Yesterday a repairman came to fix an appliance. We talked, because I talk to everybody. He is a Muslim immigrant from Afghanistan, one of seven children, his mother is now dead, all his siblings live in the US. His wife runs a daycare (God bless her - that is something I would never do).
Since he'd been here for a long time, I asked him if he had voted. "Of course," he exclaimed with all the enthusiasm of one who relishes that freedom so many Americans disregard. "For Obama," he added.
I nodded neutrally, but he sensed I was not a big fan of our new President and wondered why.
"I just can't vote for somebody who thinks it's OK to kill unborn babies." This is my stock line. It's the truth, it's succinct, it's not politely evasive. I'm tired of being polite.
The man's jaw dropped. "Obama thinks this is OK?"
"Well, yes," I said. It hadn't occurred to me that people just didn't know all the issues. I remembered when I was a foreigner in a country where I struggled to understand the nightly news, where my conversational German failed me over lunches where politics were discussed. I doubt that I could possibly have resembled an educated voter, had I the opportunity to participate in elections.
"That's against my religion," he said. Of course it is. "Unborn...born...it doesn't matter...it's the same...to kill that life..." And he struggled, his vocabulary unable to wrap itself around such weighty concepts. I don't think they include words like sacred in ESL classes.
Soon he was done, and he left. But I think he might start looking up new vocabulary words. And I think he might start paying attention to other news. And I think, maybe, in four years, he may vote for somebody else.