Dear DeTrading Post Shop Owner,
You made my friend and I smile when you handed back change from our purchase. You said, “1967. It was a good year”. When I asked you why you thought that, you said, “Because everybody was hopeful then. We believed that things were going to get better. We treated each other with respect.” It was sweet to hear.
I thought the small talk was over. I really didn’t want to engage. I wanted to take my purchase (a lovely leather and bead bracelet) and get back out into that gorgeous sun, heat, and blue, blue, sky. But, you continued with your commentary. I assumed you were going to complain about Trump’s tweeting, the border wall, or even the Mueller report. It was clear from your accent that English was not your first language. I assumed you were either Native-American or from South America. Arizona may be a Republican state but most non-whites who live there identify as democrat or liberal or Mexican. However, you threw us for a loop when you asked us if we knew who “Adam’s first wife was?”. I did know the answer. “Lilith”, I said.
Apparently you mistook my response for an invitation to share your ideas. Lilith, you told us, was evil. You warned us about the evil that exists in this country. And, here is where the conversation got really scary. You complained that we have “Muslims in our government and the next thing you know we are going to have Sharia Law in our country.” I countered with the first thing that came into my vacation-addled brain. “So, are you okay with the U.S. doing business with Saudi Arabia?” I cannot remember what you answered. You blamed, “Bill, Hitlery, and Obama” for bringing “Muslims into this country.” “Hitlary?” Yes. “Hitlary Clinton, who is just like Hitler”.
I continued to listen to you politely. You extolled the virtues of Judaism and said it was the most progressive of all world religions. You made a joke about Jewish women being closer to God than Jewish men. You also said: that you loved Trump; that Trump is helping us to see who our real enemies are; this country is the best country in the world; and that you would die for this country. You ended your monologue by saying “If people don’t like it here then they can go back to where they came from”. I made no gesture of annoyance or discomfort. I just kept smiling. When you were finished, I thanked you for sharing your thoughts, shook your hand, and exited your shop.
Do you remember me shopkeeper? I was the woman wearing the Free Palestine t-shirt. Now that my vacation has ended, and I have had time to think about our “conversation”, I would like to ask you several questions.
- Why do you think my friend and I were interested in what you had to say?
- You don’t want Muslims in our country? How about in our golf clubs?
- Because Harvey Weinstein was Jewish, are all Jewish men rapists?
- How is Hillary Clinton like Adolph Hitler?
- Why start with a question about the Old Testament? Why not the Egyptian Book of the Dead?
- Did you know Lilith’s origins lie in ancient Babylonia and that she doesn’t appear in Jewish sources as Adam’s first wife until the Middle Ages?
- Have you studied the religious beliefs of Native Americans? I think they can make that claim of being the most progressive.
- Did you know the U.S. Constitution was shaped by the Iroquois Great Law of Peace?
- How did you get into the business of selling Native American jewelry and artifacts?
- If Native Americans don’t like living in the United States, where should they go?
- How can the U.S. be the best country in the world when according to The United Nations Human Development Index, the U.S. News & World Report, The Economist, The Social Progress Imperative, Numbeo and Wikipedia, the U.S. is not even ranked in the “Top Ten” when it comes to quality of life?
- What is with the “De” in the name of your shop?
- How can you like Trump when he has broken most if not all of the Ten Commandments?
Thank you for reading my questions. I hope my letter helps you for the next time you talk with your customers about political issues.