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Thursday, May 8, 2008

In Search of Those Hard Working White People

posted by on May 8 at 16:40 PM

Hello from Medford, Oregon, way down south near the border with California, where the view from the Holiday Inn Express is as follows:


I’m here to attend a Hillary Clinton town hall meeting this evening at the Jackson County Fairgrounds—a place where, a friend familiar with rural Oregon tells me, I am sure to find many of those “hard-working, white Americans” that Clinton is staying in the race to represent.

Check back later to see how I do and what the white people tell me, but for now I bring you the hard working white man who I sat next to on the plane from Seattle:


That’s David Kirby, 44, the pastor at United Family Fellowship in Klamath Falls, Oregon, just a short drive from Medford. He’s not a Democrat so, unfortunately, I don’t think he falls into the class of hard working white people that Clinton is courting. However, he did have some interesting things to say about Obama.

Kirby is one of those fascinating people who both know that Obama spent 20 years at a certain Chicago church and firmly believe that Obama is a secret Muslim.

“All the evidence points to that he is,” Kirby told me. “I don’t trust him.”

The evidence Kirby has received comes in the form of emails from “watch dog groups” that he listens to, as well as chatter among his friends. He’s heard it all—Obama not saying the pledge of allegiance, Obama’s pastor engaging in hate speech, Obama being a Muslim—and he believes it all.

Granted, he also thinks Hillary Clinton is “crooked as a snake” and he wishes Mike Huckabee had won the Republican contest, but Kirby is nevertheless quite worried about a potential Obama presidency: “Having a Muslim for a president—if he’s true to his faith he’s going to be pushing the Muslim faith.”

I asked Kirby why he thinks Obama went to church for 20 years if he’s in fact Muslim.

“I have no idea,” he replied. “A lot of people have political reasons behind everything they do.”

And why would Obama lie about his alleged Muslim faith?

“If people of your faith had attacked New York City, and that is still fresh in Americans’ minds, wouldn’t you lie about it?”

What would it take to convince him that Obama is a Christian?

“If I heard him say Jesus Christ is Lord it would cause me to listen to him.”

I told Kirby that Obama has, in fact, said he believes in Jesus. Repeatedly.

“Oh, really,” he replied. “I didn’t know that. I hadn’t heard that.”

Kirby gets most of his news from email and the Internet, he told me, and then he instructed me that even if Obama does believe in Jesus, “believing in Jesus and believing that He is Lord are two different things.”

Kirby is from Albertville, Alabama, and he said he used to be filled with prejudice but that Jesus has filled his heart with love. “I don’t even know you, man, but I love you,” he told me.

If he only knew.

After I finish asking him questions about the presidential race he starts asking me about my religion. He finds out I’m Jewish. He wants to know if I believe in God. The snack cart interrupts.

I figure it’s dangerous to go down this road, so I decline to mention that airplanes are actually one of the few places where God and I have words.

He asks if I believe in the Book of Revelations. I tell him no, and, gosh, I’m really tired, should probably take a nap.

After the plane lands he tells me he’s going to pray for me as he’s getting into bed tonight. He also tells me that he hopes this image—him talking to God about me in bed—is with me while I’m in bed tonight.

RSS icon Comments


And this is why travel is enlightening.

Posted by Juan | May 8, 2008 4:49 PM

You've GOT to send this in to Reader's Digest.

This man IS a memorable character.

Posted by michael strangeways | May 8, 2008 4:57 PM

Isn't it funny how people who say their hearts are filled with love can scare the crap out of you?

Posted by elenchos | May 8, 2008 4:59 PM

Oh, Obama's a Muslim alright. Looks like he's got you liberal fruits suckered real good.

Posted by Colonel Sanders | May 8, 2008 5:04 PM

One question... what's with you guys linking to stories you wrote for The Stranger on your personal sites? Are you trying to increase your personal google page rank? Does The Stranger want users diverted off the site and away from your ads? I don't care, I just think it's really odd.

Posted by John | May 8, 2008 5:07 PM

Actually elenchos, having been raised conservative Christian, I can tell you that "I love you and I'm praying for you" is often code for "You're a sick fuck and I'm sure you're going to hell, but I score brownie points with the Lord for not saying that out loud."

Posted by Hernandez | May 8, 2008 5:08 PM

Sounds like he was coming on to you.

Posted by JW | May 8, 2008 5:10 PM

ok, to have most fun you need to try to convert THEM, go on the offensive. i spent a flight from chicago to atlanta 'witnessing' to this girl that her evengelical ways were a short road to hell and that only the one true catholic church along with devotion to the saints was going to save her. her eyes bugged out over the saints but it was worth it. long story short after 30 minutes SHE was the one trying to take a nap.

Posted by Jiberish | May 8, 2008 5:12 PM

Imagine, a church pastor willing to believe hearsay without evidence.

Posted by pox | May 8, 2008 5:23 PM

With that last paragraph, I want to add a joke about "bad touch" and "pastor". But it's all creepy. So that's why I've not kept going south past Portland on I-5 . . .

Posted by Cow | May 8, 2008 5:29 PM

the only good thing about mccain being the nominee is maybe people like this will just decide to take a little break from voting in november.

Posted by josh | May 8, 2008 5:35 PM

Good luck with the white folks, Eli. Call if you need rescuing!

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell! | May 8, 2008 5:36 PM

Ten years ago this guy most likely didn't even know what email and the internet were and now relies on them for a good portion of his news. Awesome.

Posted by kurt | May 8, 2008 6:18 PM

And here you thought that he couldn't really love you, despite being a stranger even.

(There is a ill-taste joke in here somewhere about anonymous gay sex. But since I can't seem to make it, I'm going to claim ignorance.)

Posted by K | May 8, 2008 6:21 PM

did the part where he asked you to think about him in bed thinking about you in bed creep you the fuck out? because just reading it makes me want to shower.

Posted by brandon | May 8, 2008 6:54 PM

Best Hillary You Tube Ever!!

Posted by Mike in Iowa | May 8, 2008 7:15 PM

He sounds closeted. I mean rilli. It's like he's totally saying "like, when you are in bed tonight, think about me, OK, in bed, giving God a bj, thinking about you."

Posted by Prairie Wheeler | May 8, 2008 7:46 PM

@6 - you should hear the way my grandma says "Well, bless her pretty little heart!" Absolutely chilling.

Posted by quisone | May 8, 2008 8:13 PM

My relatives send me those e-mails. They are truly vile in their ignorance.

Worse, in many cases there are Republican operatives hired to write and spread them.

Posted by StC | May 8, 2008 8:58 PM

Oregon...that's the state where they kept on voting against all tax increases until they didn't have enough money to keep the schools open more than 7 months a year, right?

Posted by Tiktok | May 8, 2008 9:47 PM

Wait..... Eli is a HOMO????

Geez, this changes everything.

Posted by catnextdoor | May 9, 2008 3:03 AM

I grew up about 10 miles south of Medford in Ashland. Without fail, the conversation with anyone from Medford would eventually reach the point where they would ask me about all the fags in Ashland. It may be the ugliest city on the west coast.

Posted by Chip | May 9, 2008 7:32 PM

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