Freaking me out.
I mentioned earlier that I'm at an artists' retreat. I certainly didn't expect to come across this from artsy fartsy people:
"If everyone carried guns, there wouldn't have been a massacre at Virginia Tech..."
and other lovely sentiments. Perhaps there wouldn't have been a massacre there but surely there would be other massacres and shootouts across the country. I'm just thinking about what fun it would be in a subway at rush hour in NY if everyone carried guns. God forbid. Huge metropolitan areas do not need legalized weapons. It would be a blood bath.
Last night I met up with a couple of grandmotherly women from Baton Rouge. They were fun, playful, humorous and quite talented. I did notice however that they were very afraid- they slept with the lights on and kept the tv on at all times in their room. I don't know how immigration came up, but it did, and somehow I was informed that all the evils in this country come directly from immigrants- legal, illegal, naturalized citizens, green card people. Naturally, I objected- politely- and I asked if there was a solution at this point. Why certainly- The US should just require that everyone who isn't born here must go home.
"Naturalized citizens?" I asked.
"Of course. You know that all the 9/11 hijackers were naturalized US citizens."
"Most of them were Saudi's."
"In Baton Rouge, we were told that they were naturalized citizens."
"That's incorrect information. Who told you that?"
"I don't know."
"I don't know."
"What do you think about the war in Iraq?" I asked.
"I think it's a disaster," she said.
I was relieved.
She went on to clarify, "The problem with the US is that ground wars should never be fought. The only way to wage war is to annihilate... to just decimate the whole country."
I picked myself up off the floor, "But we were supposed to "liberate" the Iraqi's from the "evil" Saddam who had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists. If we nuked Iraq, we would have killed millions of innocent people."
"Honey, you ought to read the bible. God would want us to annihilate them."
"I have read the bible, but I am more of a Jesus person- help the poor, feed the hungry, heal the sick, blessed are the meek, etc."
"Well I am a christian pastor. So is my husband. And we take the bible very seriously"
Uh oh. Here we go, I thought. My first, in person, dialogue with one of those people I read so much about- the killer christianistas. I told myself to stop thinking that because I am just as prejudiced as they are.
"I have a masters degree in theology and it's not one of the tenets of christianity to annihilate people. Of course in the history of christianity, a whole lot of ground wars were fought. But annihilation? nah. Not nowadays.
"Oh yes it is. Jesus had a lot to say about that."
"Really? I must have forgotten that part. It's been a long time. Would you please show me that in the bible?"
Needless to say, she was flipping through the bible and did not come up with the parts where Jesus orders us to annihilate our enemies. She attempted to show me stuff from the historical parts of the Old Testament, but I declined to discuss that part because it is irrelevent to christianity.
I changed the subject after that because the ladies had wheels and I wanted to go to the mall. I was also rather flabbergasted at how such "sweet" ladies could harbor such intolerance and condone so much hatred in the world. I had to sleep on it.
At first, I was ready to write them off as a lost cause. I was upset because our federal lawmakers are influenced by these people and it impacts my life all the way up north. I don't appreciate that people of these beliefs can wage war in my name, thank you very much. But then it came to me while I was talking to Billydoom on the phone last night...
These folks need MORE immigrant infusion- sorry DAR- immigrants from all over the world and a lot more Jews and Muslims and Catholics and Episcopalians and Buddhists and Pagans. It would take a generation or so, but the only way to eradicate this fear and hatred for others is to live with them side by side. When people all start to intermarry, the separations become minute. I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who lives in an area where it seems sometimes that everyone is from somewhere else in the world. Sure we have bigots where I live, but their opinions are not welcome in the greater society.
You know how sometimes you don't like a painting or a whole groups of paintings by a particular artist or the art of a whole period in history? When you learn about the time and place and the philosophy of those who created the works, you can learn to appreciate them, even if you wouldn't want to hang the painting in your living room.
So I just think if enough folks from somewhere else lived in some parts of the south and interacted with the folks daily, there'd be a change in the weather. But that's just my opinion and I could be wrong.
Next time, I'll tell you about my interviews with folks from Colorado Springs.