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Helena, Montana — Nov 7, 2020: Woman wearing red Make America Great Again hat praying at Stop the Steal rally in support of Donald Trump, perceives that the election was stolen by Joe Biden https://www.dreamstime.com/#res34802128

The first image I saw when I turned on the T.V. to find out the details of the coup attempt in Washington D.C. January 6th was one of the rioters waving a Christian flag. And I was outraged! As an atheist, I couldn’t understand why I had such a visceral reaction, but then I thought about what I associated that flag with, Vacation Bible School.

The world of Kool-Aid and cookies, craft projects involving gluing pipe cleaners and macaroni onto cardboard, and singing Jesus Loves Me. That was where I pledged allegiance to the Christian and American flags every day…


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Seeing the reaction of some of the white people I grew up with to the Black Lives Matter movement has me thinking a lot about the beliefs I’ve left behind. It frustrates me that they can’t see how offensive some of their comments are while simultaneously claiming that they don’t have a racist bone in their body. But then again, I never considered myself racist either. After all, I was the little white girl in rural Kentucky whose hero was Harriet Tubman, loved I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and never missed The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman whenever…


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You would assume someone would have let me know that the title of my prize-winning poem in the 1981 Lincoln Days Writing Contest should have been “If Lincoln were Running for President Today” before I stood up before the Women’s Club and read it. I guess the lack of punctuation and lines like “And he wasn’t no Rockefeller honey” were clues that this piece was written in colloquial English, so grammar wasn’t an issue.

This is the 39th anniversary of the day I recited that poem and carried a wreath into the memorial building at Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site…


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Not long after moving from Kentucky to Tucson in 2003, I went on a group camping trip to a few national parks. In a conversation with some of my fellow travelers I mentioned that I couldn’t understand why setting water out for immigrants who were dying by the hundreds in the desert was controversial. And they all laughed. And then one guy said, “Why don’t we just put a McDonalds in?” And they all laughed some more.

At the time, I did the same thing I’ve done my whole life. I rationalized it. They were nice to me and the…


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I’m a middle-aged white woman from the South but my first thought when I woke up the morning after Donald Trump was elected president was, “I fucking hate white people”. And it wasn’t long after that I decided to finally satisfy my lifelong curiosity about my genetic origins by ordering a DNA test. In the commercials everyone finds out amazing things they never knew about themselves but when I got my results back there were no surprises. I’m 100% European. As my friend jokingly put it, I really am Miss Whitey McWhite White. …


TAKING COUNTRY CULTURE BACK FROM THE TRUMP DISCIPLES

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Since the Republican primary was decided and the vast majority of people I grew up with in rural Kentucky fell in line behind Trump, I’ve been thinking a lot about the culture I grew up in. I left the state 14 years ago but the accent is still with me and so are a lot of sweet memories mixed in with the bitter ones. But I have to go back a long way to find a time when I wasn’t conflicted about my Southern identity.

Way back to June of 1971, when…

Mary Beth Young

Mary Beth Young grew up in Kentucky and after 15 years in the Tucson desert she’s back home with her 3 cats and a groundhog named Geraldine. www.mbyoung.org.

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