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home : opinions : opinions January 22, 2018

10/17/2017 1:24:00 PM
We are not enemies
By Tiffany Lee Brown, a.k.a. "T"

In the October 11 edition of The Nugget, Jennifer Hills describes wanting to buy a gun because she no longer believes she can count on neighbors to look out for each other in an emergency. Why not? Because she has seen people putting up signs that say, "In our America...".

The Nugget needs to print what the signs actually say, if these letters are going to make any sense. The signs are in the shape of the American flag, and they read: "In our America-all people are equal. Love wins. Black lives matter. Immigrants & refugees are welcome. Disabilities are respected. Women are in charge of their bodies. People & planet are valued over profit. Diversity is celebrated."

Our family camped all summer this year. Our sign came with us from Cold Springs campground on Highway 242 to the slopes of Mt. St. Helens, from McKay Crossing Falls on Paulina Creek over to the Oregon Coast. All sorts of people stopped by to chat about it. Some were curious. Some agreed with every word. One, a longtime Sisters resident, liked many of the sentiments but didn't think women should be in charge of their pregnancies. It was good to have a chance to talk about these things - not through Fox News or NPR, but just talking amiably in real life. We disagree about some stuff? Well, so it goes. One time, I thought this big-booted, enormous dude was coming over to kick our liberal asses; instead he thanked us for the sign, and he cried, talking about his disabled relatives and how hard their lives have been.

Ms. Hills calls these putting out these signs "vacuous virtue-signaling" without offering any explanation for the insult. Has she spoken to folks who put those signs up, and found them to be lacking in virtue, vacuous in mind? Why assume they wouldn't be helpful neighbors in time of need?

Hysterical television commentators and Twitter addicts want us to believe that having different opinions about abortion or immigration reform makes us enemies. For most people, it's not true.

Ask my progressive friend who drove around in his truck helping people and their animals evacuate during recent fires - he wasn't quizzing anyone on whether they'd voted for Trump, Hillary, or Bernie. Ask the conservative Christian who took in my family during Milli. Ask the hundreds of guys and gals who went down to Houston with their boats during the flood (and let's not assume every hunter and fisherman in camo is conservative, either! I know a lot of moderates and liberals who hunt, fish, dress the part, and would come rescue anyone who needed it, in seconds flat).

I'm not sure who benefits from the story that we all hate each other and have nothing in common. Some politicians, probably, and a bunch of extremist bloggers and actual-fake-news sites. I'm not buying that story. I don't believe my neighbors would leave me to die in a forest fire because I've got piercings, tattoos, goofy haircolor, and an "In Our America..." sign.

I sure wouldn't leave them.

Jennifer Hills is welcome to come have a cup of coffee with me. After that, if she wants to call me vacuous and unvirtuous, then OK, let's hear about it. If the coffee goes really bad, we can both buy guns and challenge each other to a duel. Anything would be better than the blanket assumption that everyone with a sign is a virtue-free, bad neighbor who wouldn't have your back in an emergency.

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2017
Article comment by: Robert Hill

Thanks, Tiffany. I knew that but it is nice to be reminded once in a while.

Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2017
Article comment by: R J Jones

Bravo. Bravo plus thanks to Tiffany Lee Brown.
Perfectly put, and speaks for me.
Indeed, in the recent California fires (as well as all the hurricane events) there are countless stories of help from both neighbors and strangers. And no hint that any of them cared a whit about the ideology or politics or personal beliefs or personal behaviors of the people they rescued. Let alone what signs they had on their lawns or what stickers they had on their vehicles.

I shudder to imagine what Ms. Hill's America is, if it's not described by that sign.

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