Republicans are being oppressed!
They tell us that atheists are taking away their ability to say “Merry Christmas.” Transgender activists are invading their bathrooms. Black people are tearing down all their beloved civil war monuments and gay couples everywhere are forcing God-fearing Christian bakers to create an endless spectrum of rainbow-themed wedding cakes.
The “real” Americans, the ones who built this country, claim they have become second-class citizens, with fewer rights than illegal immigrants, who are given free housing, healthcare and brand new iPhones. And if a conservative patriot dares to speak out against any of this unfairness, they are labeled a Nazi or a neanderthal. Even the President, a man who should have more power at his disposal than any other human on the planet, is, in reality, a helpless victim of the liberal Gestapo – hounded and victimized by a deep state cabal of left-wing collaborators looking to stymie and demonize him.
But are straight Christian Republican white men (SCRWMs – pronounced “screw-ems”) really America’s most down-trodden demographic? Really?
I happen to be a straight Christian white man, and I certainly don’t feel any oppression. But I’m not a Republican middle-aged straight white Christian man- and maybe that “R” is the missing ingredient. How could I understand whether this alleged victimization was real from the outside looking in?
There was only one way I could really be sure:
In order to relate to Republicans, I was going to have to become one.
Sixty years ago, a chap named John Howard Griffin blazed the way for this sort of thing. Griffin was a white journalist from Texas who, with the help of a dermatologist, darkened his skin and spent several weeks traveling around the American south presenting himself as a black man.
In his new guise, Griffin experienced a complete transformation in how he was treated. In most of his interactions with white people, he found himself – at best- patronized or ignored. At worst, he faced casually racist slurs and explicit threats to his life. He chronicled these experiences in his 1961 best-seller, Black Like Me, which put an uncomfortable spotlight on the racism and aggression faced by black Americans in the pre-civil rights era.
That was the level of commitment I had in mind as I began my transformation.
One trip to the outlet mall later and I had myself a completely new look: Khaki trousers, a reversible black/brown belt, a pair of chunky white New Balance sneakers, ankle-high white socks, a polo shirt, a belt clip for my cell phone, a Salt Life printed tee, and a pair of those wraparound sunglasses worn by people who drive SUVs. A few extra touches I had to buy online: a selection of flag pins and a red baseball cap.
Checking myself out in the mirror, I resembled the “he was always so quiet” picture from a newspaper story about a workplace mass shooting, so I knew I had nailed the look.
But now it was time to go out there and be a Republican. I didn’t want to just look like one, I wanted to live like one and see if I was treated any differently.
It didn’t take long for me to get my answer.
Subjugation at the store
I decide to launch my experiment by going to a place I know Republicans are usually welcome: Walmart. But before I even walk through the door, I am confronted with my first obstacle: a greeter who blocks my entrance and demands I put on a mask.
I inform him this is America and that wearing a mask is a personal choice. I tell him it is illegal for him to deny me service and that masks don’t work, and even if they did work, Coronavirus isn’t any worse than the flu. No mask. No way. It’s tyranny.
“Sir, it’s store policy to wear a mask and this is private property. I can’t let you in without one,” he says. And then he has the nerve to add: “and I think you might be confusing inconvenience with oppression.”
I haven’t even been a Republican more than a few hours and already I’m feeling persecuted! How dare anyone diminish my suffering by calling it an “inconvenience?!” Doesn’t this liberal know-it-all know that millions of Americans died fighting Stalin so I could shop wherever I wanted to shop?
I curse him out and pick up a box of ‘Nilla Wafers from a display case, intending to throw it at his head, but just before I let fly, I notice some kid has his phone out filming me, so I decide to cut my losses and leave. I’m not afraid of the phony virus, but I am afraid of going viral and losing my job due to cancel culture. Apparently, this is how the left tries to keep you in line – by filming you and showing everyone what you’ve done wrong, so you don’t have any freedom left.
Right after this incident, after driving around for nearly an hour, I finally find a shop that will let me buy beer without a mask; a small community grocery store. Normally I only drink small-batch IPAs, but I’m a Republican now, so I bring some Bud and a six-pack of something called “Keystone Light” up to the counter. The guy working there seems kind of ethnic, which is fine (Republicanism is a big tent), so I ask him where he’s from and if he’s grateful to America for the opportunity this country has given him to come here and start his own business.
“Hey asshole, I was born here,” he says. “Take your beer and get out of my store, you ignorant redneck.”
Typical. This country hands everything to immigrants and they shit all over it. I tell him “Love it or leave it,” as I walk out. These people should learn to assimilate.
Back home, I read on Parler about a counter-protest at a Black Lives Matter rally downtown. I decide to go and show support for all those police officers being threatened with defunding, just for doing their jobs trying to stop black on black crime in places like Chicago.
I show up with an “All lives matter” sign. As we are the pro-life party, I think this is an appropriate and reasonable statement, but as soon as I arrive, I am verbally assaulted by some blacks, probably members of Antifa, who call me a racist and shout in my face. I try to constructively engage with them, telling them that I don’t see color and all they see is color, and how that makes them the real racists. But this only riles them and I’m starting to feel threatened as they get more and more worked up.
Thank God there are a few friendly faces around to offer support, like the guy next to me wearing a confederate flag draped around his neck like a cape. We talk for a while about how the Civil War was really all about freedom and states rights and had nothing to do with slavery. We both feel that blacks should just get over it. Some friendly cops overhear our conversation and offer to give us a ride home just as they are about to charge the crowd with tear gas and rubber bullets. As these hero officers drive us away from the melee, the wind changes direction and my eyes wind up stinging a little from the gas. I guess I should have rolled up the window.
I’m left shaken by the whole experience. It’s really upsetting to be targeted because of nothing but the white color of my skin.
Medical miscarriage of justice
The next day, I have a sore throat. I’m not sure if it’s from all the yelling I did at the protest, from the tear gas, or if maybe I’m coming down with something. I figure it’s best to go to the health clinic and get checked out. They tell me I’m probably fine, but then they give me a test for Coronavirus and tell me to self-isolate until I get the results.
I inform them that I know they get paid more if they report me as having Coronavirus and that I don’t want any part of their number-inflating scam. Besides, if it really is Coronavirus, Donald Trump has proven that Hydroxychloroquine plus a couple of steroid shots can cure it.
When I tell them that I refuse to live my life in fear and that I won’t be going into quarantine, no matter what their phony test says, they throw me out and ban me from the clinic, for “endangering the safety of other patients.”
I can hear other patients laughing at me from behind the closed doors. Glad they think patriotism is funny.
Oppression at the office
I don’t feel well the day after my run-in at the clinic, but I go to work anyway. Only selfish people who are too lazy to contribute to the economy stay home when they’re sick. Republicans go to work! I’m sitting at my desk making America great again by hitting my sales quota, when I get called in to see my boss. It seems someone has forwarded him some screenshots of some Facebook posts I wrote about how there’s nothing wrong with Aunt Jemima brand syrup or Uncle Ben’s Rice and how it’s ridiculous that blacks are getting offended over some harmless caricatures. But apparently, a colleague saw the post and has filed a complaint.
I try to talk my way out of it, telling my boss that all this political correctness means everyone now has something to complain about. “Look at me,” I say. “I’m an Italian American and you don’t see me moaning about Mario and Luigi videogames. And that’s the exact same thing!”
Anyway, my boss doesn’t see things that way, so he sends me in for “mandatory sensitivity training.” It doesn’t go well, after I accuse the lady who runs the session of being a shill for George Soros.
Long story short, I am now seeking new opportunities.
In just three days, I have been banned from my favorite store, insulted, racially abused, denied healthcare, and fired from my job.
And for what? Solely because I was a Republican; an identity shared by nearly 39% of all Americans, and 51% of electoral college voters. A minority that is suffering under our very noses.
I discovered the hard way that everything you’ve heard conservatives say about their oppression is true. Trust me, they haven’t been exaggerating or playing the victim card in the slightest. It is a tough road they are on and you would do well to pity them.
Despite all the hardship and conflict that has come with it, I’ve actually enjoyed my time as a Republican. As a Democrat, I was always thinking about other people, worrying about their feelings, worrying about the environment, racial injustice, poverty, world peace. Being a Republican meant being liberated of all those concerns.
If I found wearing a life-saving mask in the middle of a global pandemic mildly uncomfortable, then I just didn’t do it. As a Democrat, I had been teaching myself Spanish, thinking it was a worthy effort that would help me better relate to the Latinos in my community. As a Republican, I just shouted at people to speak English. I ignored speed limits, open-carried a gun wherever I wanted and didn’t tip in restaurants. It was great.
But there’s a big downside to embracing all this freedom. People will use your political beliefs to judge you. They will take that one little aspect of your character as a fellow human being and use it against you. It’s not fair and it’s not right and I hope that by telling my story, like John Howard Griffin before me, I can shine a spotlight on this historic injustice.
Call me naive if you will, but I believe we can change, that we can do better.
I have a dream, that one day, we can all just get along. That we can all live together in a nation where Republicans like me will no longer be judged by the content of their character. That we won’t be judged at all – we’ll just be left alone to be in charge of running the country, the police departments, the banks and the judiciary in peace.
That someday, a Republican like me can be free, free at last.
I have a dream.