Interesting look at the rural folk who overwhelmingly supported L’il Duce for prez in today’s New York Times. It’s no news that there’s an almost irreparable political and philosophical breach between city people and their country cousins in this holy land. But Iowa radio station news hound Robert Leonard lives among the population that thinks a barn loft constitutes a towering vantage point from which to view the land.
Leonard speaks with a number of back-country denizens and gets them to talk about…, well, what life is. All life. Theirs. Ours. Everybody’s. He writes:
They are conservative, believe in hard work, family, the military and cops, and they know that abortion and socialism are evil, that Jesus Christ is our savior, and that Donald J. Trump will be good for America.
He goes on to quote preacher/pol, JC Watts, who mapped the gap between the two poles of the American spectrum:
“The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe people are fundamentally bad, while Democrats see people as fundamentally good. We are born bad.”
Watts said little kids don’t learn how to be bad; it’s innate in them. “We teach them how to be good,” [Watts] said. “We become good by being reborn — born again.”
I worked at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois way, way, way back in the late ’70s when I fancied a possible career in the medical field. I already was a registered EMT and I worked in the surgery department at the H. for a couple of years. West Sub was chock-full of god-ists, primarily Protestants, as opposed to much of the rest of Chicagoland which generally is as Catholic as bingo. It was a shocker, to be sure. I’d never had much truck with Christianists — believe me, Catholics cannot be lumped with the Christianists; different animals altogether — until I hit West Sub.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the citizenry of Oak Park and the West Side of Chi. — the neighborhoods from which West Sub drew both its customers and its staff — are not, at first glance, terribly similar to, say, someone from Marion County Iowa, Leonard’s base of ops. But inasmuch as they share the non-Catholic Christianity thing, they resemble each other in a far deeper sense than their accents or their wardrobes would indicate.
One guy, an operating room tech. named Willis, was the first person ever to inform me that a person could not go to heaven unless he was “born again.” Even when I argued for a person who was pure of heart and loving to all, Willis shook his head. “Nope,” he said. “Unless that person is born again he won’t spend eternity with the lord.” I struggled for weeks to wrap my coconut around that.
Then there was April, another OR tech. She informed me the Earth was only six thousand years old. I countered: What about the dinosaurs?
“Uh-uh,” said she.
“Yeah, but there are fossils….”
She, too, shook her head. “Those,” she said, “were planted by Satan to confuse us.”
Then there was a young guy named Mike, an orderly. He and I got around to talking about kids one day. If a kid hadn’t been baptized, he informed me, and he up and died, he’d spend eternity in limbo, never to be afforded the opportunity to see the face of the lord.
“That’s nuts,” I said, my voice rising.
“No. He was born with sin in him.”
“But he had no choice,” I said, now nearly shouting. “You want him punished forever for that?”
“That’s the way it is,” he said, eerily calmly.
There are things in this world I don’t understand — and likely never will. Religion and god. And people who think Donald J. Trump will be good for America.
Spirit In The Sky
A man dies, goes to heaven, and meets St. Peter. St. Peter gives him a tour and shows him the various groups of people.
“Over there,” says St. Pete, “are the Episcopalians. Over there are the Lutherans. Over there are the Jews, and there are the Muslims. Over there are the Hindus.”
Finally, before they get to the next group, St. Peter says “Shush, be quiet.” The man asks why.
St. Pete replies, “Those are the Southern Baptists. They think they’re the only ones here.”