In a couple of weeks I’ll be going back to the States for a visit, for my daughter’s wedding. It’s been several years since I went back (just before my father died) and has been fourteen years since I moved to the UK. I’m nervous about going back.
I miss everyone, of course. I miss my daughter every single day, I miss the rest of my family, and I even miss the country that I grew up in.
That country, of course, isn’t the same one that I’ll be going back to…and that scares me.
Everyone seems so very…strident, to say the least. I’m sure there were almost as many misogynists and racists when I lived there, but most people knew enough to keep the worst opinions to themselves. Not now, though. Everyone is flying their freak flag, bolstered by the approval of other neanderthals on their social media home of choice. It’s bad enough that presidential candidates are running quite successful campaigns based on hatred, and their supporters hail them as “straight-talkers” who aren’t afraid to speak their minds. In other words, this guy is saying what we think. Yee fucking hah.
I’ve lost most of my family over recent years. The intelligent, intrinsically good people that I loved have turned into raging God-n-Guns “make America great again” conservatives and gradually I’ve muted them, slowly shutting them out of my life. I love them, I would give a kidney or my life for them…but listen to a constant stream of nastiness via social media? Ugh. Life is too short to wallow in that kind of cesspool, so I let them slowly slip away.
And guns, lord the guns. Astronomically more massacres by gun in the US than anywhere else in the world, classrooms of kids being slaughtered, people at church, you name it. Just this week, black men shot dead by the police in two separate murders, and last night five cops were killed (presumably in retaliation). Guys in beards, beer guts and Dixie flag tshirts walk around carrying assault rifles openly. It all scares me. This is my home, the country I grew up in…and I’m terrified to go back.
Right now I’m thinking weddings, and love, and hugging my daughter again. Everything else can slip away.