Monday, May 07, 2012

The sadness of the Amendment One fight expressed by a three-year-old

The following passage is from a piece in the Huffington Post entitled My Family Was Harassed at the North Carolina Polls. It is written by Aly Windsor, a mother, partner, and writer. It describes what happened when she and her partner - accompanied by their two young children - went to vote early against Amendment One:

Inside the polling location, the atmosphere couldn't have been more different. Everyone we encountered was respectful and kind. One poll worker cooed over our youngest and tickled his feet. We didn't have to wait at all to vote, and the whole process from start to finish took fewer than five minutes.

As we walked toward the exit, we could see the crowd again through the glass doors. The anti-amendment supporters argued with the pro-amendment campaigners. I felt an intense flush of gratitude that these young guys were willing to stand out in the hot sun, unwaveringly weathering the anger of our opponents, to fight for our family's rights and the rights of many others like us.

I hoped we'd be left alone as we walked to our cars, because no amount of shouting was going to change what we'd already done. But no, we reentered the chaos as we exited the building. Again, I thanked the young men for their presence. As we passed the crowd, a woman who looked to be the same age as my mother shouted after us, "Children are already suffering! Vote for!" Her voice was shrill and angry, and she clearly meant to harm us with her words.

Unfortunately, in the moment, she succeeded. Tears pricked my eyes, but I held it together until we got to our cars. Still within view of the crowd and the malevolent woman, my partner and I carefully put our children in their car seats and then hugged before before driving off separately. As I drove away, my tears spilled out. My 3-year-old asked where we were going, and I replied that I didn't know yet. He asked me why I was sad. I told him that the woman who shouted at us hurt my feelings. He told me she wasn't very nice.

I told him he was right. I knew that the woman was wrong not only in how she spoke to us but in what she said. Our children are not suffering. One need only spend a day with us to realize that our children are thriving, happy, and well-loved. They're fortunate to not only have two adoring parents but an assortment of doting grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

It reminds me of  that line at the end of the movie Bridge on the River Kwai uttered by a character who was fortunate enough to live past the scenes of war the movie conveyed, but also unfortunately had front row view of it all:


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1 comment:

Erica Cook said...

This is their fear. Children aren't being hurt. They're terrified to the point where they squelch any and all evidence of how wrong they are. That's why they're threatened by people like Elin.