I had a busy schedule the day before last Tuesday’s election, so I decided to have a quick lunch at a fast service little restaurant on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. There was a short line waiting to be seated. Two of those in line were attractive thirty-something year-old African-American women.
One of the two had the little round “I Voted” sticker on her jacket. I smiled while pointing at her sticker, and said “Your vote beat mine by a day.” Her friend then held up her purse, which had the same sticker. I laughed and told them, “Good for you both.”
The first women then explained that they voted early because, “something might happen if they didn’t.” Not sure what that meant I asked, “About what were you worried?”
The first woman said, “We didn’t want this election to be stolen like the last one.” Her friend jumped in and said, “But most important was electing Hillary.” Lowering my paper, I said, “I don’t think you meant Hillary.” The other woman then told her friend that I was right, and that they had actually voted for someone named “Omana, who is a Muslim.”
I responded, “I’m guessing whom you really voted for is a Democrat candidate named Ilhan Omar, and yes, she is a Muslim.” One of them told me that she didn’t think the name I suggested was right. The other shrugged as if to say “who cares,” then asked me, “So who did you vote for?” I reminded her that I had not voted, but would do so tomorrow, on the regular election day. Both nodded.
By then I was fascinated by their voting experience and I asked them if they had checked out any of the other candidates, and if any of the others had good policy ideas. One said “Hell no.” The other said, “We know all them already.” Her friend nodded, and asked if I planned to vote for “Omana, or whatever her name was?”
I said, “No. But to answer your question about for whom I plan to vote, you should know that I live in Minneapolis, and what’s most important to me is reducing poverty in my city. So, I’ll vote for a Republican. I’m not doing that because I don’t like the person you voted for, but because the Republican party’s policies have given more jobs to unemployed poor people and ended more poverty than anyone else.” They both just looked at me.
A moment later the wait-person motioned them that their table was ready, and then I was taken to a table of my own. As I sat down I was smiling and feeling proud of myself. I had made an honest little GOP campaign speech without having an argument. “How cool was that?”
A little later the two ladies got up to leave before I did. I smiled and said goodbye to them as they walked past my table. The first said goodbye back. The other paused for a minute, and leaned over my shoulder and whispered “We think you’re full of shit.”