God, Guns, Country

The sign appeared one day on the normal route. That’s what Susan and I call the loop around our neighborhood, the normal route. It’s neat how names develop. “Which way do you want to go?”

“Let’s take the normal route.” Eventually it sticks. Sometimes we walk it, sometimes we run it. We’re not the only ones. Seniors actually drive to our neighborhood to walk the loop. People from the Y, located a half mile away, come here to run. It’s a good place to put up a yard sign. People see it.

I live in Trump-country. In 2016, two-thirds of my county voted for Trump. But because I live close to town, things skew a little left. Judging by the yard signs I see this year, I’d say allegiances approach fifty-fifty. We don’t have a Biden sign. In fact, I’ve never had a political sign in my yard with the exception of when a family friend ran for county commissioner.

In 1992, I put a Clinton bumper sticker on my car. A friend asked me to create a spreadsheet to help track the effectiveness of Clinton’s political advertising. In exchange, I received a sticker. A couple of nights after the election, my girlfriend, appalled by my support of such a conservative candidate, grabbed the edge of the sticker and shouted through gritted teeth “Can. we. take. this. off. now?” as she struggled to rip the sticker from the bumper.

Instead of a political sign, we have a Black Lives Matter flag. It’s a modest thing, twelve by eighteen inches, black with white lettering, and a fist. I nailed it to a pillar on our front porch. It really pops. I feel it says the same thing as a Biden sign, and so much more. Unlike my boss who routinely has her Biden sign vandalized, no one has touched our BLM flag.

The sign I saw on the normal route is a Trump sign. The top border reads “GOD, GUNS, COUNTRY.” Susan and I don’t talk much as we run or walk. We use it as meditative time to veg-out or troubleshoot or problem solve. Every now and then, one of us will bring up what’s on our mind, but usually, we just keep our mouths shut and contemplate. I didn’t mention the sign when I saw it, but I sank deep into thought.

When I see Trump signs, especially over-large Trump signs, or yards with multiple signs, I realize how proud these people are to support Trump. And then I wonder what makes them proud. I abhor Trump’s policies, especially his stance on immigration, his denial of climate change, and his desire to lower taxes on the rich while cutting services to the poor. But I understand that an open society must include room for people with differing views. What I can’t get past is mocking and mimicking a disabled reporter, bragging about sexual assault, caging kids like stray dogs, and the on-going middle-school name calling that fills his Twitter feed.

The family with the God, Guns, Country sign have three Trump signs in their yard. Clearly, they’re proud of their affiliation with Trump. But here’s an interesting thing. They are people of color. I’ve never stopped running to talk with them, so I know nothing about their background, but visually, their lineage appears to stem from Northern Africa.

Is it racist to assume that a non-white person would hate Trump? When I stop and think about it, it seems a little racist to me. But still, these people hail, in some recent generation, from what Trump refers to as a shithole country. Maybe this family likes Trump, but I can’t believe Trump likes them.

When I saw the sign, I thought: Yes, if God, Guns and Country are your chief concerns, you certainly should vote for Trump, but then I thought again. I’m sick of racist, right-wingers like Trump claiming patriotism. At a recent Black Lives Matter rally, Susan held a sign proclaiming that Confederate flags are racist. A woman and her shirtless husband (carrying an assault rifle slung over his shoulder) called Susan un-American. I’m sorry, I suck at quick comebacks. A few minutes later I realized that the Confederate Army was actually at war with America. The Confederate flag is, by its very nature, un-American. It would have felt great to zing that back at them.

When I think about our Country, I think of the cities, the mountains, the deserts, the lakes and streams. I think about the environment, the people, democracy, civic engagement and social justice. These are things I love about America. Things I’ll fight to defend. I never think about the flag. I could care less about the flag. I know it’s popular for people to wrap themselves in the flag and give the finger to everyone who isn’t white and Christian. To call themselves ‘Americans’ because they revere the patriarchal society that existed at the founding of our country.

As an agnostic, I don’t have much right to claim God as my own. And Guns? You can keep them as long as you keep them locked up in your home. But Country? That one belongs to me.

20 thoughts on “God, Guns, Country

  1. When I think about America, i think about the Statue of Liberty and the poem. I think about all the things that “proud Americans” say and do that run counter to that ideal.

    My first thought when you said they appeared to be North African was maybe it’s to keep the drooling rednecks from harrassing them?🤷🏼‍♀️ I can’t wrap my mind around how ANYONE could support him. And I’m thankful that I can’t.

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  2. I agree with you about the Trump signs. They are BIG. People that support Trump, for some reason, feel the need to advertise their feelings in such a big way. We have actually had two people come door to door to hand out “support Trump” cards. I never answered the door (they were coming during zoom) but I did tell them “No thank you” from the window. They STILL left their sh** hanging on my door. We are counting how many times a big Trump sign gets vandalized and then repaired on our “normal” route. Instead of God, Guns, Country this Trump signs touts “Fire the liberals that keep our state shut down.” I would imagine they would like to add “effing” before liberals, but that could just be me, stereotyping the hate behavior I associate with Trump and his supporters.

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    • I don’t think anyone here would vandalize a trump sign. The chances of getting shot are too high. It’s one of the things that ticks me off most about the trumpers: there’s always the tacit threat of gun violence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • We don’t have very many guns in our area, which is nice. I think I have told you that “Do you have any guns in your house?” was a common question when kids were being dropped off for playdates when mine were younger. The sign was torn again for the past two days and then repaired again today. It could be weather – it is the only Trump sign I have seen destroyed. But if I were the owner of the sign or a bypasser like myself, I would think it was vandalized. I have never felt our nation so divided or pitted against each other before then I have these past four years. There are a lot more Biden signs in my area, which makes me feel better. The more you head west towards Lancaster, the more Trump it gets. I think it goes with the guns.

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    • I am extremely proud of our President and I am a huge supporter.
      I can say that without using any foul language sir because I am a lady. We do still exist, and Thank Goodness we still have the right to choose in this Great Country!

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  3. The conflation of God and guns has always puzzled me. I think what has happened in this country is that we have stopped seeing our political parties as people with similar philosophies about taxes, defense, immigratin policy, etc. and started thinking about them like sports teams. We identify with them. They define our identity. The reason we identify with our party doesn’t have to be rational, as long as we are part of the group, that’s all that maatters.

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