John Kass, at the Chicago Tribune, has a little story of a middle school student’s experiment which tells us a lot about life in America today. Catherine Vogt’s Oak Park, Illinois could just as easily have been any other fashionable upper middle class community from coast to coast.
Just before the election, Catherine consulted with her history teacher, then bravely wore a unique T-shirt to school and recorded the comments of teachers and students in her journal. The T-shirt bore the simple yet quite subversive words drawn with a red marker:
“I was just really curious how they’d react to something that different, because a lot of people at my school wore Obama shirts and they are big Obama supporters,” Catherine told us. “I just really wanted to see what their reaction would be.”
Immediately, Catherine learned she was stupid for wearing a shirt with Republican John McCain’s name. Not merely stupid. Very stupid.
“People were upset. But they started saying things, calling me very stupid, telling me my shirt was stupid and I shouldn’t be wearing it,” Catherine said.
Then it got worse.
“One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed,” Catherine said, of the tolerance in Oak Park.
“In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported McCain,” Catherine said.
If Catherine was shocked by such passive-aggressive threats from instructors, just wait until she goes to college. …
One student suggested that she be put up on a cross for her political beliefs.
“He said, ‘You should be crucifixed.’ It was kind of funny because, I was like, don’t you mean ‘crucified?’ ” Catherine said.
Other entries in her notebook involved suggestions by classmates that she be “burned with her shirt on” for “being a filthy-rich Republican.”
Some said that because she supported McCain, by extension she supported a plan by deranged skinheads to kill Obama before the election.