Washington Pist journalist, Ms. Inga Thobvious, was working on a series of stories for her paper. The working title of the series was: Why Conservative Christians Love Guns and Hate Minorities. For this article, Inga interviewed Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Bernie Sanders, Dan Rather, and many similar reasonable and fair people. She decided to interview a Conservative Christian to add some flavor to the story.
Problem was, she couldn’t find one.
In her entire rolodex, there were no conservatives and damn few Christians. So she consulted her editor, who searched his rolodex. No luck. She tried watching Fox News, but it made her too angry. She was about to give up the search when inspiration struck. Maybe, she thought, I should leave Washington, D.C., and travel to one of those square states in the middle. Maybe there I’ll find a conservative!
Inga boarded a plane and traveled to a blue state. During her visit to this hellhole of conservative thought, Inga found right wingers raising money for missions to poor towns, volunteering at the local food bank, feeding the homeless, and donating their time and money toward improving their community.
Perplexed, Inga used the internet in her hotel room, and did a little research. She found that conservatives contributed a significant fraction more of their time and income to directly helping the poor than did liberals. Churches ran food drives, arranged for clothing and dry goods to be delivered to the homeless, ministered to the poor, and otherwise fed back to their community from their own table.
The next day, she met an elderly man at the hotel’s breakfast. To qualify him as a source, she asked him her litmus question: “Who do you think is the greatest president ever?”
“Ronald Reagan,” the man said.
Instantly, she knew she had a real conservative. They chatted for a while, then Inga brought up the subject that had been nagging her. “I have to say,” she said, “conservatives are known for being stingy, greedy, hateful racists who only want to subjugate the poor. Why else would you continue to push for reduced government funding for programs targeted at the poor?”
The man scratched his chin a moment. “Let me ask you something first. In sixty years of government handouts for the poor, have the poor gotten wealthier? Or more poor?”
“I….I don’t know.”
“Poorer is the answer. In ninety years of Social Security, can old people afford to retire and live on that income?”
“Since government’s gotten involved in health care, have costs gone up or down?”
Inga felt her face heating. “Kind of…up.”
“A little off topic, but let me ask you this last question.” The man paused for a sip of coffee. “You’ll probably tell me the government should stay out of your womb. Correct?”
“Yet, you want the government—and all of us—to pay for termination of your unwanted pregnancy. True?”
“Well, not mine, no. But the poor women…”
“So even though I don’t like the wholesale flushing of fetal tissue from the womb, I should help fund it?”
“Inga,” the man said, “I feel for the poor, I really do. I’ve been broke, nearly homeless. Struggled to put food on the table. Through a helping hand, some hard work, and a little luck, I got myself out of that situation. My fellow citizens helped me out a little, and I want to help anybody who needs it. A little. Enough to get a start back to self-sufficiency. Not a full time dependency that causes a cycle of helplessness….or maybe I should call it hopelessness.”
Inga spent quite a bit of time with that older gentleman. She took lots of notes. She flew back to Washington a week later and wrote her articles, but they turned out not the way she originally intended. The title changed to: Government Chains, How the Poor are Crushed and Degraded. In those articles, she wrote that conservatives were neither greedy, nor heartless. In fact, when confronted with poverty, right wingers got their hands dirty. They faced the poor and destitute in their community and gave them a helping hand. Churches, she wrote, were not all dens of charlatans and thieves, and some even helped more people than they harmed.
Proud, happy, and glad to be a reporter able to bring the truth to the people, Inga turned in her articles on a clear, bright, sunny Monday morning.
She was fired twenty minutes later.