One of the things about growing up a few decades ago as a Jewish liberal Democrat in Virginia is that I was forced to meet people who were very different from me (this is a good thing). Thus, I always find it astonishing, simply because it is so foreign to my own experience, how some people can have so little actual contact with those who are different from them.
Over at DailyKos, diarist Geiiga describes what happened while she was interviewing her fellow congregants at her Topeka, KS church–the subject was “what do you pray for?” (italics mine):
Yesterday, in the late morning, I was out with the community pastor, Casey, at Topeka Bible Church. We were doing a project to make a video, going around asking people what they pray for.
I was holding the camera and keeping quiet while the Casey asked the questions. I said at the beginning that practically everyone would say ‘peace,’ and I was right.
Casey asked me how I knew that was going to happen, and I said “It’s a time of an unpopular war. Everyone who says peace wants it to end.”
An hour and a half into the thing, we decided we had enough footage, and decided to pack it in after asking one last person. And then we heard a woman’s voice yelling, ‘Ask me! Ask me!’
It was a woman I didn’t recognize, but I was instantly turned off by her ‘Run with Ryun’ polo shirt. Casey seemed to know her, though, and let her know we were with TBC and that we were doing a video project. He asked her what she prayed for, and she said this:
“I pray, every day, that my husband, Jim Ryun, wins re-election for the United States House of Representatives.”
[Mad Biologist: Jim Ryun is a Republican congressman from the second congressional district in Kansas]
I told her she couldn’t say that on a church thing. She seemed generally surprised by this. And then she asked me if I wanted to volunteer for her husband’s campaign.
I was a little taken aback at this, I’ll admit, so my declining her offer may have been a little more rude and abrupt than usual, because she asked me, “Why not? You’re…you’re not a…a Democrat, are you?”
And of course, I told the truth. “Yes, I am,” I said.
“And you’re saved?” Apparently in Mrs. Ryun’s world, you can’t be a Democrat and a Christian at the same time.
“Absolutely,” I said. “I’m also a member of the ACLU.”
She seemed genuinely taken aback at this. She asked specifically what I disagreed with her husband on.
“Well, the torture bill he voted for a couple weeks ago.” She was geniunely clueless as to what I was talking about. “The McCain compromise?” I offered. She then said something derogatory about John McCain, but we were no closer to getting her to understand what the bill was or what it did. “It’s a bill that gives the president to declare anyone he likes–regardless of whether he’s a US citizen–an enemy combatant and thrown in jail without due process.”
Her comeback to this was “Well, are you saying that just because you’re a citizen means you’re not an enemy of this country?”
“Of course not,” I said, “But you’re innocent until proven guilty.”
I don’t know which is more terrifying: her isolation from so many of her fellow citizens, or that she supposedly should be one of the more informed voters, being married to a congressman.
Update: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld also appears to live in a bubble. By way of Christopher Hayes, comes this quote from Woodward’s State of Denial:
There’s something about the body politic in the United States that they can accept the enemy killing innocent men, women and cutting of people’s heads, but have zero tolerance for some soldier who does something he shouldn’t do.
What a jackass. It never occurred to Rumsfeld that many of us hold our fellow citizens to higher moral standards than Al-Queda. It never occurred to Rumsfeld that these wrong acts were done in our name and under our flag. Moron.