Life in Alabama, Being a Bad Blue Dot In A Really Red State

Words

I am not upholding the side.

I live in the Deep South. I did not grow up in the South, deep or otherwise. I’m living the meme. A bright blue dot in a really red state. According to a NYT widget, 930 of the 1000 voters around me are in the opposite political party to mine. [Spring]

Its not about me believing X or Y. It’s about me believing X when everyone around me believes Y. The same dislocation would effect a red dot surrounded by a sea of blue.

Should I say something? Where is the line between living your truth and loving your neighbor? If I’m polite, am I selling out? If I’m impolite, am I annoying people to no purpose? Pissed off people do not change their minds. Is this the right venue? And so on. And so on.

That’s not my issue.

My problem is that I never even get that far.

I react with stunned silence.

Women’s March in 2017. A woman, a professional, in charge of her own business, said she didn’t see what women had to march about.

I just stood there, with wind whistling between my ears, with so much to say that I couldn’t get a single word out. My brain was mental log jam. Where to even start? I could not believe we were this far apart. Maybe we disagree on tactics. Maybe we disagree on substance. I thought at least we all agreed that there was a problem to be addressed.

Another time, a friend was explaining why she was against gay marriage. I couldn’t understand her argument. Literally. I knew the meaning of each word. I could not parse the sentences she was uttering.

More silence.

Early on. Fellow sitting at desk. Me and other fellow hanging out near door to room. Desk dude yells to door dude, “Are you going to the Klan meeting?”

Cue me staring in silence with slack jaw. I was pretty sure they were joking. Time to bait the Yankee. Pretty sure. I should say something. I couldn’t form a sentence that didn’t start with, ‘Are you out of your *#$% mind?!’

I could go on. Some were way worse. Some were lateral. My response is the same each time. Frozen disbelief leading to lack of external reaction, i.e. stunned silence.

It is easy to speak up when you know the audience is on the side of the angels.

Woman who worked with young women: They are being told not to excel because that makes their men feel bad.

Me, flabbergasted: Didn’t we already go thru that years ago?

Woman who worked with young women: I know, right?

[Giving Birmingham Its Due]

I did speak up in one instance. In a tiny way. It involved words. Are we surprised?

Fire department meeting. Situation under discussion. Speaker said, in that case they would send a truck to pick up the firemen. I piped up, ‘So you would leave me and X (other female FF) on the side of the road?’ Pointing out that ‘firemen’ is gendered, while ‘firefighter’ is not. It’s also a way better word. More active. More descriptive. Internal alliteration. But I digress.

The men of the department don’t understand, but they know to expect the fisheye from me if they slip.

[Labels: A Gender Rant]

I would get eyerolls, but I would get the right wording.

Such a small gesture. Does it even matter?

Political activist, I am not.

Bad blue dot.

Update: Proof that living in a blue state is not necessarily a fix, Imperfect Patience: BLUE DOT

Onwards!
Katherine

7 thoughts on “Life in Alabama, Being a Bad Blue Dot In A Really Red State

  1. The small gestures matter because they add up.

    I too find it hard to confront these things in the moment, so what I do now is simply say, quietly and calmly, “Oh, I disagree.” It doesn’t have to go any further than that if I don’t want it to, but it stops me from feeling complicit and, you never know, they could be the words that gets someone else thinking.

  2. You speak to my condition. I am a coward and usually stay silent. I choose my comfortable relationships over the morally correct response. They only exception is in a “safe” group gathering like a book club meeting when the issue is being discussed. There, it seems theoretical rather than personal.

    And I have always believed that I would have been in a resistance movement if I had lived in Europe during WWII. Books about WWII heroines always resonate with my fantasies. It would have been so exciting. But to disagree with my sons-in-law at a family gathering? No way.. I am ashamed.

    Thank you for making me feel less alone.

  3. Maryland is as far south as I ever want to live. My blue dot would forever be getting me in trouble. Hey, you’re a sagittarius too, we’re supposed to be outspoken. Altho I have learned to tone it down a bit…
    When I say horseman – a term which doesn’t bother me – it usually comes out sounding like horsemin.

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