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A few years back some local politicians, mayors, city managers, what have you, began posting things on social media that made me sound like a Canadian, as in I pulled back and said, “‘Eh?!”

Say wut?

Things like “fascists are secretly meeting and planning to invade the area, so support me if you want preserve your way of life. We must fight the Nazis!” Imagine my vast surprise when I found myself getting lumped into that category, a racist, fascist, Very Bad Deplorable. I stopped going to city council meetings, I stopped trying to fight politically. The truth is, you can’t reason with false hatred, with blind ideology. I wasn’t a person anymore, I was a caricature of the enemy, a troll, a thing to be hated and feared.

This is a tiny town, I’ve been here for some 40 years now off and on, so I know a fair amount about the area. We really have no KKK meetings, no secret Nazi’s living in the trees. We had one once, an elderly man and he was a genuine Nazi youth, in his youth. Absolute, unrepentant Nazi, indoctrinated from day one, but also he spent most of his time drinking himself to death and vomiting down the front of himself, so he wasn’t much a threat to anyone.

I eventually quit working for him because I’d leave and have to sit in my car and just cry. He made me believe in hell again and the fact that there are people who actually choose it for themselves. That guy had some major demons stuck to him. He wasn’t an object of wrath at all, or someone to be loathed, he was someone to be pitied.

I’ve actually crossed paths with white supremacists, the real kind, a few times in my life. They really aren’t big, bad, and scary, what they usually are is broken, confused, and sad. Lost boys, like the ones who tend to join gangs, who want to fit in and belong to some kind of family. There is often a lot of meth, cocaine, and heroin abuse going on, and relationship struggles, issues around masculinity, problems with women, suicidal tendencies.

I promise you, real racists don’t make you think “man the battle stations and grab the pitchforks,” they break your heart, they leave you in tears, repentant actually, sad that we as a culture have so tragically failed to nurture them. A lot of them were horribly abused as children, grew up in single parent homes, and are terribly insecure. As a mom it really pierces your heart, because you can feel the ache, the loneliness, the despair, the need to be loved and to belong.

It’s so wrong to create division in this area, to try to build a cancel culture, to promote divisiveness, divisions built on lies, false rumors and innuendoes, gossip really. That is an epic fail of leadership, but worse than that, it is just plain evil. It is not about serving the well being of the community, it is about glorifying your own self righteousness and attempting to amass social power and political favor. It’s actually about being a bully, with your fingers in your ears going nah, nah, nah.

When I look at my local leadership that’s all I see now, self righteous smugness, a bunch of preening peacocks living in an echo chamber, praising themselves for their vast moral superiority.

I’m really silenced in this community and I feel as if “we the people” have no voice. Obviously I refuse to be silent, refuse to live in that state of being. I’m singing out from the rooftops everywhere I go, but the forces trying to silence people who actually live here is a tangible thing. Actually, it’s really kind of fascist.

I’m going to plead for change, I’m going to plead that we stop this insanity. We need to treat people with respect, with compassion, and to perceive them as individuals who have a right to exist. If you’re going to lead in this community than you need to remember that you are here to serve the people. Promoting hatred and divisiveness serves no one.