• suemullennh

Transfer Station Etiquette

Today was a beautiful day! Mostly...

The sun was shining and the sky was blue when I joined the Rombeau Family and other supporters for a bit of campaigning at the Bedford Transfer Station.

It's a unique New Hampshire tradition, meeting and greeting neighbors to "Stump at the Dump," as it used to be called.

The line forms early. People typically give a honk, or a nod or a wave. If the candidate is not your cup of tea, you might offer a wave anyhow, just to be friendly. With a strong objection, you might just divert your eyes and drive on by...

We were explaining these nuances to Catherine's children this morning when the man in the SUV pulled up slowly, rolled his window down and thrust his middle fingers into the air.

"F**k You, you socialist communist! F**k You," he repeated, as he accelerated enough to create a lot of noise. Six adults and two children stood there, stunned. Stunned.

But, other folks were right on his bumper. They waved, gave a thumbs up, or diverted their gaze and drove on by, so we let it go.

But, he didn't. He came back down Chubbuck Rd. and with Catherine's two girls who are 10 and 8 standing on either side of their parents, he started yelling again. More middle fingers. More foul language. This time he added a homophobic slur to the mix, just for effect, and the effect was immediate.

One child was visibly shaken. One child was uncharacteristically quiet. Both children went to their car with their mother where tears were met with hugs and an attempt at an explanation.

What is that explanation, when civility is lost to an opinion? How do you explain the difference between a debate and a debacle? What fuels a person to disregard the presence of children in favor of vulgar dysregulation? We can do better than this. I have to believe that we can do better than this...

When we left the Transfer Station, the sun was still shining. Catherine's kids will likely get over the insults of the morning, but they probably won't forget it. Ever. I am quite sure that the Freedom of Speech will be at the top of the dinner conversation list this weekend because it's guaranteed. Civility is not.

Thanks to all the folks who honked and waved this morning, and to all of you who came out to door knock and hold signs. And thanks to those of you who chose to look the other way and drive on by. We appreciate you, too, because even if civility isn't guaranteed, it still matters.

Hope all of you are safe and dry once Hurricane Henri is beyond us! sm

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