Last week, when I asked our 83-year-old White neighbor to stop hectoring Tracie and the girls about the political signage in our front yard, he told me: “I’m going to kick your ass… I hope you die when Biden is elected… You don’t belong in this neighborhood.”
Although Biden-Harris signs abound in our neighborhood in southwest Houston and handily outnumber the Trump-Pence signs, this was once a solidly ruby red community that sent George H. Bush to the U.S. Congress for the first time and remained republican until our current congresswoman, Lizzie Fletcher, flipped the district in 2018 (one of two congressional districts in Texas that swung left and delivered Capitol Hill’s blue wave that year).
Unfortunately, our neighbor’s “triggered” petulance and vitriol have been commonplace in recent years in southeast Texas, where red and blue citizens live side by side, send their children to school together, and shop at the same supermarkets.
At the same time, I’ve never even heard of a democrat exploding at a republican in our neck of the woods in the way this unhappy man threatened me the other day.
The bottomline is that our neighbor perceives us as an “enemy” of America while we consider him an American citizen who simply has a world view and political preferences different from ours.
His words echoed what another triggered White man said to Tracie and me a few years ago when he stopped to berate us belligerently at our protest of a newly constructed neo-Confederate memorial in Tracie’s hometown, Orange, on the Louisiana border.
“You’re worthless,” he yelled at us. “You’re shit! Get the fuck across the border! … What gives y’all the right to be fucking protesting America? … Damn democrats…”
In fact, we are proud Americans who believe in freedom of speech, freedom of political thought, the right to dissent, and the patriotic tradition of political activism in our country.
We love our country, we love American culture, and we feel privileged to be U.S. citizens. And through our activism, we hope to make America a better place for our children and our neighbors’ children.
Sadly, Biden’s opponent, Donald Trump, has repeatedly encouraged his followers to see us as their enemies and as enemies of America. His incitations resonate in our unhappy neighbor’s threats and insults. Tracie and I believe our country needs a president who celebrates rather than denigrates our diversity and ourselves.
Beyond the Trump administration’s epic and tragic fail in containing the COVID-19 crisis (how hard could it be to encourage Americans to wear a mask, the most effective way of protecting us all from the virus?), our top issues in this election cycle are as follows:
– systemic racism
– economic inequality
– access to affordable healthcare
– reproductive rights
– the environment
Biden has aggressively addressed all of these with his political platform.
Trump, on the other hand, has encouraged and praised violent racist groups; has callously ignored our country’s economic disparities; has diminished access to affordable healthcare; has worked assiduously to ensure that reproductive rights will be curtailed; and has entirely abandoned any effort to combat climate change while deregulating the energy sector and hobbling the EPA.
We voted for Joe Biden because we believe that Biden will work to bring Americans together instead of dividing them. We believe that Biden will reach across the political aisle to affect change in our country. We believe that Biden will remind his White sisters and brothers (like the men above) that we are all citizens of this nation and that we are all G-d’s children.
G-d bless America. G-d bless all of Their children. G-d bless republicans and democrats alike for we are all Their children.