Even in the Deep South; Divided We Fall

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My wife had some things to say about Trump and the hate he embodies. Thus I set her loose to tell her story. She opposes Trump in the Deep South, which can give someone a unique perspective.

Jason Miciak

By Cassandra Overstreet-Miciak

I grew up and spent much of my childhood and early adult life in the South-SE Mississippi, about as “deep South” as one can get.  The culture challenged me throughout and continues to this day… I have seen up close both the racial and cultural divide more than most. My experiences have made everyday life full of personal challenges to who I am and what I believe made everyday life full of personal challenges.

I worry for my country and its direction. History teaches us that great powers like Rome, Troy, the Ottoman, all the way up to 20th Century Germany and its’ Third Reich, none fall in a day, nor will the United States. We have eroded over several decades, and the rot hasn’t come from an outside power, but from the inside, over several decades.

The causes are as ancient as the examples: pride, greed, hatred, spite, the evil we see so plainly within the Trump movement, it has sent the country plummeting from the top, much of it now in ruin. American exceptionalism, the canon of the right, ignores warnings that also come from the ancients. From Proverbs, King Solomon says, “Pride cometh before the fall. and such haughty spirit leads inevitably to stumbling downward,” (Proverbs 16:18). I see the predicate examples every day.

The Far Right, currently led by the Trump administration either doesn’t care or outright invites the hatred and false pride perceived as American exceptionalism. This attitude violates the ideals upon which the Founders birthed a new nation. We ignore them at our risk; a republic is far easier to destroy than preserve.

The Right is quick to espouse their Christianity, but my personal journey leads me to also look to the scripture underlying the three Abrahamic religions- Judaism, Islam , and Christianity. When one skips over the horrid teaching found in Leviticus and a few other places, what is left are lessons ignored by the Right. The importance of humility seems ignored by Trump and his followers, despite the recurrence in Jesus’ teachings, that the meek shall inherit the new Earth. I see nothing humble or meek in modern conservatism.

Why do the ideals that created such a nation; common decency, respect for the individual, today encompassing all, regardless of culture, race, gender, sexuality, now divide us in the false pursuit of making America “great” again? Many of us know the answer, but the Far Right never seems to pause and consider such questions. I don’t know. Because the obvious answers are littered throughout ancient teachings.

In Greek mythology, my namesake Cassandra saw a future we might well face and warned that the same destructive tendencies infused her community. Like the Far Right today, no one would listen, too assured of their greatness. The assurance and arrogance led directly to the fall of Troy. It is why to this day a “Cassandra” is one who sees the future, warns people of the future, everyone knows that. But, the name also encompasses a lesson not as commonly recognized: that she will not be believed. She will be ignored or ridiculed. The Right, and especially Trump, makes enemies of anyone standing up to the inevitable, those attempting to reverse the all too probable, the “leftists” who oppose anything he decrees. Such an attitude; Ignorant, intolerant, disinterested, ridicule, sound familiar? It fuels the Right.

To Trump, any of us who oppose him are evil, less than him, made enemies for nothing more than believing in fundamental truths. But, it is when we proclaim such truths, modern or ancient, those cited at John McCain’s funeral, that Trump and his cult cowers and spew hatred. I know that speaking aloud about my political beliefs in my community results quite often in being mocked and bullied.

It is not all bad, even here. The attacks on my personal, political, and spiritual beliefs have left me with greater empathy for others marginalized in our society.  This deeper understanding is a gift, one I treasure. My work consists of assisting the disabled – in various capacities – and more than ever I understand groups fighting for equality. I recognize character attacks and internalize the resistance in me. My personal experience motivates my professional life as well as my joy felt with my own family members, including my cousin, my age, but born with multiple birth defects and disabilities, who I’ve always kept close to my heart .

Even here, I accept everyone, LGBTQ friends, minorities, immigrants, even people with political differences. I join them in my fight against Trump and all he stands for. It is easy to reject Trump’s hatred because it leads to nothing but fear and self-loathing, feeding the same in others.

It is the opposite of “greatness,” the opposite of love, and the acceptance.

LOVE always trumps hate in any time and any place!

 


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