Thursday, September 27, 2018


So I spent Wednesday sitting in the basement hallway of the Pondera County courthouse, waiting to get my driver's license renewed and obsessing over what unexpected requirement might pop up.  Would there were a test of laws?  Would someone demand a copy of a paper proving my old old pickup had passed a safety test? Would I have to produce a proof of current insurance when it had been cancelled until 2AM when my SSA check hit the bank and I paid online what was due with my bank debit card which doesn't give a person a receipt? (Actually, it did, but it went into the "junk" category and I only fished it out when I got home.)  I was pretty sure I didn't have to have an appointment for a license and that I had to pay in advance upstairs.  

There was a little red dispenser where a person had to get a number, and then there was a paper to complete, using a clipboard that was floating around the area.  (No tables.)  The other people waiting were very helpful and explained what to do.  There were two older ladies, one from Great Falls which had become overwhelmed so that the bureaucrats there sent her an hour north to Conrad and another who was local.  Others included a vaguely Irish older man in a camo vest, a couple of boys who were probably older than they seemed to me, and a very large Blackfeet man.

I thought I might know this last guy, so when he had to call his wife on his cell phone to find out the physical address of their house for the questionnaire, I asked if they lived out in the country.  No street names.  "On the two track to the so-and-so ranch, just two rez dumpsters past the main cow herd."  He laughed and agreed.  We chatted but then his number was called.

The LOL from Great Falls was reading a big fat book.  I asked whether it was a novel, but she explained that it was history about the Revolutionary War.  Then I got really brave and remarked that the fourth Kavanaugh accuser had showed up in the media today.  The rest of the conversation was fascinating.  

Everyone seemed to think they might be held responsible somehow.  They were indignant in a kind of push-the-button way -- rape, porn, pedo -- It was like a checklist of trigger words.  They were quick to explain how innocent they were personally.  The guy in camo turned out to have been a cop most of his life in small towns and vast counties, usually a matter of picking up pieces.  He assured us that he had attended murder investigation classes taught by the FBI and he therefore knew that this rape case wouldn't lead to a conviction that would hold up -- no evidence, you see.  He knew about the chain of evidence.  I commented that there was no trial -- that we were looking for someone of good character who would be fair on the highest court of the land.  We were all quiet for a few minutes.

The man said he was opening up a gun shop because of his law enforcement background.  (I didn't say that I would think it more reasonable to get guns out of people's hands.)  One of the old ladies told about what a good shot she had been and described shooting three raccoons who had invaded her place.  The other old lady wanted us to know she was descended from one of the suffering soldiers at Valley Forge with General Washington.  Everyone admired these intrepid old ladies.

I wondered what the Blackfeet man would have said.  I don't think the others would have said much when he was still here.  The young men were silent anyway.  In a while the talk dwindled.  In the end I think no one really knew what to say except that they were against bad things: rape, porn, pedo, and being unarmed and therefore vulnerable.

These folks only watched Fox or CNN so hadn't seen the clip of Trump's theatrical claims at the UN being met with laughter from the German delegation.  "Those Germans had better treat us respect!  We saved their country for them in the War."  Clearly she meant WWII.  I remarked that was 70 years ago.  The prospective gunshop owner said he had been stationed in Germany and actually saw the Wall that separated the half we "saved" from the half that Russia saved.  He was very pleased that the wall came down, but said he thought it was a drain on us to have so many soldiers there to protect them.  I suggested maybe the soldiers were there to guarantee their loyalty to us.  I didn't mention Trump's wall.

In the end everyone passed all requirements and left with their driver's licenses, which were curiously attached to identification, voter registration and organ donation.

The different effect on me of this search for a human being wise and respectable enough to be a Supreme Count Judge was marked.  I'll repeat what I said in a "tweet" earlier:  I thought I'd gotten cynical after finding out how many of my fellow clergy were screwing around.  I thought I'd gotten skeptical after my principal dropped dead of a heart attack just before going to court to defend himself for harassing the cute TA.  (He insisted she go for "rides" with him during the lunch break.)  I thought I'd recovered from the PDX mayor I worked for schtupping his babysitter. (She was 13.  After the incident he worked for the Feds at cabinet level until the public remembered who he was.)  So on and so on.  But I haven't.  I still get heartsick over this stuff.  Gutshot. Tired.  

There are many more examples.  My parishioners were part of the hook-up culture and hurt by it so they came to me for reassurance.  I don't get it.  There's no need.  They didn't really like each other.  It appeared to be a sort of sign of privilege and an upside-down virtue, being able to attract someone enough for one night.  Wouldn't it make more sense to pay for someone who was good at sex?  

Wouldn't it be better to look for someone other than a person from Georgetown elite society where there must have been many abortions due to "trains" at parties while drunk?  Aren't they more likely candidates for liver transplants than for being on the Supreme Court?

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