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“How DARE you come to DC & do this in MY town!”

Yes, it was almost three months ago. But these words still resonate in my brain. I am a 9/12er. I travelled to DC and rallied at the Capitol.

I was on my way to take a lunch break in DC between the rally at Freedom Plaza and the rally at the Capitol. A woman stopped me, who was obviously a local. She had her hands full of plastic bags, probably loaded with all the possessions she had in the world.

And she said these words to me:

How DARE you come here and do this in MY town!

I am naive yet in many ways. I had been to DC twice before during the GWB administration. The town at that time was seedy, full of homeless and a lot of filth. And I have to admit, this surprised me. After all, this is our nation’s capitol. It should be pristine. Clean. Like something out of the Stepford Wives or Pleasantville. But it seemed to me this time to have been cleaned up a little. Better. I was encouraged. But then came this one sentence, which stunned me to the core. And still reverberates in my mind.

How DARE you come here and do this in MY town!

And yes, it was obvious I was a 9/12er. I was wearing all the obligatory gear: tee shirt, cap and buttons. My first instinct was to say to her “this is my town too.” But taking one look at her, I knew she wouldn’t get it. I may be a small blond woman, but I am also smart. I was alone, no one but me in an area around the Capitol less travelled. I said nothing. I made no remark to her. I kept on walking as if no comment had ever been made.

Yes, this woman was black. By telling you this, would it make me the “r” word? Probably, by their standards. But I highly doubt these words would have been said to me, a white woman, if there was not a black man in “our house.” Frankly, I don’t care what color the person in the White House is, as long as he/she is qualified under the Constitution for the position. White, black, yellow, purple with pink polka dots, it makes no difference to me.

But I believe this is a symptom of the negative and divisive mentality that has been created since January 20, 2009. If we could count how many times the “r” word has been bandied about since this Administration came into office, we could probably pay off the national debt.

The rally was composed of probably 95% white people. Yes, there were a few blacks. Would this woman have said these words if she had run into a black 9/12er? We’ll never know.

Mr. Obama had conveniently decided not to be in town that day. He was at a healthcare event in Minneapolis. At least for part of the day. How nice. And later he claimed to know nothing of the mega-rally outside his so-called “front door.” I saw several choppers fly over the rally. They were so small, I couldn’t make out if any was Marine One. If Barry O was inside one of them, was he giving us the “finger,” a “high-five”? The latter I doubt, the former, probably. But who knows, I couldn’t see any faces.

My civics classes had always taught me that “Washington DC belongs to all the People. It is a special place. Everyone needs to visit there one day.” But this one sentence shook up all my ideals about our nation’s capitol, and the people who live and work there. This experience made me realize not everyone takes a civics class, or if they do, understands it. Not everyone has the benefit of the knowledge of the history of this town and what it means to the 320 million people who live in America; and who it belongs to. Not everyone has the benefit of understanding that “Hey, this is my town too.”

Mr. O, you live in “our house.” In “our town.”  Please stop throwing around the “r” word. Let’s get this nation back on track and united again.

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