I’d love to only spread messages of hope and love. I’d love to keep my messages happy. But there is a serious problem with domestic terrorism in this country and Union County is not going to be exempt. I have to deliver a grim message about local threats here but stick around because there is also a message of hope.
A while back, I wrote a blog about how people in Union County were falling victim to misinformation and, in response, were threatening violence. I made the point that it is only a matter of time before these folks decide to act on the craziness they believe. Following a search of Mar-a-Lago, a devoted Trump cult member decided to attack an FBI office. Thankfully the terrorist was the only one killed in the encounter, but it underscores how easily these folks can be convinced to commit acts of atrocity. The common thread is stupidity.
This past Saturday a group of individuals who pretend to stand for freedom (although their idea of freedom does not seem to extend to minority groups) organized a “free-dumb train” to protest a local establishment. East Frank Superette is best known in this community for providing a safe, fun, and welcoming environment to the town of Monroe. People come from all over for their drag shows that are sold out almost immediately. Upon word of the organized protest, the owners of East Frank Superette invited the whole community to come down to party at the same time. And party we did!
A fantastic group of people from all walks of life were in attendance to greet “Y’all Qaeda” with smiles and cheers. I met a lot of wonderful people! I had conversations with folks I’d never met before, friends that I’ve only known through online interactions, and people I haven’t seen in years. Cars were driving up and down the street cheering us on. Support from the community was overwhelming! “Vanilla ISIS”, comprised of about seven trucks, never showed. Two trucks that were on the opposite side of our cause (whether originally part of the protest or just random is unknown) drove by honking their horns. They were separated by about 10 minutes and, due to the overwhelming support from other cars driving by, I don’t know if anyone else even picked up on their right-wing stickers as we were cheering and waving.
It was a day of hope! We showed up! They knew their numbers were pathetic and chickened out. While we can laugh at them now, and I will absolutely continue to do so, there is still the chance that these domestic terrorists will take another run at organized harassment, or worse.
Please take some time to think about how we can continue to outnumber them. Let me start with an easy ask; triple your vote! I’m asking you to get three people that weren’t going to vote in November to change their minds. Just pick three people and continue to work on them. Regular check-ins, updates, and candidate information can assist you with this. Peer-to-peer conversations, especially with people we know and trust, can be an effective tool. If they’re dismissive at first, keep trying every few weeks. Send them sample ballots and introduce them to news stories that you know will affect them. Keep up the friendly pressure.
And if you have some free time, swing by East Frank Superette in Monroe and thank them for being a shining example of what a community-involved business should be. And then try the tuna sandwich!