Posts Tagged 'religion'

Voting in LA

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I voted, dammit. I filled in the little bubble and in process, hopefully, help right an eight year wrong.

The line for my district, deep in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, was longer than I’ve ever seen, stretching a long city block. I actually enjoyed the hour or so wait it took, because I actually had the chance to meet some of people in my neighborhood. We talked about the massive Korean skyrise/shopping center that was getting built across the street, bus service, and the need for more public transportation.

Then this Korean-American kid, maybe 24, carrying a Bible started and kept shouting “Vote Yes on Proposition 8. Protect Marriage.” For those of you not in California, that the regressive,  completely evil anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. After about 20 minutes of this, a group of us shouted at him to shut up. It’s electioneering and illegal, not to mentioned completely annoying. Then he started praying loudly for our souls and for the banning of gay marriage. Finally, one girl grabbed an election volunteer who got the guy in charge of the polling station, a no-nonsense Indian guy, who told Korean preacher guy to zip it or he’ll call 911. Preacher tried to argue a little but eventually shut up.

And I voted no on Prop. 8 and yes on Barack Obama. And I’ve never been prouder to wear my “I Voted” sticker.

My Brush with Low-Level Religious Terrorism

Ok. For someone who has lived in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade, I have an odd confession. I hate driving. I’m not scared of cars, but I loathe being dependent on them. And the grinding tedium of stop and go traffic often leaves me more aggravated than a full eight hours on the job. So I take the bus a couple times a week.

The thing I like about the bus, aside from not lining Dick Cheney’s pocket with more of my hard-earned money, is that I get a half-hour or so of reading in before and after work. It’s a nice buffer between the bustle of the office and relative quiet of home. And this morning I was eager I dive into my new book, Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart. I’ve been wanting to read this puppy since I read an excerpt in the New Yorker some two or three years ago. Yet the moment I get a seat and open my book, some guy next to me who looked like a thinner version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and who was sporting an outfit that looked like a silken Mao suit opened his book, the Bible, and started spouting off a sermon. Using the bendy part of the bus as his pulpit, he delivered Biblical commandments in a booming, sonorous voice that was almost impossible to block out. Almost immediately, I pipe up saying, “Please don’t. This is a crowded bus…” but that didn’t even register. Between Western and Westwood, I don’t think the guy paused for more than five seconds. I realized with greater and greater frustration that there was no way I was going to be reading my book this morning. Nothing short of a kick to the teeth is going to shut him up.

He continued, “You work five days a week, six days a week. But then you send all of your money at clubs, the bars. You hook up with prostitutes. Go to crack houses?” Jesus, how does this guy spend a weekend? Once we rolled into Westwood, he shambled off and the whole bus said a collective, “Hallelujah.” Yes, I thought. This was my brush with low-level religious terrorism.


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