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.