CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©
Today close-minded old white people will go to church and give thanks that God has rightly anointed them to choose the next president of the US, a choice that will have great impact on the other 4 billion people in the world as well as the 318 million in the US.
Well, not just all closed-minded old white people. In fact, only about 122 thousand of us. That is how many folks will go to the Iowa caucuses tomorrow night. I used to be one of them.
They will be white because all people in Iowa are white. They will be old because it is only old people who have the leisure to leave home at supper time, when younger people are either at work or feeding their children. Old people don’t have to find and pay a baby-sitter.
They are all close-minded, for those are the rules of the caucuses. You have to be registered as a Republican to participate in a Republican caucus. The same for Democrats. Caucus-goers are determined to vote for their candidate in the general election, even if their candidate is an incompetent scumbag and the other party’s candidate is honorable and multi-talented. That’s why only 25% of registered Republicans and Democrats in Iowa come to the caucuses. Even though registered, they are still somewhat open-minded. Also they have all gone to FL for the winter.
So these 122 K people will show up around 6 pm and stay as long as it takes. It won’t take long, though, because they want to get home before the blizzard hits, or, especially, so they can see themselves on the ten o-clock news shows, being interviewed as they left the caucus by shivering TV network commentators who will explain to them why they voted as they did.
They will assemble in school buildings and libraries and mosques [Bazinga!] and armories and gas stations. Yes, gas stations, if that is the only place the officials could find in the precinct, or if the official’s brother-in-law owns the station. The Republicans and Democrats will be segregated into different rooms, or lube racks, and told who their candidates are, and required to line up on different walls according to which candidate they support. You literally have to “stand by your man.” [Oh, don’t be picky—yes, Carly and Hillary are included. Although, as the song says, “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…”]
Then those who, like the cheese, stand alone are harangued by those on the multi-peopled walls-- people they know, their neighbors, people they have to face every day, no secrecy here—and told that obviously their candidate does not stand a chance so unless they want to be labeled forever as a loser, they need to cross over the grease pit, or slip around the teacher’s desk, and join the majority. Once those individuals cave, the bigger groups start haranguing at the walls with only two people. That goes on until there is a wall with 16 people and one with 9 and one with 3 irascible curmudgeons who are going to support their candidate come hell or high water, and who also have the leisure and money to attend the state party convention in Des Moines later to vote for their candidate there. That’s right; the process does not end with the caucuses, even though the candidates and the cameras are gone by midnight, not to return to the Hawkeye state for another four years.
On TV, the candidate who got three votes in that precinct will proclaim that third place is actually a great spot to be, for he spent only two million dollars for each vote, where as those folks who finished first and second paid five million per vote, so he has lots of money to go on to New Hampshire, and also a mandate from the people, three old extremist white people per precinct, to carry on.
I would not worry so much about this process were I not a close-minded old white man who lives in the midst of a close-minded old white people, aka as a condo complex. I know just how closed these minds are. I know how little we understand the world, how easily we are persuaded by those who have the most money to barrage us with the most vitriol, and promises of senior citizen discounts.
So I shall go to church today to pray, as are my contemporaries in Iowa. I shall pray for them, that they will be open to the Holy Spirit to be led to stand at the wall where it is written, “God so loved the world…”
John Robert McFarland