Do you hear what I hear?

Georgia moms against witchcraftSpending time at my parents’ house means seeing hours and hours of CNN, and this week that means every-fifteen-minute updates on Virginia representative Virgil Goode’s discomfort over his fellow congressman’s religion. In particular, how tougher immigration policies are necessary to keep people like Keith Ellison from being born and raised in America and taking advantage of the United States’ establishment clause.

For me, I’m just happy. First, because it’s Christmas. Second, because Ellison’s taking the high road, and a faint ray of light is finally starting to break through and show Goode for what he is: a uniquely stupid individual, and not a representative of the oppressive Conservative Republican Theocracy that controls everything in this country. And third, because for once the idiocy isn’t happening in my home state.

I don’t know if it’s the spirit of Christmas, or if I’d just gotten an unfairly negative impression last time I was here, or if I’m just getting to be less of a tight-ass, but things actually seem to be a little more tolerable in suburban Atlanta these days.

I had to go to the mall to do some Christmas shopping, and the traffic, soullessness, and commercialism were as bad as I’d expected. But it all ended up being pleasant, because people everywhere were friendly. It was a shock to the system — as much as I like San Francisco, I still say that people there keep to a strict mind-your-own-damn-business policy. The clerks here were busy but friendly, and people waiting in line would strike up conversations with me, a complete stranger.

Even better, I ended up feeling like a dope. The mall I went to is targeted primarily towards black people. I don’t know why that’s controversial to say (it’s not just on Wikipedia, where anything can be the grounds for “controversy”); apparently, it’s racist to acknowledge that retailers have target demographics. Whatever the case, Dekalb County is predominantly black, Rockdale is predominantly white, and this bastion of retail paradise straddles the two. As I was shopping, I was keeping an eye out for how people were handling having to fight for the valuable Borders and Best Buy resources that both black and white communities need.

And it turns out exactly like you’d expect — it’s a big freaking non-issue. After all my years living in the San Francisco Multicultural Biodome, I’ve become just as guilty of being Pompous Left-Coast Liberal as I used to accuse everyone of being when I first moved out there. I guess I was going in to my home county acting like an explorer observing relations between the Afrikaaners and the Zulu, or like the one blonde-haired blue-eyed college boy who reluctantly creeps out onstage at “Showtime at the Apollo.”

Instead, what I saw were a bunch of people shopping. And teenage friends hanging out; the younger they were, the less it seemed to matter what race anybody was. Maybe things will keep getting better as long as us liberal caucasians allow our sphincters to unclench. And that, as my Aryan princess Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.