Tuesday, January 13, 2009

When ignorance is not bliss ... for the rest of us

It seems that Barack Obama has asked Eugene Robinson, the gay bishop from New Hampshire (sadly) whose ordination has split the Episcopal Church, to pray at his inauguration. This move is, in part, to make up for having Rick Warren, the famous Evangelical Christian pastor from California, give the invocation at the inauguration. Liberals have been up in arms about Warren's role in the inauguration, not least because he opposes same-sex marriage. This would be the same opposition to same-sex marriage shared by a clear majority of Americans in most states (even in uber-Liberal California).

It's become patently obvious to me that, whomever the elites of the Democratic Party reflexively identify with, it's not average Americans. (This isn't a plug for Republicans, by the way. As this Bush administration made abundantly clear over the past 8 years, the groups the GOP reflexively identifies with are big business and anyone who can shovel money down their greedy little throats -- not average Americans and certainly not Evangelical or Conservative Christians, whom the GOP has repeatedly used and abused for electoral gain while giving them next to nothing to show for it beyond pretty rhetoric.) This point became so obvious over the summer as Liberals were hyperventilating and frothing at the mouth over Sarah Palin that my father, about as pro-Obama and anti-Bush a person as I know, turned away in disgust.

The point that turned him on to how tuned out so many Liberal elites are to real Americans was their denunciations of Palin's prayer in her local church for the Iraq war. My father's an avowed atheist, but he was raised a staunch Baptist and he's familiar with how people pray in church. He, like most Americans, saw nothing wrong with Palin's prayer, which was for protection for US soldiers and for the US to be in line with God's will, and nothing more.

It dawned on him that the people denouncing Palin for her prayer did so because they simply had no idea what she was doing. They likely hadn't gone to church that much (or at all) in their lives. They didn't know what a regular prayer sounded like. Even though well over half of Americans go to church (or synagogue, or mosque, or temple, etc.) at least twice a month, the elites criticizing Palin, the people claiming the right to speak for the People, knew almost nothing about something so important to so many Americans.

My father contrasted this glaring ignorance with the chapter and verse knowledge these same elites had about the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community. LGBTs comprise about 7-10% of Americans (and 10% is VERY generous). Christians of Palin's type, conservative Evangelical Christians, comprise around 25% of Americans. That's not counting Catholic or mainstream Protestant Christians who take their faith seriously and pray and go to church regularly, nor does it take regularly practicing Jews, Muslims, or Mormons (to name just a few major religious groups) into account. Add those folks in and you're easily at 55% of Americans. And the elites of the Democratic Party know almost nothing about the faith that's one of the main motivating factors in their lives, nor do they have much sympathy for it.

Contrast that, again, with their overabundance of sympathy for the 7-10% of Americans that fall into the LBGT category, and you get a clear picture for who Liberals generally identify with. Give GOP elites credit: they know that they have to at least fake a modicum of understanding of most Americans. Democratic elites, it seems, don't know what they don't know yet. These are the same people who will be running the entire federal government in a week. I don't think they're going to have a blast of insight about the depths of their ignorance in that time. For all of us who don't fall into the 7-10% of Americans that they identify with and care about, it looks like it will be a long 4 years.

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