I moved to South Carolina about 20 years ago from Chicago, Illinois. Fresh out of a divorce, and frankly out of options, I moved to be close to my parents who had retired here. I was appalled at the attitudes and politics. I thought several times of moving back because I felt so alone in my beliefs here.
As I began to socialize, a funny thing happened. I started to find these little pockets of democrats like me. Soon I had built myself a nice little nest of people with whom I could safely be my liberal self, and that was enough.
When Trump won in 2016, I sat alone shellshocked. It took me weeks to snap out of it. Locally, people like me went to ground. Things got ugly quick. Pick-up truck driving good ole boys suddenly felt emboldened to fly confederate flags and “coal roll” Prius-driving ‘libs’ like me. I was smirked at a lot, and threatened more than once.
I was afraid because of the direction that things were going. And then I found the Resistance. I may not have had enough local friends to make a difference, but I had a virtual army of new friends online.
In 2017, I discovered I wasn’t nearly as alone as I thought. I was not a tiny lone blue dot in a sea of red. The Women’s March brought over one thousand of my fellow patriots to the streets.
The March for Science brought them out again.
Even more encouraging, The March for Our Lives brought 1,500 young people out into the street in my tiny city. It gave me hope.
Fast forward to this weekend, and I am once again hopeful. A lot has happened in the last few weeks on the national stage, but those kinds of things don’t pack much of a punch by the time they filter down to the small stages. My Mayor isn’t running his re-election campaign based on his impeachment opinion. He’s running on better schools and solving our flooding issues.But I do see a lot fewer confederate flags and the bigots are a little more reluctant to come out from under their rocks. The times, they are a’changin’. And thank goodness.
This weekend, my county democratic party held a “jamboree.” Several presidential candidates came to talk to us, several sent a surrogate because they couldn’t make it in person. I got to meet and chat with all of my democratic local and state representatives, and I even got a few selfies.
It was a beautiful day in South Carolina and my heart is full. I looked around at the 3,500 people in attendance and smiled. “These are my people” I said as I gestured to the crowd.
So my message to you is this: You are not as alone as you think you are. Even in ruby-red South Carolina there is hope abound. Find your Indivisible group, interact with your local, county and state Democratic Party. Be brave and reach out, you may be surprised. I was!
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