Are You a Ragweed or a Magnolia?

Mary Margaret

A southern woman who voted for Trump is the antithesis of a steel magnolia. I call ’em ragweeds; they turn everything positive into abject misery.

The spineless ragweed is the closet Trump voter – a woman who claims she voted for the lesser of two evils. She’s too lazy to do her own thinking and follows her spouse’s views. These women are relics of the Phyllis Schlafly era with her seventy’s era anti-feminist crusade.

The uppity ragweed is the rich white woman of a certain age who was a cheerleader in high school, dated the captain of the football team and attended an exclusive all-girls college. They belong to the country club and their husband is a big deal in the rotary club. She clutches her pearls at Trump’s gaffes but “likes what he is doing for the country.” The very mention of the word socialism gives her the vapors, but she turns a blind eye to totalitarian and authoritarian agendas.

The stupid ragweed votes against her own interest. These are the groupies who line up outside arenas waiting for a Trump rally. Sporting racially insensitive tee shirts accessorized with a flag embellished scarf and a maga ball cap they look like rejects from people of Walmart. Lord love a duck; they do nothing to dispel the perception that southern women have three teeth and a third-grade education.

Southerners consider the ragweed a curse. Seems to me the choice is clear; why would anyone want to be a ragweed when they could be a magnolia?

Nostalgia

I am not sentimental or nostalgic. I rarely look back on what many of my generation refer to as “the good old years.”

I enjoy the benefits of living in an age where I can carry my phone with me. I believe online shopping is a godsend and who can complain about watching first-run movies at home in your jammies and fuzzy shoes?

When I do look back, I realize how thankful I am for my childhood. It saddens me that current political stances make those experiences impossible for other children.

If I could go back in time, I’d take my six-year-old self by the hand and tell her to soak up the treasure of her diverse community. The Lebanese, Syrian, Jewish and Greek merchant’s shops she visits with her grandmother reveal cultures that she would have never experienced otherwise. She doesn’t know this will shape her acceptance of other people.

The children of these immigrants are her school mates. Their surnames are their only distinguishing factors. Like her, they live for recess and hate arithmetic as much as she does. She doesn’t know that her future holds a government that fails to value the diversity of immigrants.

The beginning of every school day began with the pledge of allegiance, before “under God” was added. (My six-year-old self attended Sunday school and if I am truthful, she didn’t think much about God until the following Sunday.) There was no school prayer thus no one suffered the indignity of paying respects to an unfamiliar deity in a diverse classroom.

As a fifth-generation Texan, I knew about guns. My father did not own a gun and we never felt unsafe due to the absence of a weapon in our home. My six-year-old self looked forward to the fire and tornado drills in school as a respite from the classroom. I cannot imagine the fear she would have felt at the thought of hiding from a gunman.

A six year old today has never experienced the wonder of summer fireflies teasing us with the mystery of their source of light. Butterflies, bees and some species of birds no longer visit.

I can look back with joy at the advantages my six year old self enjoyed. Without significant change in our leadership, a six year old today will inherit a world sadly lacking those advantages.

Situations are Deplorable; People Are Not

Despite being an ardent trump supporter, he is a good man; a fervent evangelical who follows the tenets of that group. He had no qualms about altering his faith to support a leader who has a serious deficit in humanity.

His political beliefs meet all the qualifications for a so-called “Deplorable.” I first wrote about him this past November.

I ran into him last week and he told me he is recovering from a serious illness. His doctor recommended more tests and a consultation with a specialist.

He has no insurance.

He is not able to work full time because of his illness.

Due to his reduced income, he cannot afford the extra tests or a visit to a specialist.

I did not ask him if his virulent opposition to President Obama and the affordable care act had changed.

I did not mention that now he has a pre-existing condition which is insurance-speak for you got screwed.

I wished him well and told him I am sorry for his illness.

And I am sorry.

I am sorry, he relied on tribe mentality to define his political views.

I am sorry he turned a blind eye to Trump’s total indifference to the less fortunate.

I am sorry he supports a regime that works against his best interest.

He was searching for leadership that would lead to a better life.

He is not deplorable; he is betrayed.