In the words of the late great Joan Rivers, can we talk? Can we? I’m not so sure we can – I’m beginning to think we’re a single nation separated by lot more than a language, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw. (He was a guy in the nineteenth century who wrote a lot of plays. They were great plays, really great plays, and he did a really good job writing them. He’s dead now but we remember him for his really great plays and all the other amazing – truly amazing -things he did.)
Okay, I’m sorry, I’m teasing. I shouldn’t do that – you already have enough reasons to dislike me, and you probably do. To begin with, I’m a woman. I believe in a woman’s right to choose and open borders. In fact, if I believe what I’ve read about you, dear Trump voter, you and I are diametrically opposed on just about every issue. But perhaps we can find some common ground.
We are, after all, human and we therefore share some fundamental needs. Chief among these needs, after all the basic necessities like clean water and shelter, is security. And that brings me to what I’d really like to ask you about.
Why are you all so afraid?
I understand that this is a dangerous world, that the sky could fall at any moment. Asteroids and lightning can strike, cars and buses can appear out of nowhere, disease can rear its sudden or insidious head. But I live a lot closer to the coasts than most of you do – a lot closer to places of entry, a lot closer to major cities and such – and I’m not afraid of a terrorist attack or illegal aliens – who I think I am a lot more likely to encounter than you are. But I’m not afraid of terrorists or aliens. You, however, sound as if you’re terrified of the possibility of both.
Why is that?
Is it because I understand that the kind of work illegal aliens mostly do is work Americans like you and me don’t want to do? I guess that’s why I don’t think they’re here to take “our” jobs – they’re here because they are willing to work for unregulated wages in work no one else wants to do. How many illegal aliens have you met, anyways?
The thing of it is, you see, I’m in a socio-economic status where it’s common to hire a “girl” to come at least once a week to do the things I don’t want to do around the house, like scrubbing the toilets and steaming the floors. So in my fifty plus years, I’ve encountered a lot of “girls” of all ages – who don’t speak English so well, who don’t answer questions about their families or where they’re from and who are always willing to work phenomenally hard for some phenomenally low rate. They’re also the least threatening group of people I’ve ever met – they’re much too tired to do the things you seem to think they’re capable of doing.
I understand why you’re afraid of terrorists. I get that. But do you also understand that I am afraid of crazy people – crazy male people mostly – with guns? The kid who shot up all those kids in Newtown CT – and it’s not fake news, because I live in CT, and yeah, it happened – was mentally ill and his mother owned enough guns and ammunition to arm a small militia. Maybe you understand the reason she thought she needed all those guns with a crazy kid in the house, but I don’t. In fact, crazy men with guns account for most of the shootings in this country. Why don’t you seem to notice that? Crazy white men with guns shoot far more Americans than any other kind of crazy man.
Why don’t you notice that?
That happens far more often than terrorist attack, and why I’m afraid of crazy white men with guns more than I am afraid of terrorists.
If we agree that both are scary, why aren’t you more afraid of the thing more likely to happen?
You keep insisting that Trump will make America great “again.” I disagree that Trump is going to do anything but enrich himself, but I also agree with you that America isn’t great now. I also don’t think it was so great back then, either. Maybe it was great if you were lucky or privileged or preferably a combination of both, if you were born in the right place and time to the right set of parents in the right set of circumstances…however you define that to be.
But I don’t think things were as rosy in the past as we like to think of them. They couldn’t have been – things wouldn’t be so messed up now if the past was as perfect as we want to believe. The future seems to scare the shit out of you, dear Trump voter, and I just don’t understand why. Which brings me to the final issue I’d like to raise.
Aren’t most of you Christian? Aren’t most of you believers in your lord and savior, Jesus Christ?
If you’re as secure in your belief as I am in mine, you shouldn’t be afraid of anything. Ever. At all. After all, what’s a terrorist – a crazy white man with a gun – going to do to you? That can really harm you? Even if he kills you, don’t you wake up in the arms of Jesus? Isn’t that the point of your belief?
Jesus said the meek will inherit the Earth – not the people armed to the teeth. I would really like to understand why so many of you believe otherwise. To me it all seems to come back to fear… but if your belief in Jesus is secure, shouldn’t you be unafraid? I ask this not to mock you or your belief, but to better understand the nature of your belief.
Because while I outgrew conventional forms of monotheism a long time ago, I have always had an awareness of Something Bigger that exists and interacts in a very real way with human beings. So as different as what we believe might be, we share an acknowledgement that something greater exists. Much of the reason I am not afraid is because I do believe in something that exists beyond our five senses and our three dimensional world.
So I truly don’t understand why you’re so afraid if you believe all things you say you do. There are a lot of other things I’d like to ask you about, dear Trump voter. There are a lot of other places I suspect we may agree as much as we disagree. If anyone would care to engage in a respectful and productive dialogue on any of the questions I raise above or others, please feel free to contact me.
About the writer
Annie Kelleher was born and raised at the South Jersey shore. The mother of four, Annie writes speculative fiction when she’s not rabble rousing on social media. More at about.me/anniekelleher
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