While the polls ebb and flow and some days Governor Mitt Romney is up, and some days, President Obama climbs, I’ve started to get an increasingly positive feeling that Romney will be elected to the presidency. With his performance in the recent debates (buoyed especially by VP nominee Paul Ryan debating Joe Biden), Romney has begun to really crystallize in the minds of the American people as a true alternative to the Obama administration. Romney has begun to rise in the polls in swing states, and even in states that are solid blue. It seems that after the Obama frenzy of 2008, people have made a 180 degree turn, and turned back to the Conservatism.
I have started seeing more and more Romney/Ryan bumper stickers on cars, and yard signs all over Houston during my daily drives. An even more heartening sign of the turnaround from 2008 is that the presence of Obama bumper stickers and yard signs is vastly diminished. I remember late in 2008 when it started to seem as if the election of Obama was inevitable. At the time, I realized it too, but it pained me deeply to have to admit it. It seemed as if every other car had the ubiquitous “O” logo on the back, and that every other sign in a yard was for Obama. In fact, in my neighborhood, my yard was the only one with a McCain / Palin sign. In my drives around Houston at that time, I don’t even remember seeing another home with a McCain sign out front, and the number of cars with stickers was miniscule.
Such, happily is not the case now. More and more, I’ve begun seeing cars and yards proudly announcing a Romney supporter. I’ve even seen homes with signs in some of the most left-leaning parts of town – parts of town where having a GOP sign in 2008 could have caused trouble for the homeowner with his neighbors.
I think the American people have grown tired of the Obama Administration. I think they thought that by electing him four years ago, things would improve – the economy would come back, just like it has before, jobs would come back, just as they have before, things would just get better. And things (in many ways) have stayed the same, or have sadly gotten worse. People still don’t want to blame Obama – many still blame policies of the Bush Administration – but they do hold him responsible. In many ways it has become a situation where the people feel that the president was hired to do a job, and just hasn’t performed. Now they’ve decided to hire someone else.
A startling case in point – a true story, this happened to me yesterday. I was on my way to a lecture at a university. I had some time, so I stopped at a café to grab something to eat for lunch. As I was pulling into the parking lot, a black woman walking past looked up and stared at the back of my truck. This is what is on the back of my truck:
Her gaze followed me until I parked, and then she stood there on the sidewalk, with her hands on her hips, seemingly waiting for me. I had been watching her in my rear view mirror as she was watching me. As I got out of the truck, I turned and started walking toward the front door of the restaurant, and she took a couple of steps towards me. I prepared for a confrontation. I assumed that she would stick to Liberal dogma and accuse me of being an evil, bigoted Republican, conspiring with sinister forces to sabotage Obama’s presidency (and here, I assumed a racial / political motivation for protecting Obama). But what happened next shook me to the core and warmed my heart.
She said (quite loudly), “Are you a Republican?”
“…Yes,” I replied, not really sure where she was going with this conversation.
“Where can I sign up?” she said, flooring me.
For the next 30 minutes, I spoke with Kathy B., a woman who identified herself as a lifelong Democrat, about her thoughts on the state of the country and the upcoming election. I can’t remember verbatim everything she said, but these are the things that stuck with me the most:
“I’ve been voting Democrat ever since I could vote. I voted for Obama too. I thought he would do good. I was wrong, wrong, wrong.” She said this with sadness, and regret – not with anger or recrimination.
“Some of my family won’t talk to me anymore. Some of my friends won’t talk with me anymore. They say to me – ‘You know he can’t fix everything all at once, these things take time. We’ve got to give him more time.’ When I say he had four years, and black unemployment is still double what it is for everyone else, they say – ‘We have to support him, because if we don’t it will be like we turned our backs on him.’ I say we turned our backs on ourselves.” She is frustrated, knowing that the reasoning used in her community to support Obama has led to no improvement, and even worsened their condition.
“My pastor talks every Sunday about sin, and being righteous,” she says. “He talks about murder, he talks about lying and stealing, he talks about abortion, he talks about boys going out and having babies with girls but not getting married. But when I tell him, ‘Pastor, you preach against all this but you tell us we have to support Obama?’ he says ‘We gotta back our own’. That’s too much for me.”
After talking for a while, I gave her the address and phone number of the Harris County GOP, as well as my email address. She said she would go right away to get involved. “I’m tired of waiting,” she said.
It was the closest experience I’ve ever had to evangelizing. And I got a convert on my first try.
There is Hope. America will win.