Gun Show, Ridgefield, WA

By looking up Republican Meet-up groups on the internet I came across a listing for a Gun Show at the Clark County Fairgrounds. I set up in the parking lot by the entrance to the event. For a while no-one would talk with me, but then two men who thought I was a Ron Paul campaigner because I was sitting next to a car with Raul Paul logos came over and asked me what I was doing. When I said I was left leaning in my politics one of them replied “well then I have nothing to talk with you about, we have nothing in common.” In my mind I thought ‘don’t we have a country in common?’ but I didn’t get it out of my mouth. He went on talking about how he had raised his family and put his kids through college with no student loans and adjusted his lifestyle to fit his means, and how he didn’t want the money he earned to be taken from him to give to welfare recipients who didn’t work and had just as big of TVs as him.  Then they both walked away quickly reiterating that they had nothing to say to a left winger. That conversation is the clearest example so far of what I am learning is a common belief that the Democratic party is about taking money from working people to support a welfare class that doesn’t contribute to our country and just steals from other American citizens.

I talked briefly with one other man about gun rights, his belief the Obama is really a Muslim, and his questions about why the US spends so much money on troops and military intervention in the Middle East when it buys a larger percentage of it’s crude oil from Canada. His percentages were way off but I looked it up and Canada is our top supplier. When I asked he didn’t have his own explanation for why the US Military would be so heavily invested in the Middle East, but suggested that the reason the US has never been invaded is because of it’s well armed citizens being a strong deterrent. I recognized that he was trying to offer evidence for the libertarian stance against military spending money in foreign countries because of the tax burden it causes for American citizens. These were the first conversations I’ve had since starting this project where it was hard to create an atmosphere with people where we could actually consider each-others perspectives.

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