26, 2011
We attended a town hall meeting last night held by freshman congresswoman Diane Black. She's not actually our congresswoman, but a portion of our county is among her constituents. I had never attended an event like this so I joined Ken at the last minute as he headed to the courthouse.
Attendance was light, about 25-30 people, most of whom were supporters of Mrs. Black, and decidedly conservative, if not Tea Party. As she allowed several times during the meeting, I will note that Mrs. Black and I agree to disagree on most issues. That said: I thought she handled herself well, refrained from badmouthing, and though clearly partisan in her outlook she seems earnest in doing her job well.
The meeting went smoothly until the time when questions came from the floor. The democrats in the room did well to remain restrained until one couple referred to President Obama as an Arab (that was a new one to me!). I don't recall the immediate verbal reaction to that, but it wasn't long before one woman challenged the couple on their statement, asking them a question that ended with, "or do you not like him because he's black?" The crowd went wild, and you could hear the collective hackles go up around the room in concert with the protesting voices. There was a loud response, "he's not black!" (another new one), and then the woman who claimed that Obama is Arab asked, "are you calling me a racist?" The exchange continued in this vein for a brief time, during which the woman who was affronted by the perception that she was being called a racist looked at Ken (who had said nothing) and said, "you need to get informed." The county sheriff, who was present (and off duty) stepped in to calm things down and restore some order to the room. People who had stood up to engage in the heated exchange sat down. And then the aforementioned woman turned our direction and said, "I am not a racist. I didn't even grow up in the south!"
You'll understand if that phrase appears on this blog now and again!