Politics at the Bed and Breakfast

We took our grandchildren to Williamsburg and Jamestown (where they were fascinated by the muskets), then came to Washington, D.C. so that they could experience the nation’s capital. Yesterday was the Museum of the American Indian (pricey buffalo-burgers in the cafeteria!) and the Air and Space Museum with a planetarium show narrated by Whoopie Goldberg.

We are staying in a Bed and Breakfast, the Aaron Shipman house, located in the Logan Circle area. It’s a lovely residential neighborhood,with excellent public transportation. (I’ve been VERY ┬ájealous of the transportation on this trip! It makes any place more livable and civilized. Too bad the Indiana legislature doesn’t consider livability important…)

There are seven bedrooms rooms in this house, and we met the other travelers at breakfast yesterday. We went around the table making introductions. Five were traveling together from Alabama, and after the (wonderful!) breakfast, we were making small talk. One woman, a retired second-grade teacher, said “You teach law. How can Roy Moore be considered eligible to run again for the Alabama Supreme Court? Didn’t his previous behavior and contempt for Separation of Church and State disqualify him?” Roy Moore, you may recall, was the zealot who had the Ten Commandments carved on a five-ton stone and placed at the entrance to the Alabama Supreme Court. Apparently, his opponent is genuinely mentally ill, so voters have no reasonable choice in this election, and she was agitated.

“Everyone will look at Alabama and think we actually wanted┬áthis creep! We don’t!”

That led to a more general discussion of the political environment and the extremism of today’s GOP. The owner of the B and B opined that Republican Senators and Representatives who had opted to put politics before the national interest and simply say NO to anything and everything that might make Obama look good should be expelled from office. The rest of the short discussion was similar. (And for the record, I didn’t start it!)

I’m hesitant to draw large conclusions from this anecdote: I remember a friend from law school who was absolutely certain McGovern was going to win the election that year because everyone in his neighborhood was a McGovern supporter. He lived in Greenwich Village. But it was interesting to see a group from Huntsville, Alabama–hardly a “blue” location–so utterly disgusted with the radicalism that characterizes today’s GOP.

I believe the acronym young people use these days is FWIW–for what it’s worth.


  1. Unfortunately, I can think of lots of reasons why this group you met from Alabama are not representative: they have money enough to travel, when they travel they decide to go to DC for it’s museums/culture/whatever, one of them is a school teacher (thus, likelier of higher education than average voter — we’re the others professionals as well?), etc, etc…. Could they be representative? Possibly, but I doubt it. But here’s to wishful thinking!!

  2. Actually, Huntsville AL *IS* a liberal community because it houses NASA engineers and scientists in the area. It probably has the highest population of educated liberals scientists in all of AL. Husband and I actually looked for jobs there. I have relatives nearby and had a couple of interviews for NASA contractors that were in the area in March ’09. It was the worst time to look for jobs but didn’t know that at the time.

    One of my cousins that lives nearby didn’t finish high school and I’ll never forget him asking me about my political leanings years ago. He said, you can vote for who ever you want as long as it’s a Democrat. Ha ha.

  3. I forgot to mention my view on public transportation in Indiana. Woefully inadequate. I’d have to walk about 3 miles to the nearest bus stop here in the northeast corner of Marion county. We are a one car-one motorcycle family and if the weather isn’t ‘bike’ weather and husband needs the car, I’m literally stranded at home. To top that off, we have no sidewalks outside our subdivision (that was built 20 yrs ago), so I can’t even walk to the Walgreens that is 3 blocks away because there is no shoulder on the road either.

    We lived in Germany for almost 3 yrs without any transportation except public. We were 2 blocks from the bus and 3 blocks from the train. We could literally go all over Europe walking to the train from our apartment. We also enjoyed walking about 5 blocks to the paved sidewalks that crisscross Germany with vistas of the farm area in our neighborhood. We could walk to the next village and never suffer traffic. I miss that.

  4. My theory is that Hoosier Republicans are, by and large, wealthy. They don’t need things like public transportation, public schools, welfare, Planned Parenthood, etc., and don’t think they should have to provide these things to the great unwashed.

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