Tired Feet and Conventional Wisdom

She was standing at the bus stop when I got there. Both of us looked very tired. It had been a long day in an even longer week, and it was already past midnight. The buses were running late.

We began to talk, first about how long we might have to wait. An hour went by until our different buses finally came. A little conversation to pass the time turned into a long talk about life and the topic of the week--politics.

New Orleans is her home town. I was there to cover the Republican National Convention, and that had been its last day. My feet were tired from four days of almost constant walking and standing. Her feet were tired from being on them nearly all day, every day. She is a cook in a local restaurant, and this week she had been making food mostly for Republican delegates.

Her hours were long but this middle-aged black woman obviously didn't make enough money to avoid having to wait for a bus to take her home. The Republicans had spent a lot of money and she was grateful for that. "They've got the money," she said. Earlier in the day, a handful of well-scrubbed Republican youths had earnestly assured me that the reason people are poor is because they don't want to work. And George Bush had just told the nation, in his nomination acceptance speech, that we were enjoying both peace and prosperity. But my friend at the bus stop knew why her feet were sore. She would vote Democrat, but with Jesse Jackson gone, she wasn't filled with confidence about that party either. I told her that I had seen just as many stretch limousines in Atlanta as I had in New Orleans.

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