You know those stories you hear, about tribal communities in countries of the Global South refusing immunizations, attacking health care workers, rejecting science, and behaving in opposition to recommended guidelines when contagious diseases break out? Have you ever thought, what the hell is wrong with those people? Have you ever felt a little bit of superiority, about Western medicine, about rational thought, about so-called objectivity. I’ll admit it. I have. Well, there goes another house of cards.
Remember, this is White people. People who have not been historically victimized by the health care system. People who did not have the field of gynecology built on their bodies without anesthetic. People who were not lied to and forced to suffer from syphilis for decades. People who did not see their community decimated by the deliberate transmission of smallpox. I’m sure they have their troubles. Don’t we all? The aggression is heartbreaking and embarrassing; the ignorance is stunning. What the hell is wrong with those people?
Allow me to do a little editing of a Time Magazine article on community response to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year:
I also think Minnesota has to stop assuming “we’re better than this,” a phrase you hear a lot here when confronted with an important decision. Or at least put it in hiatus until after this nightmare of an election. If we manage to vote Democratic for President, maybe we can dust it off and cautiously test it out in it conversations thereafter. Why, you non-Minnesotans may ask, are Minnesotans so damn proud of their decency? I’m no expert, but here are a few examples.
- We are the only state that never voted for the man who I believe played the leading role in the slow decline of this country (which had only been on the way up for a few years at that point). That’s right. No fuckin’ Reaganomics for us. Even if it was because Mondale’s a beloved native son, it still counts.
- While not yet written into state law (Republican Senate), we were one of the first states to recognize Indigenous People’s Day over Genocide Pioneer day.
- We were the first state to outlaw both sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity based discrimination, almost two decades ago.
- Our voters rejected pissing Voter ID and anti-gay marriage laws all over our Constitution
- and then there’s the Minnesota nice thing, which is mostly bullshit in my opinion but does reveal itself when your car’s buried under 3 feet of snow
But now we are supposedly “in play” in this election (is there any word less appropriate than play when it comes to the future of our democracy?) Maybe that’s a Republican fantasy, but the fucking story about Minnesotans greeting healthcare workers by calling the cops, yelling at them, calling them racial slurs, blocking their cars and approaching them with a visible firearms – I know that lots of rural Minnesotans are Trump voters, and given the behavior of visible, vocal Trump voters, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am horrified. And I am worried.