Yesterday, for Easter, I picked up my oldest brother, who is dealing with Parkinson’s, and my sister-in-law, to take to my older brother’s house for Easter. My older brother lives in York, Pennsylvania, and my oldest brother lives in deepest darkest rural Pennsylvania, in this case, southern Huntingdon County. Since I live in one part of rural PA and driving to another part of rural PA, I drove through a lot of…rural PA.
You probably have no idea how to get there.
Easter itself was a little surreal in the unique style of drama that my family can conjure, but this post is not about that.
It’s about the signage I drove past. There are pockets of Pennsylvania that are like vortices of intense conservative hate and you can tell you are in one based on what you see in front of homes. There are plenty of Trump signs, of course, but there are also even darker expressions of political craziness.
One is No Quarter American flags, which are Old Glory in black and white. This is what they mean. I know that some think the Democrats shall invoke the Magical Unity Fairy by “reaching out” to these people. Take it from a guy who lives around them, someone who is basically telling anyone who is left of center that if indeed there is a civil war, they will slaughter you on sight, is just not going to want a hug.
There are signs promising the death penalty for trespassers, signs warning you libs that they are the ones with the guns, and of course, signs attacking Joe Biden in various ways. One home I passed down old PA State Route 655 seemed to house confused people. I say this because one Biden sign was calling him weak and senile, another was implying he was a powerful freedom-killing dictator.
There are, of course, non-crazy people in rural Pennsylvania. I know some, and I don’t think I’m all that crazy. There are those of us who do not subscribe to ideas such as our democracy must be destroyed to keep the Blacks and gays from overrunning Real America, or whatever is the insanity du jour. But we’re a bit frightened by our neighbors.
I know that people who don’t live in a rural area dismiss a truck covered in bumper stickers featuring violent imagery or an “it’s always liberal season” target sign on a front yard as all talk. But, they have already shown us that it’s more than talk. January 6 is one example. We rural Democrats see our neighbors expressing these violent thoughts, deal with locals glaring at us at the town convenience store, and even sometimes hear automatic rifle fire off in the distance.
Charles Pierce, the political writer with Esquire is fond of saying that there is a wildness in the country right now. I hope it can tame itself. It serves no one to ignore that this wildness is real, but because it is and is a real problem.
I am not saying we need to get into any sort of conflict with them beyond politics. But at least some of them do want to get into a deeper conflict with us, from keeping us from voting to outright killing us. Politicians, including any Republican with a shred of decency, should start taking this a lot more seriously.
The last word goes to these four British guys who made music of some esteem during the 1960s.