This morning, as I was still basking in the afterglow of the Phillies' (!) World Series championship, I got on the train to go back to the city.
I had this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer - which screamed "CHAMPS" in bright red letters on the front - in my hand as I took my seat. A middle-aged, blue collar "Joisey" guy and his wife saw the paper and said something about how they weren't able to find a copy. I explained that my parents get the paper delivered to their house, and I had just picked it up on my way out the door.
I chuckled to myself as I opened the paper, not really believing that I had just a chat with Phillies fans - strangers - the morning after their world championship.
After a few minutes went by, and I had submerged myself in the Inquirer, I overheard those same two people talking about something else that I take very seriously:
"Yeah, he was in Miami last night, saying 'I'm gonna save the world, I'm gonna save the world," the woman sneered as the men shook their heads in disgust.
"He's a scary fucking guy," the man said. "And all these stupid fucking people, these uninformed people, are gonna vote for him."
My ears immediately perked up. I know who they're talking about, I thought. They're talking about Barack Obama.
You know, it's one thing to not like the guy. That's fine. That's your right. Disagree with him all you want, hate him all you want, fear him all you want. Whatever. And, by all means, feel free to trash what he says at his rallies. But if you're going to do this, and you're going to do this LOUDLY on a 7:36 train to New York City, at least get your fucking facts right.
You see, I've been to a Barack Obama rally, and I've watched many on TV. The standard ending for his stump speech - and the one he used last night - is "We can change this country, and we can change the world." Not "I'm gonna save the world," like this idiotic woman was shrieking about.
I listened to these people spew their fury some more until finally I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I turned to them and said:
"Ma'am, with all due respect, that's not what he said."
A third guy they had been traveling with immediately whirled around, waved his hand dismissively and growled "Thank you" to me. The woman immediately shushed him, before she and her husband muttered:
"That IS what he said!"
No it wasn't. I'll say it again: crap on the guy all you want. That's your constitutional right, and I would never deprive anyone of that. But, once more, get your fucking facts right!
The tragedy of the McCain campaign has been that they have done NOTHING to stop the vicious, dangerous smears and rumors their conservative base has been peddling amongst one another. They have been enablers to a community of people who really, truly believe that the man who may be the next President is some kind of Muslim/terrorist/communist/anti-Christ/cult leader. They really believe this, and the McCain campaign has done nothing to say, "Hey, you know what? That's not true, and that's dangerous shit to be peddling. Don't say stuff like that."
These people are out there, and Lord knows the Republicans won't do anything to stop this crap. We have to defeat these people - soundly - and put an end to the disgusting ignorance that is threatening to deprive America of this moment. These people are awful, and they have been harming our country. We cannot let them win - or steal a victory - again.
The kicker in all this? After I stepped in, they stopped talking. After a while, they went at it again, albeit much more quietly than before. I still was able to hear a little bit, though, and distinctly remember this one final little sound bite:
"And you know what? It's not all George Bush's fault."
And on that note, I say: God help us all.