Friday, November 14, 2008

Does Obama = Tolerance? The Experiment

Tolerance fails T-shirt test
As the media keeps gushing on about how America has finally adopted tolerance as the great virtue, and that we're all united now, let's consider the Brave Catherine Vogt Experiment.

Catherine Vogt, 14, is an Illinois 8th grader, the daughter of a liberal mom and a conservative dad. She wanted to conduct an experiment in political tolerance and diversity of opinion at her school in the liberal suburb of Oak Park.

She noticed that fellow students at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for president. His campaign kept preaching "inclusion," and she decided to see how included she could be.

So 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:

"McCain Girl."

"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.

But students weren't the only ones surprised that she wore a shirt supporting McCain. [...]

Death threats? That's a bit over the top. But hey, it's eighth graders we're talking about, so I wouldn't take it too literally. But still, not exactly a lot of tolerance.

Of course, she wore the Obama t-shirt the next day, and the reactions to that... well, read the whole thing. In the end she wrote a report about it for her history class, and the irony of intolerance by the "tolerant" Obama supporters made for an interesting classroom discussion.

Even after the experiment, Catherine never did say who she preferred. Maybe she'll grow up to be a "swing" voter. ;-)

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