Trump Visited My Town of 5,000 People Today
On asking the right questions, salvaging our democracy, and coming together as human beings
For 19 years of my life, I lived in a little town in Wisconsin with a population of just barely over 5,000. I’m 22 now. Most of the people there are good, though by reading what’s to follow, you probably won’t agree.
My brother told me people were wrapped in a line down the block, maskless, waving confederate flags and American flags side-by-side, proudly wearing their MAGA hats.
From what I’ve read, our president did a “victory lap” around our local fairground racetrack to the raucous applause and screams of an elated crowd before speaking.
Some Facebook friends have posted pictures of themselves with the GOP politicians running in Wisconsin who also attended the event.
“Wow, so cool! Voting all red this year! #RedWave!”
It hit me like a brick to the chest just how little these political figures care about us, and yet, they’re treated like celebrities.
My parents live in that town. They’re in their late 50s, and I worry about them every day this pandemic rages on.
Yet, Trump decided to have a party in my backyard, knowing the danger and (likely) death he was causing.
According to the La Crosse Tribune,
But the president’s visit correlated with a dark day for the state, after it reported a record 5,262 new cases of COVID-19, 84 of those in La Crosse County, coming off of the state’s deadliest week of the pandemic yet.
At this point, I feel like everything he does is a middle finger to decency, kindness, and common sense.
Yet, while there are people who will vote for him with a smile on their faces, I wonder how many will vote for him with a heavy heart.
I’m not a Democrat
Here’s a story that is mine, and perhaps, the story of many others.
I don’t even consider myself to be a Democrat. I used to, but I’ve grown more and more moderate as time passed.
I would probably vote red if economic policies were the only issue involved. I would consider myself “in the middle of the road” politically. But I’ve always voted blue.
Because I want gay people to be able to marry. Because I’m sick of unarmed black people getting killed by white policemen. Because I think women should have control over their own bodies. Because science is real and it matters. Because honesty is a virtue worth upholding.
Because I give a damn about people who aren’t me, and I don’t understand why this isn’t a universal consensus.
I don’t understand where the fundamental lack of compassion comes from. I don’t know how the hell you can look a human being in the eyes, listen to their story, and tell them their rights don’t matter.
(You’re religious? That’s totally fine, and I respect your right to participate in the beliefs of your organization. But religion should have no bearing on the law, nor basic human rights, and I think you know that.)
And now, it’s personal. This man is spreading COVID-19 in the area where my family lives. He is putting my parents’ lives at risk… and for what? To bash the other side? To maintain his power, so he can keep tweeting literal nonsense at 2 a.m.? To have rallies where he can be showered with praise?
I’m not a Republican either
I don’t hate Republicans. A lot of Republicans are reluctant Republicans, the way I’m a reluctant Democrat. I’m friends with socially progressive Republicans. I appreciate civil discourse among people of all parties.
I think most Republicans are good people. I don’t think that’s reflected in our leadership.
The Republican nominee is always racist, homophobic, transphobic, and/or misogynistic. Always. You can make the argument that Democratic candidates are as well, which is an issue that needs to be addressed; however, the Republican candidate is never subtle about this.
It begs the question: Why do we continue to have two parties when only a few people fall into the mold of that party’s goals — and most people lie somewhere in the middle?
Yet, election after election, we are given merely two options from a crop of increasingly terrible people.
So yes, I’m upset that Trump is spreading the pandemic in my hometown 20 miles away. But more than that, I’m upset that this is supposedly a democracy. The people who went to see Trump at that racetrack are voting for Trump enthusiastically, but there are Republicans who will vote for Trump feeling sick to their stomach. I already voted, and I felt sick to my stomach.
I had to choose between two men: one infamous for 26 sexual harassment allegations, and the other accused of sexual harassment by 8 women (though for some reason, we don’t talk about that).
Tell me: a democracy for whom?
We shouldn’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils. We shouldn’t have to vote for evil… period.
We can fix this
Let me be clear: I know practically nothing. I don’t claim to have the answers. I don’t even want to claim that any of this is true, because I’m just a girl with a laptop who’s probably too optimistic for her own good. I will always fold my hand to facts and logic.
That being said…
I love America because I love the people who live here. Overwhelmingly, I think most Americans are good people who are trying their best. I think most of us want the same thing, but the division and tribalism have made it harder for us to have rational human conversations.
I value our soldiers and veterans, our farmers and ranchers, our scientists and healthcare specialists, our teachers and firefighters, our good policemen and good judges. We are a breeding ground of innovation and revelations; we’re constantly chasing “better.” Especially as a disabled woman, I’m infinitely lucky to have been born here, and I’m grateful for that fact every day.
But in the spirit of optimism — in the spirit of “chasing better” — I’m here to ask a question. No, I don’t have the answers, but we’ll never have the answers if we don’t start asking questions and participating in non-partisan civil discourse.
My only goal here is to start a conversation.
The bipartisan system is tearing our democracy apart, as well as our trust in one another.
It’s easy to get hung up on the radical people who exist, and it’s easy to gravitate toward one radical side if you dislike the other. Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever met a truly bad person in my life. Sure they exist — but I think they’re far less common than we’re led to believe.
When are we going to start having real options as voters? And, more importantly, why can’t we start now?