O Carroll County ...
There is so much that I love about my home county. It's beautiful, for one, and driving around Carroll County is often like driving through a postcard with the red barns and patchwork fields and big sky over blue mountains. Having learned from other rural counties in central Maryland, Carroll is sensitive to preserving that, and while we have our share of housing developments--like the one right down the hill from where we live--there is a deliberate effort to keep Carroll rural. Of course, that's part of the appeal for Bobby and me, who try to source as much of our food locally as possible, because we can do that here and maybe even think about leasing our own little patch of land to raise herbs and honey. And people are friendly here. After moving from Ellicott City, I was surprised that people will strike up conversation with you at the gas station, and neighbors expect to know your name, and business owners and servers at restaurants remember you and seem to actually give a damn when you darken their doors. (Part of that, too, is that Bobby and I, being former restaurant workers ourselves, are good tippers.)
But then there's the politics. We are the most conservative county in central Maryland, which unfortunately translates to (as it so often does) the most ignorant and bigoted county in central Maryland. The misspelled graffiti above was sprayed in Westminster, our county seat and "bustling metropolis" (population 19,000), about 10 minutes from where we live, on a defunct National Guard building that had been proposed as a possible place to accommodate some of the unaccompanied minors who had crossed into the U.S. We drive past that building several times a week. O Carroll, we should be so proud. We have finally commanded our share of the spotlight on the world stage, only to flaunt our ignorance and bigotry for all to see.
Just to see what would happen, I commented on a Carroll County Times article about the "illeagles" incident, knowing full well that it was wading into the snakepit. My comment suggested--to these "good Christians" who self-identify as "pro-life" and "pro-family"--that we might extend enough empathy and basic human dignity to these children to not round them up and send them home to be massacred. The comments I received in reply were nothing short of vitriolic. I was told to "STFU" and instructed that, if I cared so much, I might adopt a few of the children for myself. Someone remarked that he didn't mind what I did with my resources, but he didn't want his tax dollars going toward something like this. (Immigrants. Ew.) Because, apparently, conservatives get the privilege of selecting what their taxes will pay for like checking off the toppings you want to add to your cheeseburger at a burger bistro. (I wish I qualified for that privilege because I'd immediately strike off my list corporate welfare, most everything to do with the military except for active-duty servicepeople and veterans [they'd both get raises], and subsidies for Big Ag. But alas, I am a progressive.) I got called a bleeding-heart liberal, which has honestly never happened before! I thought that was long-relegated to exist as a cliché that people only used when joking around. Then there were the phony talking points about how this was all a scheme cooked up by the Obama administration to get more Democratic voters and how these "children" were really adults and how they're actually all MS-13 gang members because, again, immigrants EWW.
The idea that a kid unfortunate to be born in a bad place at a bad time should die to save some guy in Carroll County some hypothetical pennies on his taxes--because, in all likelihood, he doesn't even pay federal income tax--honestly sickens me. The comments I received only further demonstrated the ugly attitudes lurking in our otherwise beautiful and friendly county. I wonder what decency we have left as humans if we look at children fleeing in fear of their lives and asking for our help and suggest with a straight face that they be sent back home to be massacred because we can't be bothered with them. Or when we can't tolerate the federal government using a vacant federal building that happens to be located in our county to house these children, because then they might be close to our children, and it might be catching: the nonwhiteness, the immigrantness, the Spanish-speakingness ("because why should I have to press 1 for English?"), or maybe tolerance or empathy or humanity. Or something.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!