Sunday, May 27, 2018
Last week I waited too long to pop in to the Oakland Mills Farmer’s Market and most of the things I had hoped to get were sold out. This was my own darned fault, and I knew it. As I stood at a particular stall, expressing that sentiment, I noticed that two of the workers were wearing Allan Kittleman t-shirts.
Actually, it was more like the realization that these folks were Kittleman supporters leapt out at me in bright, vibrant yellow. I felt like the shirts themselves were glowing, almost staring at me the whole time I was there.
I pondered this on the way home. Of course they’re Kittleman supporters, I thought to myself. Western Howard County, agricultural...But up until I saw those shirts I never really thought about their business in a political light. This doesn’t mean they weren’t always Kittleman supporters. I just never knew, and so it didn’t matter.
I don’t want it to matter. I want to be happy to be supporting the Farmer’s Market, local businesses, local agriculture. I was surprised at the instant reaction I found myself having. It wasn’t that I find Mr. Kittleman an evil scourge upon the County, but that I found myself staring at (a perfectly permissible form of) political speech in a place where I never expected to see it, and it made me uncomfortable.
Would I have felt the same if it had been shirts for Democratic Candidates? Well, that depends on the candidate, I guess. I’d like to think that it was the introduction of political speech into what had been, before that, a politics-free environment. But, I have to admit, as a Democrat, I might have just seen it as “normal” and tuned it out.
I find myself very torn these days between trying to accept or reject people on their own merits, and recoiling from those whose political party now stands for policies I find morally bankrupt. To be honest, I finding myself shrinking from anything that feels overtly “Christian” for the same reasons. I have come to have a lack of trust.
Ironically, it’s my own (basically Christian but kind of Unitarian) religious beliefs that keep me trying to find the thin places where we can reach out to those who are different and find a way to build better connections.
What can I say? I am a deeply partisan individual who wants to believe that there can be good outside my own partisan world. And yet the events in our nation and how they are affecting the world at large and even our local sphere reinforce a sense of wariness.
And now I need to wrap this up so I can make it to the Market in time to get strawberries.