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Though I already posted this on Facebook I am sharing it here as well for one big reason: WRITERS, If we don’t take care of who we elect into powerful political positions we may lose our own power, our right to (peacefully) speak and write as we believe and as we choose.
So below is a personal experience that is alarming:
Last week I was returning home to Seattle from Portland, near Kelso WA, and in full disclosure I have a ‘Hilary 2016’ sticker on my bumper. I was ill due to some cancer treatments I am going through, and I had a car-sick puppy in the back seat, so I was already stressed.
Then three bearded young white men rushed up on me from behind and nearly rode my bumper. They honked, flashed their lights, rolled down their windows and flipped me off. I thought, okay maybe I’m going too slow (70 MPH), so I pulled into the next lane. They followed, still nearly on my bumper. Then they pulled up alongside me and that’s when I saw the ‘Clinton for Prison 2016’ stickers all over their newer red Ford truck. They shouted such pleasantries at me as, “Bitch’, F—ing C—t” and “Elitist”. Now, I’ve certainly been a ‘bitch’, and I won’t even address the other term, but Elitist? I grew up poor, never finished college, worked hard all my life, was a struggling single mom, and earned everything I now have through toil and ingenuity. So, ‘elitist’ (though a relative term) I don’t relate to.
Anyway, as they shouted my hands gripped the wheel and I steadied the car as they swerved toward me. My phone flew off the console to the floor, and my terrified dog started barking at them. Stress pulsed through me like a five alarm fire, which for a cancer patient going through treatment is horribly bad for an immune system. I wanted to grab my phone to call the police but it was out of reach. Then they quickly (and dangerously) veered off the highway at the next exit. My heart pounded. I was truly scared. As things calmed down, and since they didn’t hurt me, and I didn’t get their license plate, I decided to not stop and call the police, and instead focused on calming my puppy and driving safely.
Just a few minutes later a woman in an older mini-van pulled up alongside me, and with her cigarette dangling from her mouth she rolled her window down and yelled at me. I smiled, she kindly offered a middle finger wave. She hit the gas, sped up and immediately cut in front of me. I had to hit the brakes to not rear end her. Then she slowed WAY down. Needless to say I slowed way down more and then got into another lane. On her bumper was a sticker that read, ‘Trump that Bitch’ with pictures of him and Hilary.
At this point it was time to pull off I-5 for a much needed doggie break, but I was too afraid to visit a rest stop in an area with such hostility. I grew up in Portland and have lived in Seattle for 30 years. I have taken this drive thousands of times and NEVER have I experienced such hostility. In the early 2000’s I had Obama stickers, and never did anyone do that to me on the highway. I understand frustration and anger, but what instigates this aggressive antagonism?
As we passed the rest area, without stopping, a Swift—(not naming them) truck driver with tattoos and a big bushy beard who looked so much like my handsome grandson, pulled up and flipped me off, gave me a hostile look and shook his head as if I had committed a crime by supporting democracy. He kept staring at me with disdain. I worried he may swerve into me and hurl me off the freeway. Again, I slowed down until he passed.
Here’s the deal, politics aside, I, WE all have the right (at least so far) to express our political views in a peaceful way. Which is what I was doing. This was met by true TRUMP fanatic bullies who chose to intimidate a woman alone, a middle class taxpayer who was peacefully driving her Subaru, with a frightened puppy in the back seat.
Is this what we want, to be bullied, frightened and placed in potential danger on the freeway because of our political views? Because that’s what’s happening. And why is this escalation in rage against anyone who opposes a view, so rampant during this Trump candidacy? While Trump rails against global terrorist activity, and blames Hilary or Obama, he creates his own home-grown terrorist right here in our back yard.
I can’t help but see how this harkens back to the behavior of Brown Shirts, Nazis and other bullies during the Demagoguery of the Hitler era. Or the KKK, with whom Trump is also linked.
Now, I don’t LOVE Hilary, (though I like and respect a lot of what she’s done) and I don’t care if she becomes the first woman president, but I do care that Obama doesn’t’ become that LAST American president and that we don’t enter a world where a Demagogue is running our country like a business man with DEEP connections in Russia and nothing but making a good financial deal for himself, not the American people, but himself as his top priority.
Either way, no matter who you align yourself with, bullying does NOT belong on the freeway at 70 miles per hour. And I have the right in the United States of America to peacefully voice my opinion via a bumper sticker on my car. AND at this point by writing my views without fear of reprisal. Many have told me to take the sticker off my car. I will not. I have responded with gratitude for my safety but a big HELL NO! and I’ve ordered a bigger sticker for my next trip to Portland, through the valley of bullying trumpets who would steal my voice.
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By Miri Elm
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