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Political Curmudgeon Sours The Experience

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.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Saucygirl February 3, 2016, 8:30 am

    The last couple of lines changes the whole tone of the entry for me. It goes from being about a political bigwig who is rude to the people who help him to being about the op expecting favors and praise because she volunteers. And when he doesn’t do it she gets in a snit and calls him snooty.

    • Leah February 3, 2016, 10:29 am

      I was also turned off by the last few lines. Especially when OP said “Mr. XXXX even had the gall to try and harass me into patronizing his favorite charity through various mailings.” It sounds like OP was on a mailing list, which is managed by a staffer. From the description in the post OP didn’t get a chance to say her own name, so how would Mr. XXXX know who she was in order to harass her?

      I definitely get a huge sour grapes vibe from this entire letter. Yes, Mr. XXXX needs to be better behaved when in public, but OP needs to be a bit less entitled in this instance.

    • Becca February 3, 2016, 12:46 pm

      There is a difference in volunteering for a charity event or organization that say helps kids than a political campaign. The candidate is supposed to glad hand and be gracious because they’re your representative. It’s not the same as wanting a pat on the back for helping a non profit 😐

      I don’t think OP wants favors at all, just respect for her dedication to the party and its reps.

      • Saucygirl February 3, 2016, 5:00 pm

        Becca, she says “every other person in this organization has helped me out in some way, from work to gallery passes to tours”. To me, that seems like wanting more than respect

        • Becca February 4, 2016, 1:49 pm

          My reading comprehension is horrid the last few days it seems.

          Thank you, I see it now.


          I also didn’t realize mr dudebro wasn’t the candidate somehow.

      • Wendy February 3, 2016, 7:02 pm

        Except op States this man did not hold any office and wasn’t the candidate.

  • NostalgicGal February 3, 2016, 8:58 am

    Worse than when I lived in a major urban metro and you’d occasionally get one at the bottom of the escalator going from the downtown skyway into the food court trying to shake hands, was moving to where I am now to retire. Our entire county doesn’t matter it seems, the Governor would take a state tour and stop one county before us because they didn’t have time. Finally the local newspaper editor put out a wanted on if anyone sighted the Governor, Lt. Gov, or our national and state reps and senators in our county and offered a bounty. Set complimentary subscriptions to the Governor, Lt. Gov, our national and state reps and senators. Eventually we got the Governor who stood on the courthouse steps for five minutes, shook a few hands, and left, and one national senator and both our state rep and senator finally showed up for the same thing. Shake the hands of the county judge, the county district attorney, the mayor and the county sheriff and leave. [it took between 3 to 5 years to get all these notables to finally visit. The current governor has never visited on their annual visit the state tours] The Parties, will send reps in here to get local rallies going and wonder why they can’t get supporters to show up and milk the area for money… yet our state government lease all the school lands for grazing and keep most of the money-cheesed us the most a few years ago that they cut school funding and kept a million of that money from our county to plant new trees on the capitol grounds with the ‘surplus’.

    OP, too bad Mr. XXXX soured you off. If that was your passion, hope you’ve been able to work around it or put your energy and talent to another cause that can use it and will be more thankful you’re there.

  • lkb February 3, 2016, 9:32 am

    “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’m confused by this comment. Based on the post, it sure sounds like the OP made a reasonable decision. Like it or not, political candidates and parties are going through what amounts to an extended job interview and we, the voters, are the hiring managers. Social skills are part of the qualifications that must be evaluated. If the candidate doesn’t have them, well, he or she will be weeded out.

    I’m glad this was posted today. I have been noting that with the presidential race ramping up, the Facebook political posts have been becoming increasingly nasty from supporters of both major parties. No one has ever changed their minds by reading a post calling their preferred candidate a big mean doody-head, have they? Whatever happened to civilized debates?


    • admin February 3, 2016, 10:07 am

      Mr.XXXX was not the candidate and to judge the candidate, the party and the platform based on the rude actions of one person is rather shortsighted, imo.

      • Devin February 3, 2016, 11:34 am

        Since he is the Big Boss that ‘pulls the political strings’ and this is well known in that region, his actions do directly influence the candidate. Judging the candidate on the people he chooses to politically or financially associate with sounds wise to me. If you know a politician only socializes with rude people with deep pockets, would you expect them to care about the concerns of their less influential constituents?
        I agree however, that the OP shouldn’t have let this person ruin her day if the cause it one she still feels passionate about and it sounds like other people in the organization show her appreciation.

        • Tracy W February 3, 2016, 11:39 pm

          I agree that one should judge a politician on who they associate with, but I like to see a politician who can get along with a variety of people.

          A large part of a politician’s job is building effective coalitions between people who think differently in many ways, such as the leaders of churches, unions, neighbouring towns/states/countries. If a politician only associates with rude people with deep pockets that would be a bad sign, but also a politician who only associates with people who are forever polite and warm might well fall to bits on their first encounter with a hostile negotiation.

          Think of Tony Blair negotiating the Good Friday deal in Northern Ireland. I don’t see how that deal could have happened if Tony Blair couldn’t work with hostile people.

      • Becca February 3, 2016, 12:51 pm

        Oh crud, I got my reading all mixed up. I was reading it as he was in the political race of some sort but now I see it’s just a head honcho of the crew more than anything. Who probably kisses the right bums so nobody who “matters” knows he’s a bad seed to have in charge of the volunteers organization.

      • lkb February 3, 2016, 3:12 pm

        Thanks for clarifying. I somehow did not realize that Mr. XXXXX was not the candidate. However, the OP did state that he was the “big political boss himself.” People make decisions all the time based on how others conduct themselves and it seems Mr. XXXXX did not do his cause any favors by being rude.

    • PJ February 3, 2016, 11:07 am

      “I’m glad this was posted today. I have been noting that with the presidential race ramping up, the Facebook political posts have been becoming increasingly nasty from supporters of both major parties. No one has ever changed their minds by reading a post calling their preferred candidate a big mean doody-head, have they? Whatever happened to civilized debates?”

      Hear, hear!

      • admin February 3, 2016, 11:20 am

        No one wants civilized debates because it is requires intellectual engagement and it is not enough drama to keep people tuned in. People want drama and train wrecks. Ehell had a spin-offsite called CivilizedPolitics.com. It was shut down because there was no activity on it.

        • PJ February 4, 2016, 10:07 am

          I was a lurker on CivilizedPolitics, but not a participant. I thought the idea was excellent, but didn’t get a good vibe from it. There seemed to be a lot of the pre-emptive “here’s what I think and you’re stupid if you disagree… but go ahead and share what you think if you must” attitude.

          I guess it is hard for us as people so used to antagonism to put down out defenses a bit.

          I’m sorry it didn’t work out to be a forum of civilized idea-exchange. It could have been a great place to find common ground and understanding of other viewpoints.

      • Lisa H. February 3, 2016, 11:29 am

        Thank you PJ… I am so tired of the political minutia on FB. Why cant people just stick to posting pictures of their grandkids, dogs and cats.
        Like I am really going to form my political opinion based on what FB has to show me.

        • PJ February 4, 2016, 10:08 am

          I was quoting lkb above– thanks to him/her! 😉

  • JD February 3, 2016, 10:09 am

    I could be way off because this could apply to many states, I’m sure, but “downstate” and TV stations from across the river are making me think Southern Illinois — no need to confirm or deny that, though, OP.
    Like Admin, I’ve been in situations where I clearly didn’t count because my wig wasn’t big enough. I’ve always wondered how people in political life can possibly imagine that they can do this and not affect their chosen candidate or their own candidacy. So very stupid of them.
    I also agree, go ahead and meet the candidates. Some of them probably like the “bosses” no better than you do, but have to work with them to get elected.

    • Becca February 3, 2016, 12:55 pm

      I bet they don’t know the “bosses” are treating others poorly. I bet they are extremely good at being two faced. Which stinks even more.

      That’s the stuff that turns into the mic catching the 47% comments that blow up the airwaves.

    • Beth February 3, 2016, 1:34 pm

      “I’ve always wondered how people in political life can possibly imagine that they can do this and not affect their chosen candidate or their own candidacy. So very stupid of them.”

      I tried to get involved during the 2012 elections and was so very turned off by the people in the local political circles. The lies told to discredit the opponent (and those who worked on his team) were amazing, even if the opponent belonged to the same political party. I stopped helping out of disgust but those people who started the lies and said horrible things have moved up in the local and state party.

  • Jazzgirl205 February 3, 2016, 11:55 am

    On the other hand, I had traveled to Baltimore in September of 2005 and met Martin O’Malley at a very casual evening party. He put on no airs and had no handlers and genuinely listened to what people had to say. When he found out I was from the Gulf Coast and was taking a short break from volunteering post-Katrina, he was anxious to ask me questions about the worst hit areas, what was needed and who he should contact. This was the mayor of a major city who could really help the area. I have never been in a situation to vote for him, but if I were, I would.

    I’m not campaigning. I just thought it would be nice to hear a positive story about a politician.

  • LadyV February 3, 2016, 11:57 am

    I absolutely agree with Jeanne that OP shouldn’t let this one incident sour her on participating in the political process – especially since she appears to have good relationships with other people in the party. Good workers on the local level are the backbone of almost all political campaigns, and it would be sad to lose one because the “honcho” is a jerk.

    But now I really, REALLY want to know who this guy is!

  • stacey February 3, 2016, 12:26 pm

    I had a hard time following the Train of Rude, but it sounded like it was going to Nowheres-Ville on hot air and scorn. Look, there are all kinds of rules for Who is to be preeminent in a given situation insofar as making an introduction, extending a hand and striking up a conversation. I don’t know if any of these perceived standards were violated. One’s personal consequence within a group where personal sweat equity makes one a stakeholder at some level “could” (notice I did not say “did”) skew one’s perception of relative status in a given situation. But for all of the five seconds or so of time that elapsed here… it sounds a bit overblown. If you’re in it for the mission, this stuff won’t tank your attitude. If you’re feeling a bit stressed and undervalued- perhaps a break is needed or a reassessment of what exactly the “mission” is that’s driving involvement.

    • Ulla February 4, 2016, 2:39 am

      Refusing to shake hand and greet a person who is politely greeting you (in a public situation where both of you are working, not a “paparazzi”-situation where somebody has broken your privacy and tries to approach you then) is quite huge slap in the face, and in my opinion extremely rude. I think the rudeness starts exactly on the moment when you start thinking that basic human courtesy can be passed because of “relative status in the situation”. Being “bigwig” does not make you more important human. And if the bigwigs in your mission seem to think so, well, I think it’s time to consider if they are fit to steer your mission and if you want to give them helping hand in that.

      • Lerah99 February 4, 2016, 2:33 pm

        Refusing to shake hands because you are about to eat is reasonable.

        Especially at these sorts of events where the food is often things like chips and sandwiches that you will be eating with your hands.

        He didn’t say anything mean to her. He bit his lip and directed her that the line was moving.

        All he did was not take her up on her offer to shake hands right before they were both about to use said hands for eating.

        • Ulla February 5, 2016, 3:09 am

          You don’t need to say anything mean to be rude. Snorting and refusing to answer greeting (or responding with said snort) is plenty enough.

          If he had qualms about shaking hands before eating, it would have been fine to say so “Nice to meet you too. Maybe it’s best we don’t shake hands just before eating. Well, look at that, now they are ready to serve the food!” You know, like a normal courteous person. Throw in “thank you for volunteering” and you have done a service to your cause because now you have happy volunteer who will work even more in the future.

          But snorting, staring and commenting “Are you hungry or not” as a response to a greeting. I don’t see much to defend there.

          • Kate February 5, 2016, 12:20 pm

            I agree that “Are you hungry or not” was a little rude, but it doesn’t seem appropriate to me to introduce yourself to someone and try to shake hands in a food line in a busy place. I know they were waiting in line and the servers hadn’t started yet, but as OP herself admitted, she was so occupied talking to the Big Boss that she didn’t notice food service had started behind her, and that she was holding everyone up!

            She says people seemed embarrassed by the Big Boss’ behavior, but that is just her opinion. If I was one of the people in line behind her, I would have been embarrassed by her behavior!

            In addition, people like the Big Boss, celebrities, politicians, etc. get bombarded with introductions, photo requests, political rants, and so on, all the time! While eating, while with their families, is it any wonder that just as he was about to get food and sit down after a very long day, (I know, OP might have had one too) he was a little short with a total stranger preventing him from getting that?

            As well, we don’t know why the Big Boss “snorted”. I actually have three different chronic sinus/ear conditions that make breathing through my nose difficult to impossible for me on different days. Sometimes when I am struggling to breathe it is a little loud, and sounds like a snort. I try extremely hard not to do this in public, but I can’t run to the bathroom every 15 minutes, and I can’t hide in my house all day long.

            We don’t know if the Big Boss was “snorting” at the OP, of if he has a medical condition, a cold, or who knows what. I don’t think we should assume the worst.

  • Cat February 3, 2016, 12:43 pm

    I have to admit I was holding my breath because I was thinking Mr. Big Shot Behind the Scenes was going to pinch your backside and do the standard, “Come up to my hotel room Sweet Cheeks, and we’ll discuss the campaign. Want to see my etchings?”At least he spared you that.
    Johnny Depp has commented that some of the famous people he once most admired turned out to be discourteous and rude when he finally met them. I believe that is true in politics as well as in the arts. Most idols have feet of clay.

  • Dee February 3, 2016, 1:08 pm

    Mr. XXXXX was harassing OP with mailings, trying to get him/her to donate, but was unwilling to even acknowledge OP’s existing in person; so why didn’t OP call Mr. XXXXX’s office, asking to speak to him/leave a message about his conduct and gall with the mailings? This is why free speech is called “free”; because you’re free to speak and it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s the most powerful thing on this planet and yet OP chooses to remain silent to the offender but spout off to strangers. I’m confused about that choice and about letting one horrible man deter OP from an activity she/he seems to consider worthwhile and fulfilling. If OP is serious about politics for the right reasons (to uphold the rights of others, to advance truth and freedom, etc.) then his/her actions are bizarre because they show the opposite. It’s weird to see someone so politically-minded who does not actually want to exercise his/her political rights.

    • LonelyHound February 4, 2016, 11:46 am

      Dee, I gathered from their interaction that all OP said was hello, he/she was honored, and extended her hand. No names passed between them, other than Mr. XXXX. Even if he/she was wearing a name tag it is doubtful with all both of them needed to do that Mr. XXXX would remember it. As an unaffiliated voter I get tons of junk mail for rallies and general primary meet and greets. None of them are harassing me. They see an unaffiliated voter and want to get me to their side. If OP is on the mailing list for events and whatnot it is completely reasonable that he/she would receiving mailings about donations, especially since she/he is an active party member. He/She is receiving mailing as a normal course of the political process, not harassment. And he/she is well within her rights to call them up and get removed from the listings.

      • Dee February 5, 2016, 1:18 am

        LonelyHound – The OP says Mr. XXXXX was harassing him/her with the mailings. I don’t know what standard the OP has for what constitutes harassment and what is just junk mail but Mr. XXXXX didn’t want to even accept a greeting from OP but still wants him/her to donate. Sounds like a lot of gall to me. Personally, if I receive ANY junk mail I feel harassed, and if I request it to stop and it does not I feel it is open season on the sender, as in I will definitely give them a piece of my mind. There is no excuse for repeated unsolicited requests. It’s rude whether it happens via mail, telephone, in person, or whatever. But the OP really needed to make his/her voice heard to Mr. XXXXX, if only because free speech is so precious it should be exercised whenever it is warranted, if possible.

    • Devin February 4, 2016, 3:29 pm

      I once left a rather long email to a State Senator via their website explaining as a constituent why I would no longer be voting for them. At the end of the email form there were check boxes “Would you like to be contacted in regards to your message” No, “Would you like to be added to Senators mailing list” No. It still took me 3 months to get off their mailing list asking for support, donations, or updates on the Senator. Even if your email was OPVolunteer@youdidntshakemyhand.com, the emails were being sent out to a mailing list of 1000s of contacts. OP, you weren’t being harassed, you were being spammed.

  • Ernie February 3, 2016, 1:11 pm

    This post reminds me of the one from a few days ago, where someone’s friend soured on a celebrity because they didn’t get a hug.

    People can be sour, have a bad day, deep in thought, whatever. Not every interaction can go the way that you want it to.

    • Kheldarson February 3, 2016, 7:30 pm

      While it’s true he might have been having a bad day, this was a political rally that it sounds like he’s in charge of. He’s the employee, if you will. Or the manager. If the employee or manager of a store made you feel belittled, you wold complain and stop shopping there, right? Same thing here. He visibly represents his party. He has to behave at party functions.

      • Tracy W February 4, 2016, 12:01 am

        But presumably you support a candidate because you think their policies and personal skills are the best for your town/state/country. In my experience, it’s very rare to have more than one candidate who I both think highly of their policies and their political competence (it’s far more common to not like any of the potential candidate.) It’s not like shopping where there are lots of alternative grocery stores.

        And who you vote for affects far more than you. If OP thought that the candidate, say, would run schools slightly better than the other candidates, then people withdrawing because they don’t like Mr XXXX’s behaviour are harming kids’ education. Political activity is not just about our own feelings, it affects everyone.

        Plus the staff serving at a store have one job to do, dealing with customers. The staff on a political campaign do a lot of different jobs. Mr XXXX might be lousy at dealing with volunteers but awesome at managing budgets and enforcing contracts and thus a very valuable team member. I’m reminded of my mother, an ex-teacher, saying that the person to put in charge of a school gear locker is someone so scary that people will travel 6 hours back to retrieve some forgotten gear rather than face up without it. A political campaign is not like a grocery store.

    • Ulla February 4, 2016, 2:46 am

      Totally different situation, for several reasons. First being, hug is intimate act while handshaking and greeting other person is basic courtesy. I bet Ehell’s view of the celebrity post you are refering would be totally different if the celebrity would have refused to greet her nanny at all.

      You can have a bad day, but greeting someone who is basically your coworker is not too much to ask. BigWig was working there, as was OP. More importantly, OP was doing free work for them, so they got valuable contribution from OP and still she didn’t get even a normal greeting.

      • shhh its me February 4, 2016, 1:33 pm

        I don;t think a handshake and hug ere comparable. I even think there a appropriate alternatives to handshakes. So I agree MR. XXXXX was very rude.

        On the other I’m with the other posters who say the last paragraph dramatically changed the entire tone, to the point that the hyperbole and implied conclusions seem downright paranoid* make me wonder about the LW perceptions about the original offense. I’m reading it , right ? LW is saying because she had the audacity to introduce herself to a BigWig (standing behid her in line) she is no longer invited to any rallys or fundraiser? BTW considering she has apparently gone years without meeting him previously , that’s saying he was so offended he banned her from events he wouldn’t even be at. I don’t know what OP meant but thats just part of what was implied.

        * I should note that I am not calling LW paranoid , I’m saying that paragraph was inflammatory. I don’t know if OP included something superfluous not intending to have it attributed to Mr BigWig.

        I will also say that letting one person and 5 minutes sour you on a years long passion (which apparently provided you with hundreds if not thousands of positive interaction) , is an overreaction. Leaving early because you were so upset I understand but its unfortunate you didn’t get to met your candidate as you were looking forward to.

        • Ulla February 5, 2016, 3:20 am

          I don’t see OP meaning or implying that she is not invited to the rallys (maybe I’m missing something). I read it so that OP is not in the rallies and such like not because she is banned but because she herself does not want to gift her time to a group where the bigjobs don’t even bother to greet the volunteering people.

          The email thing, I’m not sure how to read it. I guess that OP knows it’s mailing list, but it’s still kind of spit in the eye, even if it’s only email sent to everybody and not directed only to OP. You know, “Oh, the big boss is perfectly happy to shake us lowly peasants for money, but god forbid if you try to greet the big boss he will only snort at you.”

          • shhh its me February 5, 2016, 7:51 pm

            LW said “For some reason the fundraiser and rally invites have all but stopped too. Hmmm”

            I read that as I told you my story now I leave it to you to figure out the “mysterious” reason I am not invited to rallies and fundraiser.

  • Tracy W February 3, 2016, 1:37 pm

    Mr XXXX was rude and I can see why the OP was terribly embarrassed. It sounds like there’s good reason why Mr XXXX has never held public office.

    That said, it sounds like he was a rarity in the organisation, and a politician who knows how to work effectively with bad-mannered people has a useful skill.

    Also it’s entirely possible that something else was going on in Mr XXXX’s life just then, thus his reaction. Still rude but it may be a reflection of circumstance, not basic personality. (You know, the thing by which if you’re grumpy it’s because it was too hot to sleep last night and your car didn’t start and the kids were fighting, and anyone would be grumpy then, but if your co-worker Ted is grumpy then it’s because he’s a grumpy person.)

  • Lisa February 3, 2016, 2:08 pm

    A decade ago, I was sent to cover a meeting of people with disabilities who were to speak with a very high level state politician. He showed up two hours late, gave a campaign speech rather than discuss their particular concerns with them, and seemed annoyed when they asked questions after his speech.

    Unfortunately, other than one primary challenge, he’s run unopposed. I leave that spot on the ballot blank.

  • crescentgaia February 3, 2016, 3:38 pm

    As someone who volunteered for the political party that the OP is describing, the perks given are on the normal side, really. I volunteered a lot in 2008 and I was offered various different jobs and perks due to working 12 hour days from June to Election Day with only a week off (Convention Week and I was offered tickets to go for free [only needed to cover hotel room as they would get me there too] but I wanted some mental time off). That’s just to the people who think the last lines are putting a dollar amount on volunteering. It’s more the party wanting to make sure that you feel valued so you will come back to volunteer more. I would have taken them up on a job or two but I was so burned out by the end that I said thanks but no thanks. It wasn’t my passion. 🙂

    As for the rest… Mr XXX should have known better. You do not look down on someone like that. It’s possible that he cost the candidate the campaign considering how he acted towards people who wanted to support the candidate. He’s just downright rude and I completely understand why the OP was turned off from volunteering. I would have gone home if I was treated like that by someone who was probably close to the candidate because, really, if I’m not worth your time, you’re not worth mine. Everyone needs to be careful about who you offend, from the lowly volunteer to the candidate him/herself.

    • Tracy W February 4, 2016, 12:08 am

      But politics isn’t about any single person.
      There are plenty of lovely polite charismatic people who are totally ineffectual. Or who happen to have values so different to mine that I hope they’re totally ineffective. 🙂 I’d rather have a sometimes rude politician who mostly agrees with me and is good at getting things done over someone who’s main merit is politeness.

      And, to be blunt, beyond the most local level of politics a politician does have to value their time more highly than those of everyone who would like to meet them. The mayor of a city of two million people can’t meet with them all individually whenever they like, and also do things like keep on top of the budget and schools and transport, let alone someone like Barrack Obama.

      • crescentgaia February 4, 2016, 3:27 pm

        Which would be valid if we were speaking about the candidate. I am speaking about Mr XXX who wasn’t running but was more than likely a supporter of the candidate. The candidate should keep on top of who is supporting them, especially when it’s a bigger donor, and how they’re going to sour the smaller donors who give time instead of money. And, if not the candidate, then they should have people who keep an eye on the bigger donors and might have smoothed things over. Otherwise I completely agree with you.

        • Tracy W February 5, 2016, 12:06 am

          As was I. Beyond the most local levels, a politicial candidate needs an effective team supporting them as there’s just too much to do single-handed.

          As for a political candidate managing to keep on top of who is supporting them, or have someone do so, I think you overestimate how much resources and competent people most politicians have. I have yet to work in a single organisation where no one is ever rude.

          I think being involved in political campaigns is like being in business – you need to accept that occasionally you are going to run into people who are not perfect and keep on going. But the stakes in politics are higher: if the OP had walked away from a business relationship she might have lost some money, but if the political candidate lost because OP walked away then OP’s home presumably got a worse leader (by OP’s values) and everyone would suffer. Say the political candidate would have improved local schools so much that 1000 more kids would have learnt to read – that stake is surely worth a bit of tolerance from OP.

          Basically, politics is always going to be imperfect, so it’s harmful to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • ALM February 3, 2016, 7:49 pm

    Has the OP considered that if this person is such a political bigwig, he already knew his candidate had probably lost (exit polls and such) and was probably grouchy for that reason?

    Just because he’s important doesn’t mean he doesn’t get upset, have other things on his mind, or work very hard for political goals (probably harder than the OP does). And the OP was standing in the way of the food.

    Sure, he could have been nicer (like anyone), but the OP really seems to have an even more inflated view of their own importance. (Taking being put on a mailing list as a personal insult screams narcissism to me).

  • Margaret February 3, 2016, 11:18 pm

    OP wanted to shake hands with a stranger while in line for food! I HATE shaking hands and I especially will refuse to shake hands while I am eating. I was in the middle of a meal once when someone tried to shake hands at a potluck and I thought it was incredibly thoughtless of him to put me in that awkward situation. He was irritated with me when I declined to shake hands because I was eating and was super aggressive about it. Mr. X could have handled it better but I do think it is rude to try to shake hands with someone while food is being served or about to be served in this case.

  • NostalgicGal February 4, 2016, 1:23 am

    I used to make and sell high end costume jewelry. Some of my clientele could have made Mr. XXXX look like a saint, but I had to smile anyways and slave to make their custom stuff. We used to sell pond plants on the weekends (we could afford pizza of that) and we had what could have been Mr. XXXX’s evil twin show up, all important with cigar and cellphone. I still treated him nicely, politely, potted his lilies and loaded his vehicle. When he left my DH said how could you STAND that (deleted) yet alone be nice? I said you haven’t met some of my clients. The Mr. XXXX’s of the world don’t do who they work for any favors, and sorry OP, but you probably weren’t the only one that was negatively impacted by this representative/employee/deep pocket buddy of (candidate). The lining of a pocket can make strange bedfellows.

    As for mailing lists, they are often generated by computer for an area out of registered voter lists who have an affiliation with a party listed. I have never been near nor had any interest in several of the current candidates yet I landed on one’s mailing list to extoll and beg why I should send (candidate) money. They wanted a thousand, they could need a hundred, would I at least spare $35? After several of these (they went from weekly to every few days to every day) I wrote them back a very nice note about being in that really poor place between some aid and really being able to afford to live, I have been saddled with a ‘tax’ that does me no good (Obamacare, all I can afford is basically catastrophic so between the premiums and the deductible they’re literally tying up a quarter of my income…. I pay cash for my treatment because I can’t make the deductible, so it’s more like a third of my income) so hey, why don’t you send ME at least $35, 100 would be nicer and I could really USE a thousand? Then said take me off every list you have and don’t contact me again, ever. They apparently did…..

  • lakey February 4, 2016, 1:38 am

    There are people who really like talking to strangers, and are comfortable in these situations, and people who are not. It’s possible that this guy works behind the scenes because he is one of those people who is uncomfortable chatting with strangers. I can be that way myself. I may sometimes come across as unfriendly or stuck up, when I just feel awkward talking to strangers.

  • Just4Kicks February 4, 2016, 7:55 am

    I was talking to my two middle school age kids last night, and asked them if they are learning about the election.
    Nope. Not allowed to.
    Why on earth not?!?
    You’ve got history, current events, ethics, and even math rolled up in one great ball.
    Apparently, some of the teachers are injecting their own personal politics into the classrooms.
    “Hilary Clinton is going to send this country straight into hell!!!”
    “Donald Trump wouldn’t know good politics if it jumped up and bit him!!!”
    I agree that while each teacher is certainly allowed their own opinion, they shouldn’t be speaking about them to the students.
    How about a fake election, with made up candidates, each with different agendas, to which the kids get to cast their votes and see who “won”???

    • NostalgicGal February 4, 2016, 8:25 pm

      We did that in First Grade, we still had Lyndon B Johnson for Prez and we had a simple explanation of what was going on, the two top candidates, the names of the parties and how the election process worked. Simple enough for all of us to understand. And on Election Day too. Then we got ballots (mimeographed) with the top couple of candidates and a write in your own line. And got to put them in the ‘ballot box’ with a hole in the top and the teacher put the names on the board and lines (and hash marks) for each one. We voted the way the nation went, btw, Richard Nixon won in our first grade class.

      1992 election, where my DH worked, had two colleagues from China office over for six months. DH had to work with them and they became friends. We had the election campaigning going and the primary was coming up. They came over and on a side table I had a huge yellow fold out sample ballot and a few stacks of election materials from various candidates or about various issues that had been mailed to us or hung on the doorknob. They asked what that was, so I opened up the ballot and showed them. The election commission provided the ballots because there were often many ballot issues and you could get confused, so you could decide before you went to the poll and mark your sample to follow. Well, how did I decide it. I showed them the pile of pamphlets, papers, postcards, etc, and said I had been provided with all this in the past month plus TV ads and newspaper stuff, and I was still sorting out how I felt about some of the candidates. No, nobody TOLD me what to do, this was my right, and I could vote any way I seen fit. Next door to me was a precinct judge and I asked a major favor, and on primary day I took the two with me to the polling place, I had to sign and be marked off, but they issued them two ballots and they got to go actually mark a ballot. Then bring it in sleeve to the machine. Theirs were invalidated because they were not registered to vote, but they got to watch me carry my own ballot and put it in the machine myself to have it counted. And the exclusion zone and just totally different from anything they’d ever seen. They were not going to be in the country for our fall election, but they told us all the differences in when THEY had an ‘election’ over there, and they had never seen a ‘free’ democratic election before.

      Teachers may have opinions but it is a right that has been earned and upheld in this country, and the right to vote can be taught without having to delve into the ugly of the present election. As I said, if my first grade teacher could go through the basics, and make 6 year olds understand the important parts, surely middle school teachers can too. She didn’t have to go through party politics or the fine points of the issues to teach it.

      • Just4Kicks February 5, 2016, 6:09 am

        I absolutely agree with you.
        The kid’s teachers have every right to vote for who they want to.
        The objection I had to it, and admittedly (not trying to start a debate here) agree with the one teachers Trump statement, and disagree with the Hilary one from my daughter’s teacher.
        I like to think I’m a fairly intelligent woman, but some of the caucus and other aspects of the election still confuse me, and I’m in my 40’s.
        Teaching the students what all goes into electing the President should be taught, in my opinion, as the age for my kids to vote is right around the corner.

        • NostalgicGal February 5, 2016, 12:22 pm

          A required in our high school to graduate, was called POD, Problems Of Democracy, and it was to teach young adults their rights and privileges, about voting, about the Constitution and the Amendments, how to prepare taxes, how the national government worked, and how to join the world as a US citizen. You could test out of it, and I was the first one to do so. I opted to take the class anyways, and some of it was important. We stayed out of current mudflinging politics other than to discuss why certain tactics were often done. The primary and county and city had elections that spring and those of us that were 18, came in to vote for the first time.

          • Just4Kicks February 6, 2016, 7:35 am

            Our oldest son can vote this year, we have had some great discussions, as we are opposite sides of the Republican/Democrat debate.

          • NostalgicGal February 6, 2016, 3:36 pm

            @Just4Kicks, I chuckle. It is good that you two can still respect each other even if you’re not on the same side of the fence.

            The only real issue of politics or state and the church, was we had a very devout pacifist Baptist 6th grade teacher and she would write scripture on the blackboard, a new one each morning, in one corner, and she had us take a moment to PRAY before the class started. (after we said the pledge of allegiance to the flag in the corner-and we still had ‘under God’ in the pledge, I don’t know if they removed that in later years…) This lasted about a week, as some of us told parents, and the superintendent came by one morning and peeked in at her door at the board. Next week, no more scripture on the board, and we had a moment of silence after the pledge. You could pray if you wanted apparently but we had to sit quietly for a short bit. (the year I was in that grade was her first year at our school).

  • Negative Nelly February 4, 2016, 8:11 am

    I do love reading this site, but it’s kind of a slap in the face every time people are given advice not to be upset by upsetting situations. It’s reasonable for OP to reflect on the situation and get some perspective in the days after. But it’s also perfectly reasonable that in the moment, OP didn’t want to continue socializing the same way after getting a rather humiliating reaction once. Some people don’t “let” their negative emotions ruin their good times – we just feel them uncontrollably, and I’ve always had better luck accepting that things are going poorly than trying to slap on a happy mask, pretending nothing’s wrong, and melting down worse for trying not to.

    • Lerah99 February 4, 2016, 1:21 pm

      Part of getting along in society as an adult is realizing you can’t control how others behave.
      All you can control is your reaction.

      So when people give advice of “Try not being so upset” what they mean is “Life is too short to be a delicate flower. Don’t let the jerks out there make you unhappy.”

      Because you DO have some control over how you react to things. You may feel bad, but you then CHOOSE to let those feelings ruin your entire experience or not.

      • Just4Kicks February 5, 2016, 6:13 am

        Lerah 99: You hit the nail on the head with your comment.
        I tell my kids that while you cannot control others actions/comments, YOU have the power to control how you react.
        That’s easier said than done some days, some people are just jerks sometimes, you can let it ruin your day, or you can ignore them.

  • mark2 February 4, 2016, 9:18 am

    Well, this post makes me sad. The op was treated poorly and there’s no excuse for that.

    BUT….I will say that I think you have an unhealthy attitude towards “celebrities ” op. You swooned over the news reporter and gushed over this bad guy in the line. Why? They are just people too and are not better than you. If you go into something and put these people on pedestals, they will fall because they are just humans. Lower your ideas of who these people are.

  • Lerah99 February 4, 2016, 11:59 am

    I second the person who said maybe he didn’t want to shake hands because you were in line to get food.

    If I’m in line to get food, I washed my hands right before I got into that line.
    Maybe it makes me too finicky, but I would NOT shake hands with a stranger in that line.
    I’m about to eat with my hands. I’m not a fan of being sick.

    So maybe that’s why he was awkward, bit his lip, and then just gestured to let you know the line started.
    Maybe he was thinking “Ummmm, no hand shakes before eating. I can’t afford to be down with the flu this close to the election.”

  • BagLady February 4, 2016, 9:59 pm

    If you are in politics — whether as a candidate or a party bigwig — you need to be nice to the little people. Period. Especially the “little people” who do the grunt work on campaigns. Politics is sales, and one rude “salesperson” can negatively affect the entire operation, because people talk. How many threads have we had here on EHell where people swore off doing business with a particular company because one person treated them poorly?

    To me it’s not a big deal that Mr. XXXXX refused to shake OP’s hand. It was
    his withering look and his sarcastic mini-nag about holding up the line. Even if he didn’t want to shake hands because food, he could have smiled, said thank you and given her a white lie about the handshake thing. (“Sorry, I’m getting over a cold and don’t want to pass my germs around in the food line.”)

    In the OP’s case, her candidate lost, and the presidential primary was decided, so it’s not as if her swearing off future volunteering would hurt the future prospects of a candidate she supported. My answer might be different if it did. I happen to be very passionate about “my” candidate in this year’s U.S. presidential race. If some local party bigwig treated me rudely, I hope I could either suck it up and continue my work for the candidate, or find some way to work for my candidate that didn’t involve interacting with local bigwig.

    • Tracy W February 7, 2016, 1:21 pm

      If you are in politics, be that as a paid person or a volunteer, you should accept that not everyone is going to be perfect and that from time to time you’re going to be working with people who are rude. Because effective politicians build coalitions across large groups of people.

      And seriously, presumably OP was working for this candidate because she thought he was going to make a real difference as a politician. If you switch grocery stores that just affects you. If you dump a political campaign because you don’t like one person – not even the candidate – that can affect everyone.

  • Just4Kicks February 5, 2016, 3:25 pm

    I would hazard a guess to say if you’re a germ a phobe, or just don’t like shaking peoples hands, running for a political office is not for you.
    Personally, if I’m dedicating my time to volunteer, and you won’t shake my hand….Well, I would take offense to that.

    • Tracy W February 7, 2016, 1:29 pm

      It’s kind of a shame isn’t it? A germphobe or someone who doesn’t like shaking hands might still be a great leader in many other ways, but in a democracy they’re not going to get there. (A good politician I think should always be interested in the people they’ll be representing, and what they think, that’s a fundamental part of the job.)

      But Mr XXXX is not a candidate. And OP allowed this one rude person to turn her off someone she presumably thought was the best viable candidate for that role, quite possibly harming many people who could have benefitted from the candidate’s skills. Very self-centered of her.

  • stacey February 6, 2016, 10:20 pm

    It’s always interesting and enlightening to read the diverse perspectives expressed on this site: it reminds me that wholly reasonable people can experience what is essentially the same situation from very different vantage points. I don’t know that this story has a clear moral- but a plausible one might be “don’t fill in the narrative for someone else, their experience of the same set of circumstances isn’t necessarily going to look like yours”. Okay, that’s not very precise. Perhaps another person would like to take a stab at articulating a moral here…

    • Kate February 10, 2016, 6:41 pm

      I feel like your moral is great! It is exactly what I was trying to say above. To me it feels like the OP and other commenters are making a mountain out of a mole hill and assuming the worst. I wonder what the Big Boss would have to say about that encounter, especially because of the two things I mentioned in my above post, the snort and the OP holding up the line.

      I was reminded recently that we never, ever know what is going on in someone else’s life, mentally, physically, emotionally, or financially. We should always assume the best of people because of this, I think. We can only “interpret” so much, but we can never really now what one snort, one sentence means, what the intentions of person snorting or speaking are.