Three white women speaking in the preschool hallway.
Two of them are women I’ve known for three years. Their children were in Major’s toddler class and we’ve known each other fairly well. The third is a nanny for one of the richest families in our preschool community. A woman I’ve walked past every day but haven’t said much to. They were speaking about yesterday’s voting. There was lamentation about the winner on the Republican side (I won’t write his name on this blog. I refuse to give him presence here.).
The nanny goes off. “I wish that woman would just go home. I wish she would go and just play with her granddaughter!”
The other women only minimally commiserate. “All of the options are pretty rough,” one of them says.
“Well, I just can’t think of a more power-hungry woman that Hillary Clinton! She’s awful!” The Nanny continues.
“Well, they’re all power-hungry. That’s why they are running for president!”
There is other chatter. People are realizing that the conversation is getting to hot for the children around us.
But then the Nanny says this: “Well you know, the only reason why those people are voting for her is so that they can keep getting their freebies from the government.” She rubs her fingers, making the money sign with her hand with a sneer.
I raised an eyebrow in my friend’s direction, fully understanding what the woman meant. There is a pause. Next thing I know, the woman is glancing in my direction. She had realized one of “those people” was standing right behind her.
She shrugged, kept going. Talking about how That Man has good Christian values because he’s anti-choice. She even deflected and defended as the other two women talked about That Man’s refusal to flat out and unequivocally disavow the KKK.
I walked away. I put hands on my children.
Then I went to church to pray
but ended up crying instead.
There were actually a lot of Those Supporters at my little polling place yesterday. They had their signs, their happy grins, their jovial parading of their hateful proclivities. I know where I live. I know that I’m on the outer-most border between the true suburbs and truly rural areas. I know that I’m in Massachusetts, where white people have always been and will always be really angry.
and yet, I also know that I live in a town with one of the highest concentrations of advanced degrees in the entire state. This is not just any sort of place. This is supposed to be a different sort of place. And I know that it’s not everyone around here. It’s just more than I wanted to believe, you know?
Ignorance was certainly bliss. I feel so differently, so unsafe.
Because as people come out of the woodwork and let all of the bigotry hang out in the open, more people get bold, more people get loud. Then suddenly, you’re the only Black person in the grocery store when someone is having a moment and makes a decision to do something about it…
I’m having a hard time, Dear Reader. Tomorrow, I hope, will be a better day.
I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.