An early autumn New England Friday. It’s still mild and the seasonal burst of colors is as slow as the Red Sox bats this year. It’s calm but you know it’s just a matter of time. We’re six weeks away from the storm better known as Election Day — local, state and, of course, national. Leaf peepers will be outnumbered by pollsters and campaign activists.
In our town, a solitary figure captures our eyes in the center of the quiet, little burgh. You might almost miss him in the traffic around our only traffic light. A quick glance as I drove by prompted me to pull over and meet the chap. His negative Trump sign was very much a surprise given how the political wind blows around our valley. He was a local curiosity to say the least. During our brief conversation, I learned the Trump dissident was 70, a long time Democrat and a local, retired businessman who’s disenchanted with the state of our nation and the political persuasion of his neighbors. He’s muted his brains to the steady flow of Oval Office diatribes and the non questioning acceptance by many of the valley’s populace. I eyed the traffic as our conversation continued. They answered my question before I asked.
“I get many folks honking their horns in support”, the sign holder told me. “Matter of fact, most folks are respectful as they drive by. Even the cars with Trump stickers wave at me. Professional courtesy, I guess”. He turned to get a closer look, size me up, I guess. “The only people who are nasty and rude? White guys! White guys! They go out of their way to give me the finger and yell unpleasant things”. He just shook his head. I nodded, indicating I wasn’t surprised.
I swapped a few personal things, including my past professional life as a TV news reporter. I told him I’d been through myriad political campaigns but nothing to compare with this year and this incumbent. We both shook our heads. I told him I wrote pieces for my wife’s blog and wanted to write something about him. I could see the curve of a smile beneath the edges of his mask. We exchanged a few more thoughts about our town and all those folks who saw the White House squatter as a hero and the victim of a lying news media. “I’m one of those enemies of the people”, I said loudly and my new friend shook his head in glee.
We both yelled “VOTE” as I walked away. And then, we saluted each other across the busy intersection.