During this political year, supposedly conservatives hate liberals. The feeling is allegedly mutual for liberals about conservatives. The antidote, a place that proves all that to be nonsense for most of America, is named McConnells.
A place so small - 2009 census population was 391 souls, maybe including a couple of dairy cows - that the voting precinct is in the building where U.S. 321 and S.C. 322 meet, which serves as the town hall/post office/fire department. That means an American flag flew overhead, and there was the name, "McConnells," on the building and a warning to parkers not to block the firetruck bays while zipping across the street for a SunDrop.
There is one voting precinct for everybody in the town. It was so packed at times Tuesday nobody needed to guess if that was Old Spice or Chanel No. 5 somebody was wearing.
On Tuesday, a new voter to the precinct who has lived in McConnells less than two years, a 34-year-old woman named Alicia Griffin, was stopped outside the polling place by a woman. Not for voting problems, or her political choices, but because the postmistress yelled out a side door with a familiar: "Got something for you!"
Griffin voted Democratic on Tuesday, but if anybody voting Republican didn't like it, they sure didn't show it. "I was proud to vote and I like living here," said Griffin.
The McConnells voting precinct about 10 miles south of York is larger than the 1-mile circumference that town limits measured from that very spot where the votes are cast - but not too much bigger. There are about 1,200 registered voters in the precinct. And if any of those people dislikes anybody else because of politics, they sure hid it well Tuesday. Nobody screamed, "Stop Obamacare!" like they do on TV while carrying stupid signs. Nobody unfairly called resurgent conservatives who have organized their message and cause so well mean-spirited names, either.
Terry Stephens, 32 years living in tiny McConnells, said he voted a straight Republican ticket. He knew people who did the opposite. He said hello to them just the same. Stephens said he voted Republican not because he is a Republican, but because change in politics is a good thing. The Democrats in Congress are in power - so for Stephens, out the door they go.
"To tell you the truth, I don't like either party much, but every four years, or eight years, you gotta see what the other side can do," Stephens said.
The sentiment that Republicans should be given a chance was echoed by Jamie and Beth Penland and Jim Lucente, three years in McConnells.
"Politicians are all the same, they are full of it," Lucente said. "These career politicians, they need to go. Let's try the Republicans and see how they do."
He voted right before Erskine Lindsay, a 30-year teacher, who voted Democrat.
More people Tuesday at McConnells said they voted Republican than Democrat, but Lindsay shook so many Republican and Democrat hands going in and out of the voting precinct, he might have been a winning candidate for mayor of this tiny place.
"We are all friends here," Lindsay said.
Charles Currence, 30 years in McConnells, voted for Democrats across the board.
But that was only after he held the door for Republicans and chatted with them in line and said goodbye to them.
"So what if we vote different? We all get along," said Currence.
Ava Kilgore, 16 years voting in McConnells, voted straight Republican this year. In past years, some of her votes were different.
But she respected anybody voting for the Democrats.
"McConnells is a place with good, down-to-earth people who care about each other," Kilgore said.
"That's why they are here voting. They care."