This was originally a post on FaceBook linked to this post. Read it first, then come back here.
When I was a kid growing up in a deeply Democratic family in a deeply Republican area in the south, I never understood the calls of “liberal elite.” After all, my family wasn’t elite. We were deeply working class in our ethos, even though by that time both my parents had put themselves through college and grad school. My parents, as white southerners who grew up in the Jim Crow era, were (and are) deeply committed to the Voting Rights Acts, Civil Rights Act, are extremely active in their local branch of the NAACP. We were pro-union, pro-New Deal, pro-Great Society, and anti-Reagan.
When I was about 5 my dad and I were watching one of the party conventions on TV (back then we always watched both), and I asked him why we were Democrats. He said it was because Republicans cared about big business interests and Democrats cared about “people like us.”
I was taught the importance of never crossing a picket line.
And then I went away to college. And for the first time, I saw and experienced what the Nikki Johnson-Huston wrote about from fellow white people. I was looked down for my southern accent, saw poor people, white and black, ridiculed for not buying fair trade coffee or for shopping at Walmart. I was even chastised for “racial insensitivity” for planning a picnic on Dogwood field (we are a farm school) because picnics are apparently racially insensitive, especially if they include fried chicken.
So I realized that while I may be left of center in many of my policy desires, I wasn’t a “liberal” and I certainly wasn’t a partisan Democrat.
I don’t know what I am, other than a deeply flawed sinner trying my best to follow Jesus in an increasingly complicated and interconnected world. I believe that we are stronger together than as individuals, that the needs of the many should outweigh the desires of the few, and that every single person should be equal in the eyes of the law, has a right to cast a ballot, and shouldn’t have to live in fear.
We live in hostile and rage filled times. It terrifies me.
E Pluribus Unum.