Tensions are high in America on this July 4th. The country is polarized politically, economically, racially, socially, and every -ly in the book, and social media and 24/7 news cycles on cable news just escalate words into sound bites that warp and explode as they move through society.
I live in East Texas, a very conservative Republican place that believes in God, guns, white nationalism, President Trump, and that Coronavirus is a hoax blown out of proportion by liberal Democrats and lying media. Although our governor has issued an executive order to wear masks, my neighbors are vowing not do so.
And so I’m hiding at home. I feel like a fish out of water here in this cherry pie red place, or rather, a tiny blueberry in the middle of the endless sea of red. I feel impotent to speak here, to defend myself and beliefs that differ from that of the majority. No one would listen anyway once they know I’m a Democrat. Wait, they would listen and then attack me and talk about me and my stupidity while they polish their guns, eat BBQ, and plan for Trump’s re-election.
I’m afraid for my country. I’m afraid of my neighbors. I’m afraid of getting the virus and giving it to someone else – not of my own risk, which is actually higher because of my age, weight, and recent sinus surgery. I’m afraid the country will tear itself apart. We survived a Civil War but it didn’t solve anything. What will happen this time?
My ancestors fought for the Confederacy – and for the Union. I’ve lived in Virginia, with Confederate statues everywhere. I never really understood why we had statues to people who LOST the war. Germany doesn’t have monuments to Nazis; why should we have them for those who rebelled and lost? Why name schools and military bases and streets for them? I can be proud of my family and my history and NOT proud of what they fought for. I don’t understand why so many are holding on so hard.
But I sit silent because I’m a weenie. I know what I believe but I’m afraid of being overwhelmed and rejected. So I watch “Hamilton” on my own, keeping silent, keeping watch.
I am afraid of what’s coming.