La La How The Life Goes On

Morons in Glass Houses

Posted on: December 3, 2014

This week Elizabeth Lauten, the Communications Director for Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee incurred The Wrath of The Internet for posting some nastiness about the Obama girls on her Facebook page.

“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re part of the First Family, try showing a little class…Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”

It went on to disparage their parents as bad “role models.” Good lord. This post was entirely unnecessary and mean-spirited, not to mention outrageous in saying that these entirely well-behaved and normal THIRTEEN and SIXTEEN year old girls (who have literally gone out of their way to stay below the radar for 6 years now) were dressed for “a bar.” Think about that. An adult woman attacked a 13 year old child wearing absolutely normal 13 year old clothing that I myself would put on my own daughter by saying she looks like she belongs in a bar. Which, in Republican codespeak, means “skank.” A 13 year old child. Ready for the bar.

As the week progressed, and after “hours of prayer” Ms. Lauten non-apologized “to anyone offended” but nonetheless had to resign her position (after all, it’s pretty hard to keep a job as a Communications Director when you’ve proven yourself entirely unqualified for it in a single social media post). Then it came to light that she herself had been arrested for shoplifting at the age of 17!

And this is where, for me, the insidious, under-the-surface hatred for the Obama family becomes undeniable, even to its staunchest deniers. Think about the epic delusion a person has to have in order to think, “I was arrested for stealing as a teenager, but I’m better than these girls because my skirt isn’t short and I don’t roll my eyes at my dad’s jokes in public.” Think about the intense sense of superiority it takes to hold these views. I am a thief with a police record. But I am better than THEM. And I’m not only better, I get to publicly LECTURE THEM on morals! The cojones–and yes I’m gonna say it–the subconscious racism involved is absolutely breathtaking. A white shoplifter is still better in her own mind than a black 13 year old, even if that child is the impeccably-behaved daughter of the President of the United States . Got it.

And the worst part? Elizabeth Lauten is but one of millions of such “Christians” and other religious types who really feel that they are better than you and I. That the length of your skirt and your ability to smile on cue somehow equals morality and decency and propriety, no matter how rotten your heart.

I said this on facebook and I’ll say it again:

Don’t tell me that the hateful thing you just said or did “does not reflect what is in my heart.” Because it does. Do you know how I know? Because it was your first instinct. Your first impulse. Your first involuntary urge. You saw two totally normal teenage girls and your first instinct was to attack them.

The feelings of regret you are having now that you got busted are called your conscience, which is different than your “heart.” So it’s okay to say you had a bout of conscience and now you regret what you said and did. That is what the conscience is for. It kicks in (ideally BEFORE you open your mouth) to tell you that you are an awful person being awful and urges you to reconsider. But that first impulse you have? That part of you that sees two children and leaps gleefully at the opportunity to publicly shame them for nothing at all as a means of bashing their parents? That’s your heart. And that heart needs some serious work.

Ideally, that work should involve some deep self-reflection of the non-hours-of-prayer variety. The type of reflection that asks oneself about the values you hold and how you manifest those values in your life and in the world. I had a client who is Mormon; a Latter Day Saint. To this day this woman blows me away with her quiet way of living The Word. I obviously do not follow that religion and don’t really get it, to be honest. But my goodness. This woman just WALKS THE WALK. Every single day. She lives her life by the principles of her religion while rarely speaking about her religion. She never “shares” her beliefs with me verbally. But I get it by watching her simply move through this life with a commitment to doing right and when falling short, making sincere amends. She, quite frankly, inspires me to be a better person–and all without shouting about prayer in schools or banning abortions or preaching endlessly about the faults of those not like her. She just lives and practices her beliefs, leaving the judgment of othcr humans to God.

Which is what Lauten supporters would have us do with her. To leave the judgment of her to God. And I suppose I do. But in the meantime I absolutely support her employer’s right to find her criminally incompetent as a communications professional, and for decent people everywhere to find her remarks–and the foundational beliefs behind them–abhorrent.

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