My brother and I got on the metro yesterday when a woman donning an African accent asked, "What organization are you guys from?"
Like a boxer punched in the nose and stunned into motionlessness, I didn't have the capabilities to answer that question. I asked her to repeat the question just to buy some time. She asked again and I paused again.
Finally, breaking the awkward silence, I answered, "We're just going to the baseball game," I pointed to my shirt. I continued, "But I think the large crowd is because of the Glenn Beck speech." She didn't know who that was so I explained, "He's some conservative TV show host who gave a speech today." She nodded and turned to mind her own business.
Staring out of the window at the Beckian masses, each of whom appeared to be caricatures of themselves- old white people decked out in red, white and blue, and 100 or so pounds overweight- I commented to my brother, "There's real America." My tongue pressed against my left cheek.
My brother, still harboring the memories of spending four years in western Ohio, decided this wasn't the moment to let insinuations go unspoken. He added, "And it's terrible."
Conservatives will look at that comment and accuse us of a sense of superiority. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's a Christian urge to try to convert everyone to their own point of view. We Jews tend to prefer to mind our own business when it comes to talk of conversion. They can have their "Real" America, whatever that means. It's a faux contest I'm not interested in playing. I just want to be one little piece of humanity.