life

Republican Lives Matter

Bigotry is in full force at Penzeys Spices.

I was skimming through my inbox, minding my own business, when I read this in an e-mail from Bill Penzey, owner of Penzey’s spices:

“The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades.”

A wave of ugliness? You mean like this e-mail? You mean like a vendor insulting a customer in her own home?

He’s right, that kind of ugliness has been heretofore unseen in my inbox.

But I’m a Christian, I can turn the other cheek, cut him a little slack.

Some customers, however, must have complained because today I received another e-mail, an update from Bill:

“You may have read Tuesday Night’s email. In it I said:  “The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let’s commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength.”
Since I ask you to read my emails, I feel it’s only right that I read each of your replies. In sifting through those replies it was clear that, though not intended, a good number of people seemed to sincerely believe that in my statement I was calling all Republicans racists. In the emails of those Republicans who voted for someone other than the party’s nominee, I sensed genuine pain at having the strength of character to not go along with what was happening, but nonetheless be grouped in with those who were. I apologize for writing something that caused you pain; that is not the person I want to be. You are your party’s future, and you deserve my admiration and respect, and your country’s as well.

For the rest of you, you just voted for an openly racist candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. In your defense, most of you did so without thinking of the consequences of your candidate’s racism, because for most of you the heartbreaking destruction racism causes has never been anything you or your loved ones have had to experience. But the thing is elections have their consequences. This is no longer sixty years ago. Whether any of us like it or not, for the next four years the 80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate are going to treat you like you are the kind of person who would vote for an openly racist candidate.

Hold up, Bill, I have to interrupt for a sec.

First, this customer disagrees that our President-elect is racist. It surprises me that a businessman would offend half his customers based on hearsay. Isn’t that bad for business?

Second, “80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate”?

You might want to brush up on your math skills and your understanding of the electoral process. It is impossible to win a presidency with 20% of the vote. And, if I may, there are not enough registered Republican voters to elect a Republican president without the help of a good number of Dems. So you might need to shame your Dem customers, too.

And third, really? Are you really going to demonstrate your great love by shaming your customers? By treating us badly? By being intolerant of us? Isn’t that bigotry?

bigotry

noun
intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself: the difficulties of combating prejudice and bigotry

But back to your e-mail:

“You can get angry at everyone else for treating you like you just did the thing you just did, or you can take responsibility for your actions and begin to make amends. If you are lucky and younger family members are still coming over for Thanksgiving, before it’s too late, take a moment and honestly think about how your actions must look through their eyes. Simply saying “I never thought he’d win” might be enough. But if you have the means, leaving a receipt from a sizable donation to the ACLU or the SPLC accidentally laying around where you carve the turkey, might go over even better.
Or, just do what you do best and volunteer… More often than not, those we meet cooking and serving food to feed those in need are Republicans. You really are a good bunch, but you just committed the biggest act of racism in American history since Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway 53 years ago. Make this right. Take ownership for what you have done and begin the pathway forward.”

I feel your hate.

And this former customer respectfully requests that you leave your heaping helping of hate off my Thanksgiving table.

#percolate  #uglyisbrewingatpenzeys #feltalittlelikeabrickthroughmywindow

 

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life

Protecting Hate

The dilemma was this: Wear the long, festive dress that comes to my ankles, the one with the delicate muted gold crochet over a black liner, or the matronly solid black dress that hits just below the knee?

For a wedding reception, the festive gold, right?

It’s almost a no-brainer: The neckline is high and sophisticated – perfectly modest  for a Muslim wedding reception.  It also has a matching shawl to cover my bare arms.

But the shawl is light, crocheted-lacy. My arms show through a little. Is that okay?

And the dress is form-fitting, shows my curves. Is that okay?

I put on the black dress. Boring. Looks like I’m going to a funeral, not a wedding.

Plus, the dress is supposed to be long. And this one has a slit, which gives an occasional peek at my kneecap.

Back to the gold dress. I search out the hub. “Hey hub, does this look okay?”

“It looks great.”

“Do I look immodest?”

“No.”

Do you think this dress is suitable for a Muslim wedding?”

“I have no idea,” he said, and turned his attention back to football.

valentine

The gold dress on another occasion.

I went back upstairs, put the black dress back on and grabbed a black and silver shawl to cover my arms.

Frumpy but safe. Well, except for the black-tights-covered knee cap.

As my daughter and I entered the reception hall, we were greeted by the bride’s mom and sisters.  Her older sister was wearing a gorgeous form-fitting, blush-colored dress. Shoot.

I had never been to a Muslim wedding reception before. There was no ceremony. A Muslim wedding ceremony is more an engagement ceremony and it rarely takes place on the same day as the wedding reception. In this case, the engagement ceremony occurred a full year ago.

My daughter and I were among the first to arrive. The bride – one of my daughter’s best friends –  had previously told her that we would be sitting at one of the tables reserved for family near the stage. But there were no place cards or seating chart, so we just took a seat among the sea of unreserved tables.

The guests trickled in and then the bride and groom made their processional entrance and took their seats at a special table.

A brother, a father, a sister, an uncle and a best friend each made a speech and said a prayer in a language I don’t understand and then translated them into English.

Mid-way through the speeches, the bride’s mother moved my daughter and me to one if the reserved tables.  I’m not sure why, but as I viewed the vast unreserved tables from my new vantage point, I realized that ours had been the only non-covered heads in a sea of hijab wearing women.

The groom is a recent convert to Islam. His non-Islam mother and sisters-in-law were also there with bare heads. We were re-seated with them.

As dinner wound down and the wall that would separate the men and women went up, the bride’s sister-in-law joined our table and the conversation turned to the hateful things people say on Facebook.  She shared an incident that occurred when she was a girl in a Muslim elementary school. A substitute teacher told her class that all Muslims were going to heaven, and all Christians and Jews were going to hell.  She said she raised her hand and said, “My mother and my aunt are Christians and they are very nice people. They aren’t going to hell.”  And although this young woman was misguided about how salvation works, I was struck by her statement.  If her mom and aunt had not been Christians, if she had not personally known any Christians, her little girl mind would have soaked up the teacher’s blanket statement and she would have gone through life thinking that all Muslims are good and all Jews and Christians are bad.  But, since she knew two Christians who were not bad, her little mind rejected the teaching.

She went on to lament that people tell her she’s really nice and that she is their friend to her face and then write hateful things about people of her religion on Facebook.

I offered that when people speak to her one on one, they are looking at her, thinking of her as an individual.  When they are typing on Facebook, they are forgetting her and thinking of a nameless, faceless group.

This morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I thought of an article I read shortly after the 9/11 attacks.  It reported that one of the terrorist pilots trained under the radar at a flight school in Florida. When his former classmates were interviewed, many commented that the terrorist kept to himself and refused their many invitations to go out for a drink or a meal after class. He refused all of their efforts to get to know him.

His refusal to socialize, I’m guessing, was not so much an attempt to protect his identity as it was an attempt to protect his hate.

He didn’t want to get to know his classmates.  He didn’t want to discover that they were decent human beings. He wanted to hate them. He needed his hate to propel him to carry out his part in the evil scheme.

My friend Alma wrote a really good post.  She said there are people hating on France. Saying they don’t deserve our prayers.

Individuals who were shot, killed, injured, traumatized as they enjoyed a Friday night out don’t deserve our prayers?  Wives, mothers, husbands, brothers, children who tragically lost a loved one don’t deserve our prayers? Wives just like yours, mothers just like yours, children just like yours don’t deserve our prayers?  A city, a country numbed and shaken by an attack of evil don’t deserve our prayers? I shake my head. Has Jesus taught us nothing? I read Alma’s post to my daughter and she shakes her head. Really shakes her head.

Lord have mercy.

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