You probably don’t remember me. I am probably one of a blur of vague, snowflake, millennial types. Or maybe I’m part of a blur of Jews, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just one of the many people you must encounter on your daily to-do that make you seethe with hatred and rage, I can only imagine because I don’t know a lot about you. I do know you’re an older man, probably near my grandfather’s age. I know you were wearing a military veteran hat, and I know you were using a walker. And I know you were waiting in the line at the pharmacy to collect medication that no doubt sustains and prolongs your life. And I know you’re white, and I know you’re a Republican.
All but the last were clearly visible. The last I only know because of what you said to me. You see, I didn’t say anything at all to you. I didn’t address you. Didn’t even look your way until I heard the words you spoke to my back. But I know what I said before you spoke, and so I know what emboldened you to say it.
I had just left the counter, having paid over $1,500 for my husband’s life-sustaining and prolonging medication. I’m guessing you’re on Medicare, but he isn’t, and that medication represents not only the likelihood of his continuing to live, somewhat safely, but a majority of our budget. And I said to my mother (who is fortunately hard of hearing and did not hear you when you spoke after me) that I was desperate for ANY of the Democratic candidates to become president, and for our healthcare system to be overhauled because spending $1,500 on ANY medication is abhorrent. I did not say this to you, but I said it near you, and I assume you took personal umbrage, because with my back turned to you I heard you say, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”
I don’t know if you were talking about me, specifically, but I am essentially a Democrat. And here’s the thing, I am used to hearing such words. “The only good feminist is a dead feminist,” “The only good Jew is a dead Jew.” But to have it hurled at me because I want my tax dollars to go to keeping vulnerable people like my husband alive instead of to the pockets of billionaires and millionaires, this I cannot begin to fathom.
I locked eyes with you for a split second, until I realized my mother had not heard you, and rather than drag her into your vile perspective, I followed her down the aisle and out of the building, but your words have not left me. I have questions for you, sir.
Do you mean to say you want me dead? What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for Donald Trump to give you the word so you can grab your pistol and shoot me in the face? Why wait, if I’m better dead already? Do you mean to say you want my husband dead? Do you mean to say you want my children dead? It’s too late for them, I expect. I’ve spent every day of their young lives teaching them that in this country we respect and protect all people, regardless of their skin color and their religion and their sexual and gender identity, that their bodies are their own to do with as they please, that they can grow up and do anything so long as they are kind and moral and generous and humble. I have taught them to love people with religions, races, ethnicities, identities other than their own. I have taught them to protect and defend the environment from pollution. I have taught them that the purpose of a society and a government is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It’s too late. They’re left-leaning, pinko liberals. They like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. They listen to “Marlon Bundo” in the car, and they know that friends love their friends no matter who their friends love. Do you mean to tell me my children are better dead?
That you feel so emboldened to say such things, in broad daylight, in public, in a crowded pharmacy, astounds and terrifies me. That nobody within earshot, including myself, held you to account is a civic embarrassment to our entire community.
Sir, when you said those words in the pharmacy, I had heard them before, but only ever so boldly and upfront when they were uttered by men in white hoods marching through the town where I grew up.
I guess, from the hat you wore, you are a veteran of WWII. As the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz approached, I dwelled on your words. Men wearing your uniform are the reason I am here. The reason I and my children, the reason the descendants of the political opponents of the Third Reich, the Jews and Rroma and homosexuals and disabled people who were rounded up and imprisoned and slaughtered, the reason we are in America, land of the free, where our civil liberties were promised us and where we were told we could be who we are in safety. Is it any wonder that so many of the descendants of the survivors of the Holocaust advocate for the rights of the other? It is no surprise to me, at least, that the defenders of the man in the White House refer to his impeachment as a “Jew Coup.”
I wonder when you decided to switch allegiances to the losing side of that war.
Next time you decide to announce that the only good Democrat is a dead one, I will say these things to you. I am tired of holding this fear and resentment and hurt in my heart. I am tired of pretending you are beyond reach, or that you will eventually die and take your hateful ideology with you.
I will stand in your face and I will say, “I am a Democrat, I am a Jew, and if Hitler couldn’t erase me from the world, neither can Donald Trump and neither can you, so either keep your mishigas to yourself or come to my door with your hood on and kill my family now. I may no longer believe there are any good Republicans, but while that does not mean I wish you death, I do wish you would go fuck yourself.”
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Read about the apathy and hatred in America here: When Some Children Matter and Some Don’t
Read my most recent post here: Our Community is Our Miracle
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