I’ve kept this particular submission in the “hold” folder for quite some time while I pondered whether to include the real name of the alleged offender or edit it out. I finally decided to edit it out.
I am very politically active in my local area; I have previously done door-to-door volunteer work for the municipal-level party, as well as some phone banking at county HQ, and I receive many invitations to rallies, committee meetings with bigwigs, and so on and so forth. In 2008, as the infamous presidential primaries were starting to wind down, I was invited to a rally at the county’s party headquarters in honor of my Congressman (who is a gentleman and a warrior) and his primary Senate run, which coincided with the day of the final presidential primaries.
I put on my best casual clothes, tied my hair back, and drove to HQ. All the TV stations from across the river had sent their vans to HQ, and they were milling about interviewing people and people watching. Most of the people present were dressed ranging from street clothes to business casual, excepting mayors, assemblypeople, state senators, committee members, and other elected and/or party officials, who were in their suits, and, where necessary, ties. I met local news anchor and got my photograph taken with her; she was incredibly nice and good humored. We talked for a few moments and shook hands before she went back to her job. One of the volunteers informed all of us that there would be food served in an outdoors pavilion within the next ten minutes, and that the actual rally would start a little later afterward. I didn’t expect catering beyond the soda, wine, and cold cuts I’d previously enjoyed at other functions, so I got in line.
And who was behind me in line? Nobody but the big political boss himself. This man, while having no office himself, elected or appointed, pulls many of the political strings in the region, and having him behind me was, to say the very least, intimidating. The food service wasn’t open yet, so I looked up at him and gave him a sheepish smile, extending my hand.
“Hello Mr. XXXXX, it’s an incredible honor to meet you.”
He gave me a look that was a cross between catching me keying his car and not being impressed, and didn’t bother raising a finger in return. I swear I could have heard him snort. He then chewed his bottom lip slightly as though I had committed some unforgivable sin. Apparently in the moment this all occurred, food service had started, when I heard him cough the following.
“Well, are you hungry or not?”
Initially, I was embarrassed at my unwittingly holding up the line, but when I turned around to face the food service volunteers, they were as mortified as I was. Mr. XXXX did not intimidate me anymore, but for all the wrong reasons. He made some patronizing small talk about the food selection but I simply nodded in reply, dished up my share, and then sat as far away from him as possible, which admittedly wasn’t too difficult. He sat at another table surrounded by two or three other men similar in age, apparently wanting to keep other commoners away from his sphere of presence. Oh the horror.
Ultimately, my Congressman lost his bid for the Senate primary, though all present were relieved the presidential primary battle was finally concluded. As soon as the losing news hit, I didn’t even stay to meet my Congressman (I had not met him at the time), as the sour taste in my mouth from my earlier encounter with Mr. XXXX lingered, so I went home.
Safe to say though, since that incident at HQ, I haven’t been back to HQ for anything but sign collection and/or return. Mr. XXXXX even had the gall to try and harass me into patronizing his favorite charity through various mailings. For some reason the fundraiser and rally invites have all but stopped too. Hmm. At least his brother and everyone else in this party doesn’t view me as a lowly peasant. Every other person in this organization has helped me out in some way, from work on Election Day to Senate gallery passes and a tour of the Capitol for me and my mother, but not the boss man. What a snooty grouch. Our party’s emblem may be a jackass, but its downstate leader sure is a horse’s you know what. 0108-11
My opinion on the situation is that the OP allowed the actions of one person to negatively affect her perspective on her political party and her favorite candidates and even her enjoyment of volunteering. Just because Mr. XXXX was an inhospitable curmudgeon shouldn’t have deterred her from introducing herself to the candidate. I do, however, relate to feeling marginalized politically when I attended a fundraising BBQ for a candidate running for the US Senate. I should note that this was the first political fundraiser event I have ever attended and probably my last. My perception was that unless I was a big dollar donor, my value to the candidate was low and therefore my thoughts on certain issues were not worth spending the time to hear. He did not win election to the office he was running for.