Letter from the Editor - GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, TRAVIS (read: America)

Bethany Roach

Hello readers,

How do you feel when you’re out in public and you see "Make America Great Again" on someone's clothes? I've been extremely fortunate to not lock eyes with anyone sporting this look until recently. Mostly I've just seen it on signs in yards and on bumper stickers. 

But a few months ago, I saw a man with a bright red MAGA hat. I was strolling around with my three government-fed (more on that another time) spawn at a local grocery store. I was bickering with my 6-year-old because I swore that she used to love bananas, and she told me she never loved bananas, and so I put the bananas back, but then my toddler screamed because he freakin' LOVES bananas. 

MAGA man looked up from his own produce hunt and we locked eyes. He smiled at me empathetically, and I smiled back politely. I have an unfortunate condition in which holding back laughter is impossible while faced with social discomfort, so I tightened my lips before I could turn down an aisle and unload a loud, "HAAAAAAAHA!" 

I've talked about how steeped in Republican culture I used to be. I had a huge crush on Ben Shapiro, I read all of Ann Coulter's books, I volunteered at the local Republican offices, and proudly wore a GOP elephant t-shirt just about everywhere, including the grocery store. I thought about that man all day, and how there was a time that America felt great to him. It used to feel great to me, too. Feeling proud of where I lived felt good. I felt safe and I felt sure. I never knew what white privilege was, and the path ahead seemed clear. I needed to graduate high school, get my criminal justice degree, become a mom, and then on to politics where I could make a difference (not as president like I really wanted to be because girls are too emotional to be president durrrr.)


The reality is: I want America to be "great again," too. But to subscribe to this rhetoric is to allow myself to pull the wool over my own eyes. I can only want America to be great again if I close my eyes, plug my ears, and believe with all of my heart that it ever was great in the first place. 

I would have to ignore racism, police brutality, sexual violence, homophobia, ethnocentrism, corruption.

The United States is a very young country with an immense amount of potential, but let's be honest with ourselves, it's made some BIG MISTAKES in some BIG WAYS. It cannot continue to ignore its problematic behavior and act like everything is fine. It's not. It's a broken mess.

I'm not telling you to burn your flags, and I'm not telling you not to shoot off those fireworks on the fourth of July. But what I am saying is that true pride comes from truly being great, and this country is like your cousin Travis who had all kinds of potential and now he has white dreads and is a total punk racist who legitimately is bringing shame to the family but somehow no one knows what to do or say so they just keep praising the "good stuff" Travis does like "oh, did you hear that Travis called his mom on her birthday?"

We all know that Travis called his mom for a ride to court-mandated community service after doing a super bad thing for which he received a much-too-lenient sentence because he’s white of course.

We've got to get Travis in SHAPE. I'm not celebrating Travis anymore and acting like it's fine that he keeps acting like this. Let's face IT- Travis has never been great because he's never lived up to his potential. Travis can only become great when he stops being racist, justifying police brutality, misogynistic, homophobic, ethnocentric, and corrupt.

It's not too late for you, Travis.

We’re just going to have to stop enabling your bad behavior by our actions and our inaction. We need to speak out, donate our time and money, stand up for what is right, and vote for Anyone But Trump 2020.

Peach and Dove,

Bethany

PS: In July, you'll see several posts about ways we can all work together on making America great for ONCE. Find more info about it across social media platforms using the hashtags #MakeTravisGreatAgain and #MAG41


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