Friday, April 04, 2008

I was reminded this week...

...just how divorced from reality some people in this state really are. Honestly, if I ever start spouting liberal and revisionist history inanities...SEND HELP. Really.

I was sitting a table of the weekly meeting of service organization x, when a long time member sitting next to me starts espousing a book he read about how this country wasn't founded as a Christian nation, it was founded as a religious nation, and how that meant that everyone was welcome right from the start, christians, jews, agnostics, atheists, Mohammedans...

I thought about congratulating him on his recognition that atheists have a religion too...its just that they are at the center of it, but I didn't think I could endure the predictable backpedaling with a straight face. The same was true in asking for an example of "Mohammedan" influence on early American law or culture, but I wouldn't be able to listing to the stammering without humming the Jeopardy tune and doing the buzzer with some snarky remark about betting the wad and coming up short.

But the offense wasn't over. Someone else at the table had to give their not-so-carefully considered two cents worth on why strict constructionism was a flawed concept in Constitutional law. "The founding fathers just couldn't conceive of what we could accomplish with technology. Abortion wouldn't have been something they could anticipate." I'm sorry, infanticide is new? All we did was change the timing and location, but life is life, and if you look at the freaking PREAMBLE, its clear they held it in high esteem. One of my table mates, who I suspect shares my closet conservative outlook looked up from his lunch, and said in my direction (as one of two attorneys sitting at the table) "It isn't so hard to apply strict constructionism, is it? Attorneys do it all the time."

Before I could answer, legal scholar number three chimed in and said "Its really about common sense. It isn't so hard. Its just that these conservatives don't get it." At this point, I would have paid money to have Justice Scalia sitting at the table, but I didn't rise to the bait. Legal scholar number four chimed in, "Didn't we have a founding document called that?" Light, condescending laughter followed. By now, I was swallowing my tongue in an attempt to avoid saying "Really? I thought that was a pamphlet designed to rally a patriotic spirit at a time when colonial morale was deservedly low? Perhaps you can tell me how 'Common Sense', by Thomas Paine, had such a unique and lasting impression on the law and its interpretation in this society?"

Then, religious historian starts talking about how 'the media' really has done the Left Reverend Wright ("God Damn America!") a terrible wrong, and how he really is a fine man of God with a great track record of helping his community. I almost choked on the water I was drinking. "A great man of God who takes God's name in vain as he gives a sermon in church? His community? That would be Americans? No, hyphenated Americans. I forgot." all rose to the surface in my head. Then, the other attorney at the table said that he was really leaning toward Obama. I shut my mouth to keep my jaw off the floor. I absolutely stifled the urge to say "I wouldn't lean toward Obama if I were relieving myself and his head was on fire."

At that point, I was glad for two things. One, I didn't buy the lunch. I don't think I could have kept it down, and two, the meeting was called to order.

The purpose of this story? To demonstrate that even otherwise reasonable and sane people can be stark raving batshit insane on important things. Oh, and my table mate who tried to bait me into the fray? I noticed he didn't finish his lunch. He pushed the plate away shortly after the Obama remark.