One day after John Ekdahl set Twitter on fire by daring to ask reporters if they knew anyone who owned a pickup truck (since pickup trucks are the most popular vehicles sold in America), the New York Times almost preternaturally published the answer.
“Why Rural America Voted for Trump.” It’s got to the the biggest head-scratcher the Gray Lady has ever encountered. Either flyover country is filled with sheet-wearing, toothless bigots who “cling to guns and religion,” or maybe there’s another explanation. But first, they had to find a reporter who, you know, actually knows rural people who own pickup trucks.
They found Robert Leonard, who describes himself as “a native Iowan and reporter in rural Marion County, Iowa,” and a liberal. President-elect Trump took Marion County 61.5 percent to 30.7 percent for Clinton, so Leonard either lives as a hermit or he knows some pickup-truck-owning actual conservatives and (gasp!) Christians.
Leonard quoted Baptist minister J.C. Watts:
“The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe people are fundamentally bad, while Democrats see people as fundamentally good,” said Mr. Watts, who was in the area to campaign for Senator Rand Paul. “We are born bad,” he said and added that children did not need to be taught to behave badly — they are born knowing how to do that.
“We teach them how to be good,” he said. “We become good by being reborn — born again.”
He continued: “Democrats believe that we are born good, that we create God, not that he created us. If we are our own God, as the Democrats say, then we need to look at something else to blame when things go wrong — not us.”
Upon hearing Christianity 101, “we are sinners,” Leonard described it as an “epiphany.”
I thought, no wonder Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on things like gun control, regulations or the value of social programs. We live in different philosophical worlds, with different foundational principles.
It hit him like Neo swallowing the red pill. Most liberals swallow the blue pill and remain in their safe, self-affirming bubble where everyone agrees with them. But Leonard swallowed the red pill and achieved self-awareness.
Reading Leonard’s account is like me swallowing the red pill for conservatives. Who actually wouldn’t know this? Who wouldn’t know that Christians–even lapsed, social, shallow Christians–believe that we are born sinners, with no good in us? Who would think that conservatives believe what we believe because we agree that man tends toward good if left alone?
I wouldn’t have believed it had Ekdahl’s question not exposed liberals to the “Real World” yesterday. They reacted with what I see now is predictable denial.
“The blue pill! Swallow the blue pill!”
Erick Erickson wondered in a tweet how reporters would react if they were asked something truly offensive.
And here’s the thing. City-dwelling liberals, who have never had contact with anyone who owns a pickup truck, or goes to church, or believes man is basically reprobate in heart, capable of all kinds of evil, can offer no explanation for people who do. They feel they have to invent reasons to explain to themselves so they can go back to the blue pill.
Of course, Vanity Fair just couldn’t just let Pratt tell his own story of salvation. God forbid (literally) they simply respect his story and his faith without judgment. Author Rich Cohen feels the deep responsibility to soothe his obviously more evolved readers who might be horrifically shocked to find out their favorite Hollywood actor actually believes in…gasp…JESUS.
Here’s how VF’s Rich Cohen handled that dose of red pill…with an overdose of blue pills.
“Quick! The whole bottle! Now!”
O.K. Let’s stop for a moment. Because this is strange and so distant from what we expect of a movie star, especially of the clever, slapdash, wise-guy variety. But everyone needs a story to make sense of their life. Even the most successful. The extreme demands explanation. For Pratt, success, so extreme it scared him, is explained by metaphysical intervention. Which caused him to take control. In that moment, he yielded. His path has been clear ever since.
There couldn’t actually be a white-bearded guy in the sky controlling everything to whom one can yield one’s life, so Pratt must have invented this Jesus person to “make sense” of his life. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
“More blue pills! Mmmf! Gulp!”
Perhaps Cohen should talk to Leonard, who actually knows some real red pill-swallowing, work-a-day Christians who own pickup trucks. Between the two of them, I’m sure they can put the experience in proper perspective so that liberals are not disturbed from their self-deluding groupthink meetings.
They really don’t get it. They’re so far from getting it that they don’t even want to know why they don’t get it.
Meanwhile, somewhere at the New York Times, they’re passing around the bottle.
“Please! More blue pills! Someone tweeted asking if I’ve read Hillbilly Elegy!”