Early this year I was at a bowling alley. We had just finished up a league, and my team had already left. I made the “good-bye” social rounds and went to my lanes to pack up my stuff, where I inadvertently walked up on a conversation amongst the team we had just finished bowling against.
I heard, “Uh oh. Here’s a Trump hater.”
I had no clue what the conversation was (other than, duh, about Trump), but I really had no interest whatsoever in engaging in a political argument at a bowling alley. Many people cannot distinguish between hatred for the destruction Trump wreaked upon our body politic (a hatred I have) and hatred of the man himself (I do not). Since such nuance is really not the norm in the bowling environment, I put my head down and my mind into closing up my bags.
Somebody else said, “You wanna kill her too?”
THAT got my attention. I looked up to see one of the other team’s members looking at me angrily. I was shocked into reaction.
“What the hell are you people talking about? Who’s wanting to kill me?”
Him: “Nah, I don’t wanna kill her. But we’re definitely gonna have to kill people who are trying to steal the election. The liberals are ruining our country.”
The man was obviously insane. He was standing there talking about killing people. Going on about a civil war. We went back and forth for a few, as I lost my hold on my temper.
Me: “Buddy, you don’t want to be coming after me. I will NOT react well.”
Him: “I was in the military, and I’m trained with weapons. People like you won’t know what hit them.”
People like me?? What does that even mean? He had NO IDEA what my politics are.
Me: “You piece of s&%t. If you come down my road looking for me, I’ll be waiting there for you. Bring it!”
I was shaking. Pretty much freaking out. Screaming at the guy, “Trump sucks!!” I lost it completely.
On Jan 6 — two days after this unsettling, totally bizarre “conversation” — a group of people every bit as crazy as this guy joined a much larger group of “mostly peaceful” protesters, and proceeded to try to overthrow an election. For all I know, he was there.
But what about the rest of his team — people I know and considered friends? They just sat there. One had his head lowered into his hand. Discomfort? Clearly. But they stayed silent while this man raved about killing their friends or neighbors. Did they agree with him? I’ll never know, but every time I see those people now, I wonder: Do they want to kill me?
To this day — more than six months after the election — more than half of Republicans think Trump is the legitimate president and that the election was stolen. The former president continues to blow upon the embers of this fantasy, firing up lunatics like the one in the bowling alley; people who seemingly neither understand nor care that they are cracking the foundations of our democracy.
I don’t know how this tale is going to end, but here at the mid-plot? Things are not looking good for the ole U S of A. Yes, it’s partly because of the raging insanity at the fringes, but it’s also due to the lack of leadership — at any level. Republican leaders are reportedly afraid of “the base”, and so won’t speak out. Is that what’s happening at local levels as well? Or to people like my friends who sat there, uncomfortable, while someone they know made threats against others?
After all these years, is this country going down without a whimper? Will nobody stand against the tide of insanity? It sure does look like it.