The first one was in my neighbor’s yard across the street – the Biden/Harris sign looking like someone had taken a bat to it. As I drove through Swarthmore, following Yale Ave to Swarthmore Ave., I saw dozens of Biden/Harris signs all showing evidence of– what? I imagined a carload (or caravan?) of angry, ignorant white men, their misplaced rage simmering, waiting for word from their inspirational leader, Donald Trump. They are “standing by.”
It reminded me of an incident at Wawa a few weeks ago when another customer freaked out that I, a white- haired, white woman, was wearing a Black Lives Matter mask. Then there’s the house on Crum Creek Rd. in Upper Providence, the short-cut from Media to Lawrence Park, where the road turns right and the farmhouse on the left has full-size cow sculptures grazing on the front lawn. Across the street, a rather ramschackle property sports next to the road four 4’ x’8 plywood panels where the owner has written in paintbrush the top ten most popular right-wing conspiracy theories from “Dems kill babies” to some vague reference to Jews. When I stopped to take a picture, a man came out of the house, shouting something at me, something metallic in his right hand. I avoided eye contact and slowly moved on. Was it a gun? Is he part of one of PA’s fifty-plus militia groups who, before the virus, held one of their statewide monthly meetings at the Sproul Bowling Lanes in Marple?
Our lives and our futures are at stake with the increased presence of armed militia men acknowledged by authorities as the biggest terrorist threat to America. Their plans to kidnap and kill the woman governor of Michigan, plus the range of irrational threats from right-wing conspiracy theories and the misinformation and lies spread by the propaganda media, and ignoring the facts of science and reality, are harming so much that was and could still be America. Apathy is not acceptable.
I started to write a poem based on Trump’s policies (or lack thereof) being responsible for not preventing a thousand (or more) unnecessary deaths. I considered for the title, “Typhoid Trump: Mass murderer in chief”whose actions suggested depraved indifference to human life, enough for a warrant for manslaughter in most states. Thinking about the violence behind the Biden-Harris sign bashing, I knew that the poem would exist only in my head.
I am afraid, very afraid…