Sunday, February 28, 2010


The clerk in the New Age bookstore would tell customers about his politics, although the owner didn’t like it. He’d say he was a Libertarian; you know, they believe people should all have the freedom to do their own thing. He looked the part – he somehow managed to have both a buzz cut and a long ponytail, which must have taken some doing. Anyhow, he started off mellow about the politics thing, but got more agitated toward election time.

He tried to pressure customers to vote for his third party candidate. It was when Bill Clinton was running for re-election. People wanted to keep Bob Dole out – not ANOTHER old fart in the White House! – and said they didn’t want to waste their vote on someone with no chance of winning.

That didn’t cut it with this clerk. If everybody thought that way, he said, the world would never change. He didn’t get that change was exactly the goal of most of his customer’s prayers.

You see, our Libertarian had done some time for drug possession. And Clinton was too anti-drug for him. I don’t know if Clinton would have passed muster with him if only he’d inhaled, but this guy would tell people that if they didn’t vote for his “cool” candidate, then they might as well have locked his cell door themselves. He’d say these laws that we’d all broken had to change. Now he was laying down the law himself.

He’d rant at people while he rang up books directing them to find their own true path. He’d tell them that they’d lose his good will if they didn’t vote as he insisted. If they voted for Clinton, everything wrong with the world would be their fault, even retroactively. “I’ll still be nice to you,” he snapped at one, “but I’m nice to Fundamentalists, too.” He even called this customer at home just to continue his harangue.

Mr. Freedom To Do Your Own Thing didn’t see the irony.

People began to complain, but he didn’t get fired. His boss did tell him, “I’ll be voting Republican, just because of you.”

Business started to fall off. One complainer, who kept coming in, always got the fuming silent treatment now.

He told one gay customer that he was in favor of discrimination against any group of people. “You can’t use force to make people behave like you want them to,” he hissed, and then went back to ranting for his candidate. His commandment seemed to be, “Thou shalt do thy own thing…provided it’s the same as mine.”

The store is closed now. Some of us stopped going there long before it did. It’s too bad. It was an excellent store, except for one thing.

And Clinton, as we all know, won by a landslide.

(c)2010 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.

1 comment:

  1. I would have stopped going too. I got irritated by him just reading the poem! I don't think it's a problem to discuss politics, but to belittle others for their own choice is wrong - as is pressuring them to vote for someone. Freedom of choice is freedom of choice, whether we all agree on what that "choice" is or not. We all perceive things differently. I could keep going on, but I think I'll stop here.