I got a funny comment on a link on my official OE FB page yesterday. Someone implied that I’m an idiot. I don’t even think she bothered to read the offending post that prompted her to insult me. I think she was reacting to the photo with the post, which was of a grey, long-sleeved, t-shirt that had a picture of an orange version of the poison control’s Mr. Yuk on it and a caption that read “tRump is an idiot. Stay away.”
She wrote, “The only idiot I see…”
Who? Moi? I wasn’t absolutely sure what she was saying, so I went looking on her Facebook page to clarify. Sure enough, she had a 2019 era link to a post about Donald Trump and a personal comment about how awful it is that so many people “hate” him. She writes that those of us who disdain Trump must be “miserable”, and she “prays” for us because we’re so negative. She actually referred to those who oppose Trump as “haters”. From that, I surmised that she supports Mr. Trump and doesn’t understand why so many of us dislike him so much. Her comment on the link she shared was pretty thoughtful and reasonable. I might be willing to have a discussion with someone who practices what she preaches. But then she came on my OE FB page yesterday and called me an “idiot”, even though we’ve never met and she didn’t even engage me in a meaningful conversation. So I’m not sure she’s innocent of being hateful herself.
The woman’s last name is Fletcher, so I was inspired to dedicate a song to her. She appeared to be old enough to get the reference. If you were around in the 1980s, you probably remember it, too.
I’ve never seen Ms. Fletcher on my social media before, and I doubt I’ll see her again. I don’t even know how she found herself on my Overeducated Housewife Facebook page. It’s not a very busy page, and I’ve decided that’s the way I like it. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t write this blog for money or fame. It’s just a place for me to express my opinions and share travel and music adventures. I leave it open for those who enjoy it. Since I moved to WordPress, I get a lot less traffic and fewer mean comments. But this blog is starting to pick up steam, so I suspect I’ll start getting more nastygrams from strangers who don’t like what I have to say.
Being called an idiot isn’t a big deal. At least Ms. Fletcher didn’t call me a cunt, like ‘ol Bill did. I’ll even admit that sometimes I am legitimately an idiot. However, when it comes to my opinions about Donald Trump, I don’t think I’m an idiot at all. The man has always been shady and creepy. The fact that some people voted for him in red states and made him the president of the United States doesn’t change my opinions about him. He’s not worthy of being the president. Any man who openly brags about grabbing women by the pussy should NOT be involved in world leadership, as far as I’m concerned. Trump has done a whole lot more bad things besides making misogynistic comments, but the minute he started bragging about molesting women at will, he should have been knocked out of contention for the White House. In 2020, we don’t need a sexual predator running the United States.
As I am still an American citizen, and we are the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, I feel quite alright in sharing my opinions about him– the most public of public figures— with those who care. Isn’t freedom of expression still one of our greatest liberties in the United States? Of course, it looks to me like Mr. Trump would love to muzzle the press and opinionated people like me. He doesn’t like to be criticized.
About an hour after I left that cute parody song for Ms. Fletcher, I noticed a spike in hits on another post I wrote about Trump supporters. They almost all came from several communities in Tennessee, very close to the Alabama border. One link came from Texas. I figure someone must have shared the link on Facebook, or something, because I got lots of hits all of a sudden on that one post. I assume they were friends and neighbors from the same community; perhaps even people in a local Facebook group. I decided to look up the places from where the hits were coming. Interestingly enough, one hit came from Pulaski, Tennessee.
I come from Virginia, and we have a Pulaski there, too. I was curious, so I looked up Pulaski, Tennessee, and read about its racist history. Pulaski is where the Ku Klux Klan was founded back in 1866. Nearby Franklin, Tennessee is where the first lynching of a Jewish man ever took place in the United States. On August 15, 1868, Samuel Bierfield was fatally shot by a horde of masked men who were believed to be members of the Ku Klux Klan. Bierfield was born in Latvia and came to Toronto in the 1850s. His life’s journey brought him to Franklin, Tennessee in 1866, where he opened a store and hired a black man named Lawrence Bowman. The two men were attacked; Bierfield was shot four times in the head at point blank range. Bowman was badly wounded and later died of his injuries. No one was ever charged with a crime.
The other hits from Tennessee were also from around that same area, not far from the Alabama border. I got pings from Lawrenceville, Tennessee, Leoma, Tennessee, Franklin, Tennessee, Columbia, Tennessee, and Lewisburg, Tennessee, as well as a couple of hits from League City, Texas. Now… it’s possible that there are people in those towns who feel the same way about Donald Trump that I do, but somehow I doubt it. I come from a conservative Southern town in Virginia myself, and I have an inkling about what life is like in small town America where people tend to vote Republican. Moreover, it seems that Tennessee still embraces racism, where people celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general and a Ku Klux Klan leader. Last year, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a proclamation declaring July 13 Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, thanks to an obscure 1971 law requiring that the governor issue proclamations for six state holidays each year, including days for Nathan Bedford Forrest and Robert E. Lee.
Maybe the people from Tennessee reading my post about Trump supporters were reading because they feel the way I do about Trump, but I have a feeling that they don’t. I wonder why they’d want to know my thoughts about their dear leader. Why does it matter to them what I think? Why look to be offended by one woman’s thoughts on a little read blog? No one left me a comment, but I’ll bet they were discussing my article on Facebook. I wouldn’t be shocked if they were posting degrading things about me. But since I don’t look to be offended, I’m not going to try to find out what they think about me. I’d rather not know.
When you’re a woman in a military community and have the nerve to refer to yourself as an “overeducated housewife”, you get a good dose of the nasty attitudes some ignorant folks from small towns harbor toward “uppity women” who dare to share their views. Those types of people– most of whom are white, southern men– prefer their women to be pretty, petite, polite, obliging, and docile. If you’re a woman who isn’t naturally like that and you refuse to change, you can expect to be on the receiving end of abuse. I’ve been called all sorts of distasteful names by people, but it doesn’t really matter. People I have loved have said worse things to me, so why should I care what some random yahoo on the Internet thinks?
I was raised by a conservative, southern, white man who didn’t like me very much. The feeling was mutual, if I’m honest. My dad often verbally told me that he loved me, but he also let me know in no uncertain terms that he didn’t much like me. He often complained about my laugh, saying it was too loud and “cackle like”. He said I was too opinionated and obnoxious. He said I was too fat, and called me “bitchy”. He accused me of being arrogant, and when it turned out that I had inherited a nice singing voice from him, tried to compete with me, even going so far as hiring the same voice teacher.
My dad said I’d never make more than minimum wage or find anyone to love me. Fortunately, he was wrong on both counts. There have been times when I’ve been paid hourly as much as six times the federal minimum wage. Since I married Bill, who is himself a white, southern man, I don’t even have to worry about making money. At least for now, Bill makes enough to support us quite comfortably, and he doesn’t mind sharing his wealth with me. By the way, my husband was very much loved by my dad, who appreciated the fact that Bill had served his country in the Army. One thing my dad was proud of me for was that I served my country in the Peace Corps. But other than that, he didn’t seem too impressed with me as his last descendant. He was usually a lot more critical than complimentary when it came to his opinions about me.
One time, my dad said he thought I was “nice looking”. I laughed and said, “You’re my dad; you have to say that.” His retort was, “No, I don’t.”
When people had a problem with me, more often than not, my dad would take the other person’s position. Sometimes, when I would express a thought, my dad would say derisively, often in front of other people, “Nobody cares about your opinion.” When I was living with my parents and had a room with its own bathroom, my dad would sometimes go out of his way to use it. He wouldn’t flush after peeing, so I’d later find his stale urine in the toilet, just as if he was a dog marking his territory.
At my sister’s graduate school graduation in 2003, when I was 30 years old and married, my dad chastised and humiliated me loudly in front of a crowd of strangers. I wanted to strangle him right then and there, but we had to get through a celebratory lunch.
By the time my father died in 2014, our relationship had become quite complicated. I was the only one of his four daughters who didn’t care to help spread some of his ashes at Virginia Military Institute. I still harbor a lot of ill will toward him and, I’m afraid it sometimes comes out when I run into certain types of people on the Internet.
So yeah… I have heard a lot of bad things from men over the years, some of them in the form of mean-spirited comments from men I’ve actually loved. A lot of men have tried to put me in my place and shut me up through shaming, insults, bullying, threats, and intimidation. I’ve run into some women who are like that, too. Bullies come in all shapes, sexes, and sizes. It’s taken me a long time to decide to fight back against bullies with conviction, but now that I’ve started, I won’t ever go back to being a victim.
But, for all I know, the hits from last night were all from people like Ms. Fletcher, who evidently simply respects Trump because he’s the president, and thinks we all should, too, even if he doesn’t act like someone respectable. She called me an “idiot” in a roundabout kind of way, which I guess is her right. So she thinks I’m an idiot. The feeling is mutual. But the rest of those hits from the KKK hotbed in Tennessee make me suspicious. I’m glad I live in Germany, where people aren’t armed to the teeth and automatically brimming with hatred toward those who see things differently and dare to express themselves. Germans have a troubled history, but they are wise enough to have mostly learned from it. I have hope that more Americans will learn, too.