American Mahala: It's Time to Stand Up

I've been mulling over this topic for a while, but when I start thinking about it, I get so worked up and pissed off that I have to drop it.

So I'm not going to give you my opinion on the election. I'm not going to point fingers or lay blame. What's done is done. Now we have to put on our big girl (or big boy) britches and figure out how we're going to survive.

Frog Pond Holler is a sort of micro society, with no real racial tension. There are no black people in the holler or anywhere nearby. There are a handful of folks from beyond the future home of the wall and one token Puerto Rican, Pepe, Louise's husband. There are a shit ton of Melungeons, but they either don't know it or don't want to, so I suppose it's safe to say that The Holler is mostly either white or perceived as white. 

It's been my experience that most "white" people really aren't, if they dig deep enough. "Human" should be the only race choice on government forms and job applications... but that's another post for another day.

I spent the first 20 plus years of my life in a culturally diverse metropolitan area and have lived here, in the middle of no-gawd-damned-where for 23. 

Until relatively recently, the only access these mountain folks had to the media were one or two t.v. channels they could pick up over the air, if you were lucky enough to live on the east side of the river, and newspapers. 

I was utterly grief stricken when landing at the old house up on the bank and learning there was no MTV. We could pick up the ABC affiliate out of Big City if I stood by the t.v. and held the antennae. That was it.

As the years rolled by, bringing a new road across the mountain and satellite bewb tube, a new reality began to emerge in Frog Pond Holler. The quaint simplicity of the remote mountain folk began to slowly melt away. Youngins who had never even MET a black person in their lives began flying giant confederate flags behind their pick up trucks. Racial slurs were being parroted from what they'd heard, conspiracy theorists were born. 

If you weren't paying attention, you probably wouldn't notice. But I was. And I did.

But now?

With the selection of our current president elect, it has become socially acceptable to a handful of ignorant individuals who exist in every community to lash out at women, attack people of color, discriminate against immigrants and abuse people of assorted sexual orientations and identities. 

The president elect did not create these poor, ignorant souls. They were always there. I know. I worked for one. The former general manager of The Cubicle Asylum loved to call our UPS driver a "crazy old nigger." He said the driver was cool with it, he'd known him a long time. That was the first time I damned near got fired from The Asylum.

He also spotted a spot of leftover lunch splatter on my blouse once and told me if I kept feedin' them titties, they'd just keep growing and they looked big enough to him.

He had three sexual harassment suits brought against him, that we knew of, which resulted in the harassees being paid off. He was protected by corporate, receiving a hand slap from the 1%. 

Anywho, my point is that as it is slowly becoming accepted to attack, abuse and discriminate any one who isn't a straight, white man and while the guilty segment of society has always existed, now they will be normalized. 

We need to arm ourselves. Not with guns (for gawds sake please don't run out and buy a gun.) Personally, I'm ordering myself and T.A. each big ass cans of pepper spray, not to run around town willy nilly, hosing down everyone who calls us names, but just in case some ignoramous suddenly decides they want to emulate the leader of the free world by grabbing themselves a handful of hooha.

And honestly, I'd probably just use the can of pepper spray to wail on his ass.. but anyway.

We also need to arm ourselves with information. Do you know what to do if you see someone being harassed? Remember "see something, say something?" Let's change that to "if you see something, DO something." 

Ask if the victim needs help. Engage the person being attacked in conversation. This will help them to ignore what's going on around them. Stay with them. Call 911. Try not to endanger yourself.

Now, I fully realize it's easy for me to sit here in the comfort of my hillbilly mansion and tell you to go out in to the world and take a stand. In all honesty, I'd really just love to build that privacy fence, turn off the news and abandon the world. 

But I can't. 

Last week, my little cousin was forced to drop out of high school after coming out on her Facebook page. The harassment she received from both students AND STAFF became so great that she was having full blown, hyperventilating, crying anxiety attacks when faced with simply boarding the school bus. 

This is not okay. 

I'll admit, the same thing may have happened if someone else had won the election, but it would not have been ignored by school board members as trivial and "her own fault." Lord knows, I had to call the same high school and rip the principal a new asshole after T.A. was forced to sit through a FCA presentation telling a tale of Christian cowboys shooting and killing the "Gypsy trash" that had brought their evil, Pagan ways to their community. 

Not at a Christian school. A public school. Your tax dollars at work folks. 

It may seem this would be a situation limited to an extremely rural area like Frog Pond Holler, but an estimated 46.2 million people in the U.S. reside in rural communities, or 15% of the population. It is my opinion that discrimination on this level is much more likely to be swept under the rug in smaller communities. 

The town cop goes to church with the teacher's daddy. The school board member is the principal's sister. You get the idea.

Look, I've been called a lesbian (by Bubbles' daughters, no less) in the DG parking lot. Jillybean, former sales clerk at The Asylum, told her daughter to be afraid of the "real witch" across the aisle the week before Halloween. And I've hung my head and scurried off both times. 

Being a lesbian or a witch are not to be ashamed of, but were intended as insults. And she was SCARING HER CHILD. .

And just in case Prince Charming is out there... or Duke Doofus... or Peasant Peter, I'm totally in to dudes. Just saying.

I truly feel bad for people who choose to surround themselves only with people of their own faith, ancestry or culture. They are missing out on endless enrichment of their lives. Why are we so afraid?? People are people.

So join me in lifting our voices and our heads in being proud of who we are, in supporting our brothers, sisters and cousins. Now more than ever we must stand up to the bullies, arm ourselves with words and hug our children. 

Please join me in remembering the following organizations while making your year-end, tax deductible donations:
If you don't have money, donate your time. No time? Then lend your voice.

Go tell it on the mountain.

Because for the next four years, our country is going to need us.