Yesterday we went to “Family Day” where my husband works. While not our usual ‘cup of tea’, it was cute, and not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. I got to tour the buildings, and see exactly what he does all day. There were bounce houses for the kids and food trucks…a dunk tank manned by the bosses…that sort of thing. It wasn’t a bad time, even though I didn’t know very many people.
We did bump into one of his best friends, someone I’ve known for years. His wife was there, as was his grown daughter and her toddler son. I actually have very little in common with these people, but I’ve always enjoyed their company. The daughter (let’s call her Abby) used to cut my husband’s hair, and eventually became my stylist also, until she quit and moved on to a different career. Abby and I were never besties, but she was always pleasant and respectful.
Yesterday, she was blatantly rude and dismissive, while her parents greeted us with strained smiles and few words. Abby went out of her way to avoid us numerous times throughout the day after the rather short, forced greeting. It took me till this morning to figure out why
I know that I have vastly different opinions on politics and religion than most of the people I rub shoulders with every day. I’m liberal, living in a very conservative place, so I tend to keep my mouth shut just to keep the peace. Abby is a redneck. She proudly displays the rebel flag across all her public social media accounts glorifying hate, while also claiming to be a ‘good Christian’. I’ve never had her as a ‘friend’ on social media, though she and I did follow each other on Instagram, where I post mostly just my own photography, and she posts mostly pictures of her kid.
I’ve never exposed her or her parents to my vehement political ramblings and rants. Abby’s dad is one of my husband’s best friends at work. They’ve worked together for somewhere in the vicinity 30 years. I’ve kept my real thoughts to myself when in their presence. We’ve never discussed politics. (I’ve had my entire life to learn how to tune out any random ‘redneckishness’, as I am southern by birth and raising and am related to a lot of good ‘ol boys and girls.) I didn’t think there was any way that Abby could actually know the scope of my liberalism.
But then I remembered one random photo I posted on Instagram. It’s a picture of a Pete Buttigieg campaign sticker on the back of my car. Probably the only political thing I’ve ever posted there. Abby must have seen it…Abby, who has never ‘liked’, or even seemed to notice, anything I’ve ever posted there, has made the conscious choice to be rude to us based solely on a political bumper sticker. There will be no intelligent discussion on the matter. No respectful banter between acquaintances.
Then this morning I wake up to the news that students at Georgia Southern University burned the books of a Cuban-American author following a lecture about acceptance and diversity. (Link below)
I love my southern friends and family, but I’m sick and tired of some southerners showing their asses…their very hateful asses. Making the south, as a whole, look bad. Making us a running joke.
I’m proud of my very deep pioneering roots in this nation. We came here for religious and political freedom and acceptance, but a lot of us want to deny these very same things to absolutely everyone who isn’t like us. Too many people have forgotten the truth of this country’s founding. Or maybe they never even understood it to begin with. They didn’t really listen in History class, I guess.
So, Abby and her family can go their way. I don’t care beyond being sad that she’s raising a child to hate.
There are a lot of things I still don’t understand about being human…I don’t understand the ‘why’ of a lot of things…but I know that we should at least try to be kind. I admit, I don’t always achieve that myself… But I know for certain that we should reach out and help other humans live a decent life. Not just humans who look like us…think like us…love like us…LIVE like us.
It is indecent and inhumane to do anything less.