It was at a car dealership near Birmingham. I sat with three others among the year-old magazines and coffee makers: a nurse, a retired sheriff's deputy (not Walker County) and what looked like a typical soccer mom (she could have been a heart surgeon for all I know, but housewife was the first thing that came to my mind).
We talked about mundane things, like the finer points of our warranties and how our shoes squeak on the floors. Then someone asked about the television.
"What do y'all want to watch," the nurse asked as she clicked through the channels.
We all replied with some variation of "Oh, it doesn't matter to me."
Someone suggested the news.
Good, I thought. Something we can ignore.
The station had footage from an Obama stump speech.
"Oh not him. I don't want to see him," the deputy said scoffing.
The two ladies smiled, and I looked down at my book. No one else chimed in about Obama, and I thought that would be the end of it.
But after a few minutes of news, an anchor mentioned the Afghanistan War, and the deputy said we shouldn't be there. We all agreed, saying that America had done all it can in that region and that too many lives had been lost already.
The deputy said the only reason we should invade another Middle East country would be if America was attacked again. And if that happens, he said, we should simply level the entire area.
But if Obama is re-elected, the deputy said, the country is destined for such a catastrophic disaster.
That statement then got the nurse talking about how Obamacare was going to lead to more premature babies dying. She said older people will also be denied surgeries — you know, because they’re old.
The soccer mom said she agreed about the denying surgeries to seniors stuff, because that's how Obama plans to boost Social Security's coffers.
I'm ashamed to admit I didn't express my opinion to them. It certainly went against the whole spirit of this column. But honestly, what do you say to people that far gone.
I don't mean to insult them. Each one seemed like a nice, intelligent person. Heck, at least two of them have or have had jobs in which lives depended on them.
I'm just amazed that four reasonable people can sit down, mention politics and find that one person believes the president is … well, better than the alternative and three of them think Obama is a socialist bent on killing babies and senior citizens alike.
Such a disparity is possible because a large group of people can quarantine themselves so that they never come across news that contradicts their own political beliefs. They watch Fox News. They listen to talk radio. And they read the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.
They live in a world where the economy has consistently declined over the last four years, a world where Obama has choked out domestic oil production. Of course, if you believe the lame stream media, we’ve had two years of straight job growth and are now close to matching Saudi Arabia in oil output.
But who needs facts in the conservative bubble.
Daniel Gaddy is a staff reporter for the Daily Mountain Eagle and a Walker County native. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org