A small town café. An eclectic group of folks commune at the breakfast counter, shooting the bucolic bull.
"How’s school?" the older, white man asks.
"It sucks," says the young woman. "I don’t like the students."
"Why? Are they Hispanic students?"
"No, actually, mostly white and privileged."
He doesn’t notice her cringe. He doesn’t notice that she is Hispanic.
And picture this.
A flight home after a hectic trip. A lovely young disciple distracts the businesswoman from her work, hoping to save her first soul.
"You have quite a faith there, and you’re bright,” the businesswoman says, deflecting the proselytizing. “You might enjoy the ministry. Have you thought about going to divinity school?”
“Oh, we’re taught that women aren’t suited to being spiritual leaders,” the young disciple says. “Women are driven by too much emotion; men are driven by reason. That’s why god tells them to lead us.”
“It takes some powerful emotions to start and fight a war,” the businesswoman suggests. “You might find men are not as rational as you think. And you might find a church that doesn’t limit your freedom of choice.”
“Oh, no, knowing Jesus has set me free! God gives me the freedom to choose to submit to his will.”
She doesn’t notice the dogma that binds her. She doesn’t notice the profanity of her words.
Then picture this.
A dispersing student government meeting about an anti-hate proclamation. A male administrator and a female student cross paths, to his apparent dismay.
“There seems to be a message from the administration that we shouldn’t name the cause of the proclamation. Why is that?” the student asks.
“Oh, that’s the students’ initiative,” he says, sidling away.
“I’m not talking about the students,” she persists, “I’m talking about the administration’s avoidance of naming the problem.”
“Oh, no, no, that’s the students,” he says through his back, scurrying for cover as though the student is the beast.
He doesn’t notice he’s left her to fend for herself. He doesn’t notice the beast is stalking him as well.
And finally, picture this.
A gathering of wingtipped white men at the Value Voters Summit. A Southern Baptist pastor, waxing didactic, introduces presidential hopeful Gov. Rick Perry.
“Rick Perry is a proven leader,” Pastor Jeffress intones, doing the devil’s work. “He is a true conservative, and he is a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. … He is willing to stand up and defund that slaughterhouse for the unborn known as Planned Parenthood!”
“Are you talking about Mitt Romney?” the media pounce in a proper flurry. “Are you saying Mormonism isn’t genuine Christianity?”
“It is not Christianity,” the pastor reassures them. “It’s a cult.”
“And he knocks it out of the park!” Perry roars, disregarding the nation’s 14 million Mormons.
He doesn’t notice the slaughterhouse comment. He doesn’t notice the 156.5 million women in the United States he would represent.
What is wrong with these pictures?
Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and is republished by SDGLN, The Ocean Beach Rag and The Progressive Post. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize while working for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at email@example.com.
Image of Woolworth’s counter by *Kid*Doc*One*