Santorum

After college, I answered phones for Senator Levin, Democrat of Michigan.

This was during the 1996 partial birth abortion debate. Rick Santorum was on the Senate floor with his grisly fetus photographs, explaining that the procedure involved, “thrusting a pair of scissors into the back of its skull and suctioning its brains out.”

Meanwhile, America’s pro-lifers lit the Senate switchboards. My job was to politely say: “Thanks for calling, I’ll pass your views on to the Senator,” which was harder than it sounds: Most callers seemed to think they’d reached one of Satan’s satellite offices, therefore being civil would’ve been an affront to God. Some yelled; some sent me to hell; some were in impotent hysterics: their only weapon a phone! what they wouldn’t give for a semi-automatic brimstone launcher!

ThanksforcallingI’llpassyourviewsontotheSenator.

One gentleman asked whether my boss believed in Jesus. I explained that Senator Levin was Jewish, so it didn’t seem like a relevant question.

ThanksforcallingI’llpassyourviewsontotheSenator.

A mother of two told me what was going on with abortion in this country made the holocaust look like summer camp. ThanksforcallingI’ll… Um. “I don’t think,” I said, trembling with anger, “the holocaust had anything in common with vacation.”

A beat. And this woman apologized. She remembered — oh, Rick Santorum! — that Jesus never preached nastiness.

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