Upper Marlboro, Maryland
"Oh my God, Michael Steele!" exclaimed an African-American woman passing out fliers outside Kettering Middle School in Prince George's County. The tone of her exclamation was not excitement; rather, she was mocking a group of photographers, reporters, and cameramen waiting to watch Maryland's lieutenant governor vote. The woman continued sarcastically, "All these people here for Michael Steele! Oh, are you going to take his picture? Michael Steele!"
Steele's voting site in the heavily African-American county was unlikely to be a stronghold of support. He had some supporters in the crowd (a handful of people sought him out while he was standing in line) and outside the middle school, the vast majority of those in attendance appeared to be overtly hostile to the candidate.
"Anyone who's with Bush is not with me," proclaimed one black woman as she crossed paths with Steele in a hallway. There were other remarks in the same vein. While being interviewed in the polling place, another African-American voter stated that she couldn't support someone who still believed in "a false war based on lies."
Standing in line to vote with his wife, the pair wearing matching blue Under Armour windbreakers, Steele was surrounded by folks who clearly had no desire to vote for him. They made snide comments behind his back. "They're just trying to trick us, but we know better," exclaimed one elderly woman. She went on to explain that Steele's great "trick" was not cutting to the front, but instead choosing to stand in line like everyone else.
For 45 minutes, Steele was waiting in line, listening to the jibes, biting his tongue, and smiling bravely. If not for his resolve, it would have been a depressing sight--the capacity some of us have to be rude to strangers is remarkable. Michael Steele deserved better.
Sonny Bunch is assistant editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.