Friday, November 07, 2008

Close Call

I knew becoming a cop would subject me to a more unpredicatable and dangerous lifestyle. I am reminded of the potential for violence each day I put on my ballistic vest. On Tuesday night, I had my closest brush with disaster yet.

I sat in the police station break room with a dozen other officers watching the election results come in. I was surrounded by the very traffic officers that escorted Senator McCain and Governor Palin to the nearby rally headquarters. The other officers watched with growing dismay as Sen. Obama's electoral vote count continued to rise.

Shouts of anger, disgust, and panic arose in chorus. Then it happened: The network 'called' the election and announced Barak Obama as the next president of the United States.

The officers jumped to thier feet, cursing and fuming with defeat. Although my fellow Arizonans overwhelmingly voted for the hometown Senator McCain, it was no use as the election was over.

One of the officers noted my calm smile and upbeat demeanor and asked, "Aren't you upset about this?"

Keeping the same grin, I looked back at him and answered by saying nothing at all.

Understanding my position, he and the others gave a look of utter contempt and disbelief. As they stormed out of the room I heard such words as, "damn liberal", "traitor", "muslim communist" and "country's going to shit". I felt like my uniform was the only thing keeping me from getting lynched on the spot.

I was left alone to watch the television feed of the celebration in Chicago. Thousands of Obama supports danced and cried tears of joy. I felt what they did and was letting it all soak in when another officer stormed in and slammed the television power button. He let out a long and winded wail of frustration. With fists cleched tightly in fury he repeatedly told me, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I had to turn it off."

He stomped back out of the room.
I turned the T.V. back on.

I felt strange belonging to a family of brothers who felt so differently than I did. I understand and even respect other's opinions about who they believe would make a better leader. But why the anger and disgust? Do they all really believe the slanderous lies about Barak being a muslim terrorist, socialist, or foreing policy pushover? I know we cops have a reputation for being closed-minded and intolerant homophobes, but witnessing my comrades' behavior was sickening.

Some of you who read this might be surprised to find out I voted for Obama. You'll be even more shocked, then, to learn I'm also a tree-hugging, bleeding-heart, liberal.

"What kind of an American are you?", I can hear some people saying.
"A proud one." is my answer.

30 Comments:

At November 07, 2008 6:06 PM, Blogger Teri Kathleen said...

I am one of those who are angered and disgusted at his being elected, but not for any reason you mentioned. I touched on them in my own blog, if you care to read it (entry titled "a day of ranting" is just one of the many on the subject). That's not why I commented though. My husband is of the socialist party and I am a (duh) republican. Know that you are not the only who feels strange belonging to a "family" who feels so different. (his through marriage, yours through work, though that word seems so wrong but is only my mind can think of)

 
At November 07, 2008 6:34 PM, Blogger Merr-peng said...

You're cool :)

 
At November 07, 2008 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My other half is black and in law enforcement. As Obama was declared the winner, he was staring at the TV without saying a word. I asked him "did you ever think you'd see this?" He simply shook his head no without taking his eyes off the TV. I was holding back the tears.

The next day at work he had to put up with all sort of angry comments about the election results. It was a bitter sweet day for him.

 
At November 07, 2008 9:46 PM, Anonymous NJ said...

I am known around my department as "that liberal guy" so I completely understand where you are coming from. I have also experienced the visceral reaction from fellow officers once they learn I am a "tree-hugging, bleeding-heart, liberal."

As a note, I work with the "exemplary recruit" from your academy class and was one class ahead of you guys. I enjoy reading your posts, keep up the good work.

 
At November 08, 2008 12:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, it isn't for the reasons you site (though isn't the definition of socialist someone who wants to 'spread the wealth', and take it from some people to give to others? Don't get me wrong, I'm far from rich and, in fact, my last pay check doubled what I had in the bank and savings put together, but no one should take money from other people to give it from me.). But it is the freaky things he says that just... I'm sorry, but where does the President get the power to do it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt2yGzHfy7s
We've seen Civilian Security Forces that handle 'national security' in the past... not in this country, and very rarely ever in countries that actually respect the rights of their civilians...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDTluWDUBEY
So, he's not a socialist, but he, in his own words, makes it clear that when growing up he chose his friends carefully, and among those were Marxist professors?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkpdNtTgQNM
The warren court wasn't really that radical, it didn't break free from the essential constraints of the constitution. The constitution is a charger of negative liberties, just details what the government can't do, but not what it should do for you? What a far cry from "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".

And, on top of all of it, he went from one office to the next without ever really doing much of anything in any of them. His experience is almost entirely lacking.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no Republican... actually, Obama was the only candidate that could make me vote for McCain. I can't stand either party and tend to stick to one of the various 3rd parties when I vote just because I am sick of the two primary ones. I was so hoping that Hillary would win, as I would take her any day over him. Or McCain, or heck, either of their VPs. In fact, if he stepped down and Biden came in, that'd be just fine. It isn't that he is black, couldn't care less about that either. I mean the only prominent politician that I have some respect for that I can think of off the top of my head who has run for office again and again would be Alan Keyes, but I'd take him also.

Just... I just can't imagine what he wants to do with the country, since he keeps saying he wants to change it. I wish someone would tell him it is Washington that needs to change, not the country, but oh well...

Then again, as his wife keeps saying, Barak Obama won't allow you to go back to living your old life. Excuse me?

Fortunately, I think that there are enough of those 'essential constraints' still around in the Constitution to keep him from going too crazy, but I just would really have rather not had to find out.

 
At November 08, 2008 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You maybe a nice guy Officer Gary but... if you're a liberal.. your core beliefs are messed up at best. Dude, You need Jesus!

 
At November 08, 2008 9:47 AM, Blogger RoaVaPD said...

From his own mouth Obama is a socialist. It's not a lie.

That being said, the realities of actually being in office will make most of his socialist rhetoric difficult to pull off without unpopularity on the level of political suicide for the entire Democratic Party. He said what he needed to say to attract the lunatic base of the Democrat Party and then shifted to the right a little to attract the moderate middle.

I'm disappointed he won but I'm not running around like Chicken Little screaming "The sky is falling!" because Obama got elected. Rather than the end of the US and freedom as we know it I predict more status quo with a little more taxes and a lot more government debt.

 
At November 08, 2008 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That doesn't sound good either, however, Rovapd.

Oh well. Oh, and when listening to those videos, for the ones that are really just audio, it is best to tune out the sensational imagery that they include. It really isn't needed, his words should be enough to make anyone who really listens to what he says do a double-take.

 
At November 08, 2008 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that most people don't seem to realize that law enforcement, for example, is a socialist service.

The government provides resources for a service that benefits all of its citizens.

People socialism is not communism.

 
At November 09, 2008 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, this is quite true, it is not communism, but marxism is. Listen to the soundbites in those youtube videos. Why, in Obama's own words, does he specifically site Marxist professors as friendships that he nurtured, that he actively sought?

You know, people can brush off all these associations, but there are a lot of them. But even if you set that aside, you have him specifically listing them as people that he tried to make nice with.

Why?

 
At November 09, 2008 8:23 AM, Blogger OHN said...

My husband (also an officer) was so pissed on election night that he left the room ranting about "the country is going to hell". I dared not say anything but I voted for Obama as did our two older sons (who voted for the first time).

During the race, I can't tell you how many negative Obama emails he forwarded to me from his brother officers with tons of propaganda and innuendo.

 
At November 09, 2008 8:31 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

I am with you.
I am PROUD to be an American today.
Too bad the Real McCain did not stand up till his concession speech.
I used to like the guy.
I VOTED OBAMA and am damn proud of it.
I am a liberal teacher freak.

 
At November 10, 2008 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary,

I am with you. It is time for a change and people need to be more opened minded to change.. Glad you are back.

Kim

 
At November 11, 2008 6:45 AM, Blogger Teri Kathleen said...

It isn't change I'm "close minded" about. It's HIS KIND of change. I don't believe that socialism is the way to go and that's where he's going to try to take us.

 
At November 11, 2008 8:58 AM, Anonymous Arkansas_Law said...

A few things-

1. Run away from anything you see masses of people running toward.


2. I am expecting to see the worst case of "buyer's remorse" in the history of the universe. Headline the day after the election was "Obama team works to lower expectations."


(to the person who said police agencies are all a social service)
3. In the academy, we were taught that a policing agency's role could be:

a. strict law enforcement, OR
b. protection/peace keeping, OR
c. social servants.

At my Sheriff's Department, we play role B. We aren't our citizen's nannies, we are conservators of the peace. We ensure that there is an "environment" for people to succeed, not to baby them when they choose not to.


4. It was really telling when his transition team said he was getting ready to "rule".


(To the people looking for a "savior", and hoping for change)
5. Why do I not support all the things that are about to become US government policy (even though they seem superficially beneficial)? Because THE FOUNDING FATHERS WERE SMARTER THAN YOU ARE.

 
At November 11, 2008 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never been so proud to have you as my brother. You are the smartest person I know. thank you for writing this. I love you.

 
At November 14, 2008 10:46 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

More power to you brother.

I've found a bumper sticker I'm putting on my car (first one ever).

"I Voted."
(and this time it f**king worked!)

 
At November 16, 2008 11:12 PM, Blogger Liz said...

I heard those same types of comments too in the dispatch room. One girl wouldn't take no for an answer when I didn't want to discuss politics and get into arguments. I think even if our candidate didn't win, we would have at lease hoped that the man who won would improve some of the struggles we are facing now.

On a side note, love reading your blog!

 
At November 19, 2008 3:21 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

Right on! More posts from you please... less from the anonymous cowards.

 
At November 22, 2008 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I am, and that is fine. Can someone still tell me why people are comfortable with someone who specifically said in the interview that he nurtured relationships with marxist professors?

It is funny, everyone keeps saying that "he isn't a marxist" or "he isn't a socialist", etc. etc., when he himself specifically says that he tried to befriend those types of people.

At least deal with reality and explain why that kind of thing makes you like him. If you aren't just a liberal (which I have no problem with, I'd have taken Hillary any day), but are, in fact, a socialist or a communist, then just say so and indicate that THAT is the change you were hoping for.

 
At November 22, 2008 5:10 PM, Anonymous OS3 said...

So I have just finished reading all of your posts, front to back. Your blog has helped me in making the desion to persue a career in law enforcment, i have a few questions, it is aparent that you are happy with your line of work which is assuring. Im currently enlisted in the Navy and am wondering if it is an issue to enlist in the Naval Reserve after im done with my active service and Be a police officer?
How does the selection process go for the acadamy?
Is a police officer a job under contract in term of time as in the militarty?
What are the benifits?
Would it be to my benifit to finish a bacholors degree before joining the force? Are there some incentives in doing so?
What are some of the special programs i could be able to get into?
Requirements for S.W.A.T?
How is pay and benifits?
Can anyone become a pilot for the police force, will they train you or would i need prior training?

I would apriacate your input. Thank you for your service

 
At January 04, 2009 11:07 AM, Blogger Flash Gordon said...

It's not easy to understand any cop siding with the political faction whose policies and beliefs make the job of the police more difficult and sometimes even get them killed.

 
At January 08, 2009 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that Obama is going to be good for this country. I also think that socialism has some good aspects. Obama has a seriously impossible task ahead of him. Look what Bush/Cheney allowed to happen to this country?

If we don't start holding CEO's and the rich accountable for their actions then we deserve what happens to us. Greed is the problem which bankrupted this nation. Greed and stupidity.

What will it take to put it back together? I'm not sure that we can. At the very least we MUST make an effort. Obama is our only hope....look what the last eight years did to us!

Oh, well, if you're a rich white man...then you're great! It's just the rest of us who didn't fare as well.

 
At January 13, 2009 3:13 PM, Blogger Kelsey said...

My boyfriend/S.O. is about to finish his masters in criminal justice, and one of his hesitations about going into law enforcement/govt. stuff is the strong tendency toward conservatism. Both he and I are "tree-hugging liberals", and to make things even worse, he's French, and so he has heard just about every white-flag joke under the sun.

So, it's good to read about your experiences with this. Unfortunately, they confirm our fears, but it also shows that not *everyone* is conservative.

I've been reading back through your blog (I found it while link-surfing), and I really enjoy it. Would it be alright if I add you to my blogroll?

- Driftingfocus

 
At March 25, 2009 11:01 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

I am so sorry to have found your blog now, since you have been forced to stop writing it. I truly believe you are articulate and talented, and GO OBAMA!

 
At September 29, 2009 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am proud to admit that I too am a Tree-Hugger and also a Bleeding Heart... But I have a strong sense of duty, hell, I cry if I forget to make my boyfriend's lunch before I go into work haha. I am going to take my police force entrance exam next week and I am very nervous that I wont be able to pass it, I am in shape but nothing like I was in highschool.. that and I'm a very bubbily kind hearted person and I dont know if that kind of behavoir would pass the BPAD... Do you have any advice? my e-mail is sidhetrilogy@aol.com

I do agree that your comrads are being kindly brutish with their ways of expressing their anger. Its kind of silly really, to be honest I laughed when i read how you described them. I have family members like that, and they are just that... you're family.

 
At March 10, 2010 12:59 AM, Blogger jerry said...

user is used to seeing the comment form and filling out information in general. Filling out the name and email wont take me much time, and if you really wanted to go ahead and type the comment first, you can do so, not really that big of a work around. I’m .
study abroad

 
At May 03, 2010 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what it is about law enforcement. I left my former career in higher education to become a police officer. It is an honorable profession. I finished my terminal degree years before leaving my field and becoming a police officer. I clearly remember sitting in the police academy and being told that people with more education had less common sense. I was also the only "insert profanity liberal" in my academy class. It also seemed as if every instructor who came in to teach, used the opportunity to take advantage of the bully pulpit.

I also find it funny to read people's posts about liberals ruining the world. Well, just so you know, this liberal will take your ass to jail. I believe in the law and swore an oath to defend the laws of my state and my country. A liberal can kick an ass just like a conservative when it has to be done.

 
At March 12, 2011 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay Obama! America really needed him.

 
At July 13, 2011 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dyou feel about Obammy now?

 

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