Am I the Only Stranger in the Room?
What makes it so hard to be a democrat in a predominantly republican community? I’ve found plenty of people that agree that it’s hard, but why? I’ve been wracking my brain about it all day. Is it fear of confrontation? Being shamed? Getting into an unsavory debate at a family party? There’s safety in numbers, right? So what’s the feeling when you’re standing alone. The opposite of safety I suppose. But am I standing alone? Sometimes I like to imagine a room full of people. Someone in the front asks all the democrats to stand. At first no one stands for fear of being the only one. Slowly, one by one, people begin to stand. Once the crowd sees there’s enough to feel comfortable, people continue to stand until half the room is on their feet. I want to believe that could happen here. If there was ever a time for that to happen it’s now.
I haven’t been online long, but it took no time at all to figure out that it’s hostile out there. I have finally personally experienced ‘being trolled’ when it used to be something I read about. I already know what the haters are going to say. I feel mentally prepared to handle it. Still, every time it happens, it hits the same sensitive spot that kept me in hiding so long. Mean people I guess. But this is just online right? Everyday, real-life living is more decent, isn’t it? Nowadays I’m not so sure.
This year I decided to put a campaign sign in my yard. Sounds like a small thing, but in my neighborhood it really means something. Based on polling and appearance, my neighborhood is what one might call ‘Trump Country’. Putting a democrat sign in my yard is like putting a mark on my forehead. The day I did it felt liberating and simultaneously made me nauseous. I’ve chosen a side. It’s the one the current president demonizes. The one that Fox News, The Daily Caller and Breitbart makes out to be evil, the enemy, the baby killers. No wonder why it made me sick. I am showing my true colors. I side with the ‘enemy of the people’, the dreaded mainstream media. If real life is anything like Twitter than, surely, I am doomed.
Now that I’ve put the sign out and started the blog I’m in an internal struggle about why I did this. Why am I asking for trouble? Why am I subjecting myself to Trumpers that get off on belittling others when I could be quietly going about my day? I go round and round in my mind until I settle on the same thing every time. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing for my boys. It’s too important at this point to stand idly by. It feels like I’m standing alone in a room full of people staring at me and I think others in my position feel the same. We’re not alone, we just need to stand together, stay persistent and prove to others it’s ok to come out of hiding. This election matters more than any in my lifetime and it’s imperative that democrats win. It feels like a constant struggle now, but with time I have to believe it will be worth it.