Seeing Red

16650273_10203018475378520_631000387_nI was working the phones in the eastern Crawford County Democratic Headquarters on Election Day 2008 making last minute, get-out-the-vote calls and arranging rides to the polls. Around mid-day, I walked down the street to the Quality Market to get some food. I was wandering around the produce section when I overheard two elderly women talking. The first one greeted the other and asked how she was. “Oh, I’m so frightened,” the second woman said. The first one looked concerned and asked her why she was afraid. “I’m afraid of the dark one,” she said. “What will become of us if the dark one wins?” The first woman patted her friend’s arm and reassured her that everything would be fine. I purchased my lunch and walked back to the headquarters, but I was in shock. I couldn’t get my head around someone being afraid of Barack Obama.

Fast forward eight years to Election Day 2016. The people in this area vote in the local township building, a metal structure that is mostly a large garage with a small office attached. In all the previous elections I’ve voted in since moving here in 1989, the experience has consisted of going into the office, signing your name in the book and going to one of three or four voting booths. There is rarely a line at 10 a.m. because most people are at work at this time. This year was different. The line went into the garage and snaked all along the walls before entering the office. There were hundreds of people in line by the time I got there. As you would expect, most of them looked to be, like myself, over fifty. There were probably twenty to thirty people ahead of me who hadn’t even reached the door yet. I pulled out my phone and started reading a book.

Then my attention was caught by a woman two or three people in front of me. She turned to the person next to her and said in a voice quivering with fear, “She’s a Mooslim, you know.” Her companion looked startled.

“What?”

“She’s a Mooslim.”

“I’m pretty sure she’s a Methodist,” the companion said.

“She was raised Methodist, but then she became a witch, and now she’s a Mooslim. Her girlfriend is one, too.”

I looked around to see how the crowd was taking this. A few people snickered quietly and some others looked at her wide-eyed, but there were some who were nodding their heads. This woman looked to be in her mid to late seventies, like my mother, and she was clearly terrified of what this modern-day Medusa would do if she got into office. I went back to my book, again unable to comprehend how our world views could be so completely different.

You know what happened next. Thousands of my fellow Pennsylvanians helped give Donald Trump the electoral votes he needed to win the White House, and we are still dissecting the results. Did these people feel that the government had ignored them for long enough and they decided to get to the polls to voice their displeasure? I’m sure some of them did. Were many of them life-long Republicans who had decided to hold their collective noses and vote for Trump even if they found him personally repugnant? I know many of those. But many of them voted for Trump out of fear.

They were actually afraid of and threatened by Hillary Clinton, and keeping this monster out of the White House became a passion with them. This was not simply a case of a difference of political opinion. In their eyes, Clinton truly was a monster. They had been conditioned to believe outrageous and horrible things about a woman who had made a career out of standing up for the rights of children and people who couldn’t afford medical care, who had worked for equality for women and to improve life for families. They swallowed whole the fake news reports that Clinton had ordered people to be killed, that she was running a child sex ring out of a pizza restaurant in D.C., and that she and some Jewish bankers were using a private e-mail server to plot world domination.

I don’t know what we can do about this societal brainwashing, but I see it happening again. For the last thirty-six hours, my Facebook newsfeed has been full of photos, memes and cartoons with the hashtag #Nevertheless, she persisted. The GOP is demonizing Senator Elizabeth Warren just like they did Barack Obama, but especially Hillary Clinton. They can see that Warren is an intelligent, talented, powerful woman who is not afraid to speak out or to challenge the Republicans and their CEO who thinks he is king. We need to keep our eyes open and remember their actions, so that we may spread the truth and oppose them when we hear their lies. In four years, I hope there will be a crowd of little old ladies in pink pussyhats standing in line to kick out Trump (or possibly Pence, by that time) and finally shatter that glass ceiling.

 

Country Cottage Journal ~Truth and Lies

Chick Update

Another Greenhouse

Writing on Windows


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I was chugging along doing errands yesterday when I pulled up behind a Chevy truck at a red light. The back window was covered by what I assumed was a memorial decal. I couldn’t make out the full name, because the font was very curly and difficult to read, but I saw that the young man had been 21 when he died. It reminded me of another “memorial window” experience I had a few years back.

We live on a dirt road, which means that in the summer the back window of my station wagon is usually covered with a layer of dust. I do wash my car occasionally, but not often, because it’s only going to get covered in fresh dust on the drive home from the car wash. My nod to visibility is to wash the back window when I stop to get gas. The accumulation of dust makes a perfect canvas for my daughter, Emily, who loves to draw designs and leave me messages.

I was on my way to work one morning and I passed a car on the interstate. Then I noticed the same car tailgating me. This  made me nervous, but I was almost at my exit. I put on my turn signal and got off to get gas, and the car followed me right into the gas station this made me nervous.  I pulled up to a pump and the car pulled in right behind me. A woman got out and walked toward my window. She apologized for making me nervous, but she said she wanted to thank me for what was on the back window.

I got out of the car and walked around to the back. In the dust, Emily, who was four at the time, had written “I <heart> U MI MI.” The heart was a drawing of a large heart, and I assumed MI was her attempt to spell ‘me’. As she got older, she started to write “Wash Me,” but at four it was still okay to make public statements of affection. I was at a loss as to what this could mean to a stranger, but the woman told me.

“My grandson died a few years ago, and he always called me Mimi.,” she said. She had been having a rough morning and feeling sad, and when I passed her on the highway, she noticed the message on the back window. She had to speed up to make sure she wasn’t seeing things, and then she decided to follow me to the gas station to let me know how much it meant to her. “I feel like my grandson sent me a message, and that made my day.”

It made my day, too, and I didn’t wash the back window that time. I left it on until the rain washed it off. I thought about that when I saw the decal on that truck window yesterday. I hope it helps the driver feel connected to his or her lost child.

Getting Ready

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get by without many of the things we consider essential in our early 21st century lives. The most obvious of these things is electricity. I found this article by Anita Evangelista in Backwoods Home Magazine, http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/evangelista73.html, on how to live without electricity. She isn’t talking about moving beyond the grid, although she has lived that way before, but rather what to do when the power goes out because of a natural disaster or other sudden, unanticipated event.

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Evangelista covers the basic information for how to prepare for a power outage, and that is an important point. You have to get ready before it happens, because if you wait until the electric goes out, you are pretty much stuck. The author makes another interesting point when she says that you should try to keep your family’s routine as normal as possible during these times. It is easy for people to give in to fear and paranoia when their surroundings are altered suddenly and beyond their control. However, if you have prepared for that occurrence, it can be less disruptive. We have a habit at our house: when the power goes out, we light candles, break out the dice, and play Yahtzee.

Autumn 2012: Day Fourteen

This may be the peak of the color.  Dark clouds coming and weather forecast calling for rain all weekend.  If that is true, the rains may bring down many of the leaves, and the show will be over.

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Autumn 2012: Day Thirteen

Running errands today.  Managed to grab a couple of pictures before the sun went down.

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Autumn 2012: Day Twelve

Added a few extra photos today.  Enjoy!

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Autumn 2012: Day Eleven

Gray and rainy today, and I wore myself out yesterday putting up Halloween decorations.  Managed to snap a couple of pictures between the rain drops.

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