Damnable truth-telling: “They’ve just never had to think about this.”


Two excerpts tell the (becoming ever more familiar) tale of the thoughtless grappling with thoughts.

First, the backdrop.

The Log Cabin Republican, by Frank Bruni (New York Times)

ORBISONIA, Pa. — MIKE FLECK, wholesome country boy, cruised to a second term in the State Legislature in 2008, running unopposed in both the Republican primary and the general election. He got 100 percent of the vote in a largely rural, religious, conservative district.

It was the same two years later: 100 percent. And the same again in 2012.

But for 2014, primary opponents are circling. Some supporters are fleeing. He’s in trouble.

And while nothing has changed — not his deep roots in the farmland here, not his degree from an evangelical Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell, not his fondness for hunting or his pride in the bear pelt from one of his kills — everything has. At the end of last year, he announced that his marriage of 10 years was over. And that he’s gay …

Second, the takeaway, although in a sense applicable locally without reference to sexual orientation.

… “I love this area,” he told me. “I think it’s going to catch up. But it’s never going to catch up unless there are people like me out there. And that’s true not just of here but of the Bible Belt and a whole lot of America.”

“These are good people,” he added. “They’ve just never had to think about this.”

“They’ve just never had to think about this.”

It could be human rights, two-way streets, density, urbanism, the importance of local business, the idiocy of sprawl … the list just compounds and compounds — and I’m NOT TALKING ABOUT ordinary citizens.

I’m talking about who gets elected to office locally. We see them exposed to ideas, ducking and clawing as though rotten fruit is being thrown in their direction; visibly uncomfortable with the notion of learning anything.

Couldn’t they at least be better actors?