He said that once the vote was taken that it is the duty of all citizens to follow the duly elected leaders. Up until that moment, I cautiously had skirted any discussion of politics. I simply had sat in the patient’s chair and nodded affirmatively knowing he and I were polar opposites politically and religiously.
Despite warning signals going off in my head, I asked him if he was aware of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights which guarantees the right of peaceful assembly to protest the actions of elected leaders if those actions are believed to be in opposition to the very constitution those leaders swore to uphold.
He said there are violent demonstrations in the streets and people are rioting and looting and smashing windows.
His office is located in a small community where the closest thing to a riot would be loud cheering at a Friday evening, high school football game.
Incredulous, I asked him where those riots are taking place.
He said all over.
I sat and listened to a highly educated (albeit in a very specific and narrow discipline) person utter paranoid gibberish.
I said that I had been in many, very large, very peaceful protests since the election of 2016 and the only violent protesting that I knew of was in Virginia by white supremacists and I followed that by saying that some, meaning the private militias, on their way down to the border might engage in violence also.
He looked at me like I was a lunatic.
I was in his office, on his turf, and it would have been fruitless to continue.
I left realizing that some of the Deplorables have the prefix Dr. in front of their names and letters of academic achievement following their names.
What’s that about an educated fool?
Later in the day my wife and I entered a church building of a congregation I had once served many years previously. The church is located in a small community of almost exclusively white residents. My son once referred to it as Beaver Cleaver Land. My wife and I are white, senior citizens — pretty harmless looking actually. I write that because of what then took place.
We were looking around at the new construction. I noticed someone in the office and I was making my way through the office area when a man emerged from an office and asked, officiously, if he could help me.
I just wanted to see the building and not engage in a discussion of the past so I said I used to live in the area and had heard the church had gone through extensive renovation and I was interested in seeing it.
My wife and I were given the bum’s rush. He didn’t attempt to throw us out but as we left the office area, he stood barring the door and told us we could view other parts of the building.
Finally, after being treated dismissively, I did state that I was a former pastor, but the person turned on his heels and went back into the room where the staff was having a meeting.
Later, I called the church and spoke to the staff person who treated me and my wife rudely. I quoted Matthew 25 about “caring for the least of these,” and offering hospitality in the name of Jesus regardless of who walked through the doors. He said, in not so many words, that, in light of recent attacks on congregations (meaning the anti-semitic attack and shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh), he thought my wife and I might be terrorists and that he saw it as his duty to protect the property and whatever staff might be on site.
I made the suggestion that if the staff was concerned about people wandering through the office area while they were in a meeting, they could lock the door to the offices, put a sign that the staff was in a meeting and that the visitor should ring the bell for help.
I just shook my head. I asked my wife if she would like to go out for a drink. She sighed and said yes. I said, “Let’s make it a double.”
Welcome to Looney-Tune Land.