I work at a fairly popular candy store.  We get a large amount of customers everyday, either browsing, buying, or just requesting free samples.  So it’s safe to say that I see my fair share of people.

Today, while packing a box for him, my customer starting checking out our chocolate cigars.  Pure milk chocolate, the cigars are chewy and actually pretty damn good.  But most people confuse them with real cigars.  Because a family-friendly candy store would, you know, sell tobacco. 

So this guy holds one up.  “This a real cigar?” he asks.

“No,” I say.  “It’s pure milk chocolate.”

“So it’s not like the kind Bill Clinton used, eh?”  He laughs.

I look to his wife to see if he’s seriously amused by that.  She smiles.  “No,” I say. “It’s not.”

The guy then wanders over to my side of the candy case and continues.  “That’s what happens when you get a Democrat in The White House.  I don’t know if you’re voting or not, but vote Republican.”

This guy was serious.  I bit my tongue.  Being at work, I couldn’t say what my political stance was.  And, to be honest, it’s not that relevant.  I don’t give a shit who this dude votes for, California is going to Obama.  But the fact is that I’m a die-hard, card-carrying liberal and this guy’s immaturity and idiocy was  pretty infuriating.  Sure, I kept my opinions to myself but I wanted to say “Yeah, that’s what happens when you get a Democrat in The White House.  And what happens when you get a Republican in there?  4,000 soldiers die, our status among other nations plummets and thousands drown in a heavily populated city!” 

It’s come to the point where Republicans have no place making jokes or off-hand comments about Democrats being lousy leaders.  Even if it’s a half-hearted joke, even if they hardly mean it.  No jokes, Republicans.  First of all, most of you aren’t funny (Dennis Miller, I’m looking your way).  Secondly, we can’t rebut with a likewise joke because, as dumb as Bush is (and he is very, very dumb) he’s not funny anymore.  He’s caused far too much damage to be humorous.  It’s just sad.  He’s an SNL sketch gone on too long.  Let’s bring out that big cane and link it around his neck, pull him off kicking and scream if we must.   The chuckles aren’t coming anymore.  The gong is being pounded, Mr. Bush.

I wanted to grab this fellow by the shoulders and shake him.  I wanted to convince him to think about what his vote could do.  Not just his vote, but his ignorance.  It’s a buzzword right now but change truly is important.  And as much as John McCain tells us, both candidates won’t bring about change.  One will bring change, the other will bring a new face and the same policies.  Besides, was this guy really trying to convince a stranger — a young stranger in California, no less — to vote Republican?  Really?  Does he not understand anything about my generation or this state?

But I didn’t shake him.  I let him go.  I didn’t even overcharge him.

I did check his ID, though, and it seems that he recently moved to L.A. from Alabama.  That made me smile. 

“Welcome to California,” I wanted to say to him.  “We let gays marry now!”