Friday, December 23, 2022

Hope Among the Hopeless

The holiday season is an appropriate time for this piece from the Washington Post, about a young man born and raised deep in the Trumpiest part of Georgia who chose instead to become a decent person. It's a welcome alternative to the endless stories about diners full of Trump supporters, and a faint suggestion of how things could be different. Some excerpts:
“You couldn’t turn around without seeing some sticker, some post promoting violence and hate,” he said. It was the red hats, the flags, the conspiracy theories, the bullying, the racism. It was the sheer totality of how the Trump movement seemed to overtake peoples’ minds, he said....

But what was most insulting to him of all was the assumption that he would go along with all of it because of how he looked and where he lived. He started to feel like a spy. He had neighbors who made him aware of a bar near his house that was supposedly a gathering place for people in the white nationalist movement. He got a Facebook invitation to join some militia group, which he blocked. He had White co-workers who flagrantly used the n-word and made racist comments to him, and he came to enjoy their shock when he told them to cut it out....

“I decided I wasn’t going to just let it slide. Because if you let it slide, you become complicit, and complicity turns into guilt, and guilt turns into shame, and shame turns into fear, and I don’t want to live in fear.”
And this bit resonates with me, because of the Trump supporters I know (mainly my daughter-in-law's family):
“The hardest part is the juxtaposition of knowing these are good, kind, loving, caring people here,” Johnson’s wife would say. “It’s like they put their morality in a box.”
This is just one story, not the whole story. It still centers white people; we're still not getting the stories of the millions of Black people who turned out to hold the line against catastrophe. But it's a thoughtful, moving piece about how one person arrived at a more inclusive and constructive political perspective than that which surrounds him.

Read the whole thing (gift link).

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