The three women in the car thought that the story was shocking, but I found it very encouraging. I have no illusions about the existence of racism, but it is nice to think that people can overcome it sufficiently to see where their economic interests lie. My father was fond of saying that Ronald Reagan’s genius was in convincing a lot of members of the middle class that they could afford to be Republicans.
Speaking of the crazy things that people believe, I just started reading Matt Taibbi's The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, & Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire. His take on Pastor John Hagee's support for Christian Zionism is brilliant:
[I]t was unmistakably an ingenious solution to the problem of how to rallyPart of Taibbi's research involved joining Hagee's Cornerstone Church and learning how to vomit demons into a paper bag at a weekend retreat.
southern conservative Christians a few generations removed from their
cross-burning Klan days to the cause of Israel. If it turns out that it was
dreamed up by the same guy who figured out how to get laid-off Midwestern
factory workers to whoop for free-trade Republicanism by plastering the airwaves
with French-kissing men, I have to say, that guy deserves some kind of special
medal—a Triple Order of Satan, or something like that.
I could not help but think of Sarah Palin as I read Taibbi's assessment of the possibility of rational political discourse with such people:
By the end of the weekend I realized how quaint was the mere suggestion that
Christians of this type should learn to “be rational” or “set aside your
religion” about such things as the Iraq war or other policy matters. Once
you’ve made a journey like this—once you’ve gone this far—you are beyond
suggestible. It’s not merely the informational indoctrination, the
constant belittling of homosexuals and atheists and Muslims and pacifists, etc.,
that’s the issue. It’s that once you’ve gotten to this place you have left
behind the mental process that a person would need to form an independent
opinion about such things.