Sunday, March 16, 2014

Senator* Phil Jensen, Race, And "Revelation"

This morning's Rapid City Journal reports that Phil Jensen, a South Dakota state senator, believes "businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer's race or religion." According to Jensen, this behavior that the "majority" will find "detestable" can be "fairly addressed by the free market." Jensen also supports drug testing welfare recipients but laughingly admits he hasn't thought about drug testing those who receive other government subsidies

If this situation follows the pattern established when others have made similar gaffes, revealing "a truth the politician did not intend to admit," Jensen and his allies will soon complain that the Liberal Media and RINOs are misconstruing his comments. That effort is beginning. By tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday, he will claim to be a victim of political correctness run amok.

I'm going to help Jensen play the victim card. He's a victim of an insular political system that allows him to get elected without serious opposition. As a politically conservative evangelical Christian, he's a victim of a cognitive-dissonance-filled philosophy that combines Ayn Rand and Christianity in a way that tortures logic to death. And, were I a betting man, I'd bet that he's a victim of an education that did not have him read Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation."

Ruby Turpin, the story's protagonist, spends most of her nights trying to rank African-Americans, poor whites, middle class folks, and the rich. While race is key element in her hierarchy, the most important criterion is understanding "that you had to have certain things before you could know certain things." After being physically assaulted my a young woman who tells Ruby, "'Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog,'" Ruby has a vision while washing down some hogs.
Until the sun slipped finally behind the tree line, Mrs. Turpin remained there with her gaze bent to them as if she were absorbing some abysmal life-giving knowledge. At last she lifted her head. There was only a purple streak in the sky, cutting through a field of crimson and leading, like an extension of the highway, into the descending dusk. She raised her hands from the side of the pen in a gesture hieratic and profound. A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were tumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black[s]. . . in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer.They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They, alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces even their virtues were being burned away. She lowered hands and gripped the rail of the hog pen, her eyes small but fixed unblinkingly on what lay ahead. In a moment the vision faded but she remained where she was.
Jensen's view that the market will correct bigotry and hate ignores Biblical injunction that the human heart is deceitful. It ignores James Madison's reminder that men are not angels. It is based on the view that those who have things must know things and have the "given wit" to use them right. Flannery O'Connor knew that attitude leads to self-satisfied virtues that have no basis. Jensen has yet to learn that lesson.

Update: Bob Ellis has the victim card piece up 12 hours ahead of schedule.
*Post was originally and erroneously headlined Representative. 

1 comment:

Gypsy in Disguise said...

I find it disconcerting that I cannot tell if the KKK comments in the Journal on-line version of the article are real or just very well-crafted satire. Damn the Onion!