A Fable

Once upon a time there was a 20 something young woman- white, Jewish, and from the north living in a city in the south with her husband, (a rabbi) and her small baby. The downtown area of the city was a wide street with two lanes of traffic in each direction and nose-in parking on each side of the street.

One day she decided to go shopping. She saw a parking space on the opposite side of the street. She made a left turn to the other side of the street and pulled into the space. Immediately a policeman came and issued a ticket. She asked why. There was no line in the street and no sign indicating that one couldn’t cross from one side to the other. He told her that she could fight it in court.

A few weeks later she showed up at the courthouse with her infant (now about 7 months old) and sat waiting patiently for about 2 hours. Finally her name was called, the citation read, and she was allowed to speak. But before she spoke the judge said, “Where are you from?” She answered that she lived in the city. He then asked, “No, I mean originally. Where do you come from?” She told him the name of the city where she had been born and raised. He next asked, “So what are you doing here?” She said her husband had a job there. He asked, “And what is your husband’s job?” She answered that he was the rabbi at House of Peace Synagogue (yes, that was its name). He asked if in the city of her birth one could make such a turn on a major street. She said, “Yes.” He said, “Give me the name of a major street you can make a turn like that on.” She did. He said, “We’re going to call the police in your city and check with them.” She relaxed. She knew that they would confirm that what she said was true.

Another 1.5 hours passed. Finally the judge said, “You owe us payment on your ticket.” She said, “But what did the police tell you?” The judge said, “We decided not to call them because we don’t believe you. You can pay now or I can add additional fees for taking up our time.”

She paid. She took her baby and went home.

The moral of the story: There are nasty, prejudiced people in the world. You don’t have to be black, gay, Muslim, or Jewish to be a target. Haters are haters and what we need to do is not join them in their hostility.

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