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On New Year’s Eve I met a few friends for drinks after work. The racist asshole was there. And she decided to voice her political opinion. Now, I’m all for letting people have their opinions as long as I don’t have to listen to them. The problem with America is that people think freedom of speech means that they not only have the right to speak, but the right to be heard – and that whatever they are saying is important and should not be challenged.

Then don’t say it in front of me.

Within the space of ten minutes, I heard that Barack Obama took his oath of office on the Quran because he is a radical Muslim, and that he refused to place his hand over his heart while the National Anthem played.

And she said she wouldn’t vote for him because he was a goddamned nigger. She leaned over and whispered the last two words into my ear. Oh. My. God. Or should I say Allah?

I was so angry that all I could do was sputter. I told her that it was not true, asked her where the hell she came up with it and then told her not to vote for him if she didn’t want to, but if racism was her reason she should keep it to herself. What I should have asked is why she had to lean over and whisper that word if there is nothing wrong with it. Unfortunately I didn’t think of that in time and I left shortly after that. We’ve had that particular argument before and her only defense was that she used the word โ€˜nigger’ because she was raised that way. I’m sorry her parents did her such a disservice.

Part of my Capricorn Goat complex is that I am a very fair-minded person. When I hear something like that, I literally see red. It makes me so angry that I can’t even form a coherent argument and usually resort to something like, “That’s just STUPID! SERIOUSLY!” Then I stamp my feet and glare. It is essentially what I’m doing now.

Tonight I received the “Obama is a radical Muslim” email again, for about the zillionth time. My head actually spun 360 degrees on my shoulders. Before I go any further I should point out that I have no intention of voting for Barack Obama. I don’t agree with him on anything. But fair is fair and enough is enough.

Obama is a Christian. Maybe he’s not a “good” Christian, maybe he’s a horrible sinner, but he says he is a Christian. I don’t care if he’s an atheist. His religion doesn’t matter. But while you’re busy accusing him of being a Muslim, why don’t you explain to me what happened to religious freedom in this country? Why don’t you tell me exactly how this country was founded and why the First Amendment (the freedom of religion part, not the freedom of speech part) is so important?

As for not putting his hand over his heart while the Star-Spangled Banner was playing, please explain to me how that became a sign of his political/religious agenda rather than a simple breach of etiquette? I don’t always put my hand over my heart when I hear the National Anthem at a sporting event. Some men don’t remove their caps. Actually, I need to make a confession here. When I’m sitting at home watching something on television and I hear the National Anthem, I never put my hand over my heart. I don’t even bother to stand up. Should I retain my right to vote?

Check out snopes.com. Obama is number one in popular searches. That’s just the first place I looked to debunk this crap. I’m sure it’s all over the internet. All it takes is five minutes, a keyboard, a tiny amount of effort and one small spurt of brain power.

I drove behind a truck on the way home tonight. On the back window, there was a confederate flag decal that said: Heritage. Not Hate.

Oh dear. Just for the fun of it, I looked up โ€˜heritage’ in my trusty 1957 Webster’s dictionary. 1. Property that is or can be inherited. 2. A) Something handed down from one’s ancestors or the past, as a characteristic, a culture, tradition, etc B) the rights, burdens or status resulting from being born in a certain time or place.

Hmm. A confederate flag decal isn’t property to be inherited – unless the family is really, really poor. So that’s not it. Something handed down from the past … a characteristic, a culture, tradition, etc. Something like … I don’t know … an attitude? Like, um, racism? I’m just guessing here. I could be wrong.

Being southern is not a heritage.

Being American is.