A paint-myself-blue-and-dangle-the-head-of-my-enemy-on-the-neck-of-my-horse-Celtic warrior kind of day

There has been an Impeach Obama crew outside the local Post Office for some time now. I’ve heard about them, but never seen them myself – until yesterday. There was something about seeing the sign with Obama compared to Hitler that really rattled me.  It trivializes what Hitler did.

My paint-myself-blue-and-dangle-the-head-of-my-enemy-on-the-neck-of-my-horse-Celtic warrior kicked in.

I started by asking the group if they knew that winning an election was not an impeachable offense. When I pointed out that it was ridiculous to have Obama compared with Hitler since the color of his skin would have targeted him for shipment to a Concentration Camp, one of them accused me of being racist since Hitler also killed German people (for being Jewish, gypsy, homosexual, communist, or just because – but picky, picky, picky).

When I asked repeatedly what impeachable offense Obama committed, they said there were so many that I should just read their literature. I was joined by someone else who started questioning the group as well. They said we need to get rid of the traitors in Congress – traitors like Barney Frank.

Finally, exasperated because they wouldn’t answer my questions, I reached over to get a piece of their literature and all three of the Impeach Obama people freaked out. The woman practically threw herself over the literature, one of the men grabbed my hand, pressing it onto the pile of paper just as I was trying to pick it up so that I picked up several pieces. One tried to push me out of the way as another grabbed the paper from my hand. I held on and he ripped it out of my hand – that is I had about  three-quarters of the flyer, he had the other quarter.

It was at that point that they called the police to report that I was ripping up their literature.

In the meantime, the guy who had joined me in questioning the group called the police to report that I was being assaulted.

Three policemen showed up in separate cars. I overheard the one, after taking the story from the Impeach Obama people say, “You called because of that?”

I told the policeman who was questioning me that I had no intention of filing assault charges. He seemed relieved. He nevertheless asked if I was injured in anyway. I told him, no, other than my sciatica and we both agreed that while that was uncomfortable, it was not related to the call to impeach Obama.

A couple that had stayed to say they saw everything talked to the police. I asked them what they saw and they said I was uncivil because I was in their face – that I was aggressive in my questioning – that they saw me pick up several flyers and rip them up.

When I asked if they thought Obama was a natural born citizen, the man said he’s never seen Obama’s birth certificate. My better nature prevailed so I did not ask him for his IQ test. Instead, I pointed out that since Obama’s mother is a natural born citizen, that Obama was automatically a natural born citizen.

I finally asked one of the policemen if he would get a flyer from them so I could see why they wanted to impeach Obama. He got one and gave it to me – there was nothing on there about why Obama should be impeached .

I was rattled all day. My blood ran hot, you might say. And I’ve been trying to articulate why.

I’m writing this because I posted a synopsis of the incident on my Facebook page and I realized that it wasn’t clear that the police hadn’t come to arrest me, they had come to take my statement about being assaulted. I wanted to assure everyone that they don’t have to have bail-raising parties for me.

So, now that you can all rest assured that you don’t have to start a petition to release the Karen-Hogan one, I have some thoughts on why this group in front of the Post Office is so upsetting to me.

I wished I had asked the question: what happens after he gets impeached? My guess is they don’t know that he would have to face a trial, and then if found guilty would be removed from office. If not found guilty, he would stay in office.

If he were removed from office, Biden would become president.

I just have a sneaky hunch that they think impeaching Obama means removing him from office and then they can choose who get to choose the president.

Their ignorance really bothers me. And it’s ignorance wrapped in patriotism.

The other troubling part is they have no interest in answering questions. In fact, the couple thought that my asking questions was being uncivil, I was very aggressive. When I asked if the Obama with a Hitler moustache wasn’t offensive, they said it was freedom of speech.

The Republican leadership and Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs are empowering this attitude – an attitude of victimization and fear – victimized by and fearful of a world that is filled with diversity and ambiguity.

That’s what scares me: the empowerment of fear and victimization. If that prevails, we are really going to be in for it.

For Him, There was Time Enough

My Uncle Ray died on June 22, 2010. He was one hundred years old.

He died on a Tuesday. The Sunday before, he drove himself to church and back. So his was not a lingering clinging-to-life ending. I do not believe he suffered pain or humiliation. To paraphrase Lucinda Matlock from Spoon River Anthology, at 100, he had lived enough. That’s all.

The country was not quite 134 years old the day he was born in January, 1910, barely six years after the Wright brothers lifted off the earth in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Flight is how I think of my uncle. He built his own airplanes, and, I don’t know all the details, but he was a part of the space program in the Sixties — from Alan Shepard’s 15 minute space flight to the landing on the moon. I believe he helped design components for the vessels.

My family lives a long time. My great grandfather married for the third time at 90 and lived to be 105. I last saw him when he was 104 and he regaled me with tales of traveling by covered wagon and chasing a horse thief when he was Marshall in the Oklahoma territory. He lived long enough to see the moon landing, the one my uncle was a part of. My grandmother lived to 99 and last year, her youngest sibling died just shy of 101.

Uncle Ray was the oldest of my grandmother’s five children, and the last to die. So my generation, the children of my mother and her siblings are now officially grownups. The oldest of us is 79, the youngest 57. Probably time for us to become grownups, but, when you have a generation between you and the great whatever, even if it’s only one person, someone still thinks you’re the kid.

None of this means anything in particular. It’s just a perspective. You would think that the death of someone at 100 is expected, that you wouldn’t be surprised, that you could dismiss it with a “well it was a long and good life.”

But that isn’t it. It isn’t shocking or tragic, like when a twenty year old dies before his time.

The surprise is you’ve come to expect that the person will live forever. Their passing is huge. You get that they take with them stories that are set in a time and place that you know of only through history books. Their stories personalize history. My uncle’s lifetime spanned a century that saw our world shrink to a spinning globe as we looked down from outer space and a message sent from halfway round the world being delivered in seconds through the Internet.

He was sweet, my Uncle Ray, and funny. He used to say, “I come from a very high-strung family, some were strung higher from the tree than others.”

Our stories are important. I captured my grandmother’s and put it in a book called, Kid, I Can’t Remember Nothin‘. I thought her story would be different than it was. Everyone said family was important to her, and it was, but her one regret was that she didn’t get the chance to do something she wanted to do: be a telegrapher, sending messages to and receiving them from the far corners of the world.

My Uncle Ray retired to Sequim, Washington — to property that included a landing strip. The planes he built himself are still in the hangars on his property, so for me, his story is about taking flight. I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to capture my Uncle Ray’s story. I wonder if taking flight would have been the story he told.

Whatever it would have been, I think he lived the story he wanted to live.

At 100, he lived enough. That’s all. And that is huge.