August 14, 2009


Stopping by a local market today, I was surprised to see a table set up next to the front door which was covered by all sorts of hateful racist anti-Obama literature and posters. They were of the kind that have become popular of late with the so called right wing. After watching reports of the agitators disrupting town hall meetings, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see evidence of the hatred closer to home.

As I got closer to the table, which I had to pass to enter the market, I was able to see what the two men manning the table were up to. Within the next nanosecond, this grandmother's dander was up and I could feel the red tendrils of anger start biting my feet. My steps increased their purpose and speed. As I walked by the two men, I did the only thing a grandmother could do in a situation like this. I looked at the two young men and said; "Shame on You! You should be ashamed of yourselves."

The two offending men shrugged. Another customer, who had overheard my comments, added her own thoughts, saying; "She is right, Shame on you!” It felt good to have some backup by a complete stranger but I didn’t take the time to look back to see who my supporter was. By this time I was purposely marching into the market to report what I saw to the store manager in hopes that he or she could have them removed.

My first impression of the store manager was that he was harried; possibly feeling overworked, overwhelmed, or just plain tired. Nevertheless, I spoke to him about my concern that this kind of hate-mongering just outside his store could easily lead to violence.

The acting manager was harried, but he did tell me that they had tried to have the men and their table removed. The police and the powers that be in the City of Torrance had been contacted. What he learned was that the store couldn’t do anything at all because their front door opens up on a public sidewalk, and the guys doing the tabling knew exactly how close they could be to the door without breaking the law. Even hate mongers have the right to free speech in our country.

I didn’t find what I was looking for at the market, but I knew that by the time I was leaving the store my mood was impassioned and I was ready to say something else to the jerks outside. What did I say as I passed by on the way to the car? I said; “May God have mercy on your souls if your actions to spread hatred results in violence! The two young men seemed unmoved by my comment and the youngest actually flippantly waved at me and said “goodbye”.

When I got home the experience was still on my mind. So, I did the only logical thing. I call the office of the City of Torrance’s manager as well as our locally elected congresswoman office and asked if there was anything could be done. The people I spoke with were sympathetic and knew this was going on, but the problem remains with something that is right. This is one of the prices we pay for the right of free speech in our county. One young man suggested that we get our own table with our own signs and brochures and sit down right next to the hate mongers.

I am in favor of free speech. And, I know that Freedom isn’t Free. And, though I would love to start tabling again, I don’t know it I’m up entering the fray at this time.

I felt better tonight when I turned on CSpan. There was former President Clinton giving the Keynote address at Netroots Nation Convention. I was uplifted by his talk and am hopeful that, Yes, even though things are getting hairy these days, we can push along and continue to right the wrongs.

If you watch President Clinton’s speech, I am hoping that you will feel hopeful too. We just have to get involved, and together we can solve even the biggest problems we face. Anything is possible. If we have the will, we will find the way.
Keep the faith! ☺

Posted by Judi at August 14, 2009 1:09 AM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?