Love Not Hate, a Short Story

in hive-114105 •  3 months ago  (edited)

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Elsie started off that day as she had for decades on end: she fed the cats, made herself a cup of coffee, ate a bowl of yogurt with honey and bananas, completed her morning "constitutional elimination", then set out on her daily activity of protesting on the steps of the courthouse with one of her spiffy signs, her weapons.

The protesting started off as a bit of a joke, a way to get out of the house that she had shared for fifty years with her now deceased husband Edgar. Elsie painted her first sign in response to the Me Too movement:

If You Think It's Hard To Be A Woman, Just Wait Until You're A Little Old Lady.

She'd gotten herself into the national news that very first day of her protesting career. Memes of her standing on the courthouse steps in her beige coat and handmade persimmon colored hat went viral. Everyone thought she was cute and harmless, proving what she'd set out to say, but she suspected only she could see the irony.

So, she stepped it all up a bit. The signs got a bit more political, a tad more controversial. Elsie hoped to inspire some conversation among folks, who were increasingly sorting themselves into two opposing camps, which she found alarming.

Most people were friendly to her on the courthouse steps, but she started noticing that certain factions were eyeing her with disfavor, even disgust. Two signs ago she carried a sign that said

Love Thy Neighbor Even If They Voted For Trump.

That sign inexplicably got her a great many dirty looks. Her last sign

Science Makes Mistakes

set a few of them off actually yelling at her. Sam Security had to come shoo them off.

That last day was a beautiful day for a protest, clear blue skies and a warm spring breeze, so off she went as usual. Shopkeepers she'd known since they were students of hers greeted her warmly as she passed them while they were opening up their shops.

Her sign for the day was one she'd been working on for a week. She wanted to make a statement that was sure to rankle no one and maybe get a few chuckles out of some.

When she got there, Carol the meter reader greeted her with a now customary "How did the constitutional elimination go today Elsie?" to which Elsie responded "Still no need for a colonoscopy, Carol!" Elsie settled herself at her usual spot on the lowest step, and hoisted her latest weapon.

Title 28 Unfair To Little Old Ladies

She also had a bundle of plastic shopping bags, which were now illegal for stores to provide. She expected to hand them out to anyone who might ask for some. She herself had been stocking up on them for a year now, when the law was first passed. It was either that or buy garbage bags to put her tiny amounts of household garbage in.

A group of people at the top of the steps, who seemed to have been waiting there for her arrival, began walking down the steps toward her. Two of them had professional looking video recording gear. A microphone was shoved into Elsie's face, disorienting her and knocking her down. The crowd grew, but Elsie could no longer be seen and the only sound was a chant

Racist, Sexist, Anti-Gay, Elsie Viscardo Go Away

At the end of the day, when all the crowds and the police and the media were gone, Carol picked up a persimmon colored hat from the pool of Elsie's blood on the sidewalk.

"She'll never need that colonoscopy now" Carol thought, then headed over to Elsie's house to feed the cats.
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I, like my character Elsie, am becoming alarmed by the inability of those of supposedly liberal bents to respect viewpoints other than those within their very narrow range of allowable thought. You can not fight hate with hate, and your neighbor is not your enemy, no matter who they vote for.

image, which I cropped

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Oh I love her signs! I'd picket with her!

  • If You Think It's Hard To Be A Woman, Just Wait Until You're A Little Old Lady
  • Science makes mistakes
  • Love Thy Neighbor Even If They Voted For Trump
    #GottaLoveElsie!
    And I hope that pool of blood at the end wasn't a mortal injury.

Yes!

  • You can not fight hate with hate, and your neighbor is not your enemy, no matter who they vote for.

Elsie is interesting and the signs are a clever device both to develop her character and to raise some topical issues.
There was a time, at least I think there was, when a respectful discussion was possible between people of opposing viewpoints. We seem to have lost all common ground with both extremes demanding the other conform to their ideas and each seeking to subjugate their opponent.

This was inspired by a recent verbal brawl I had with a fellow liberal in a bar. She called me ignorant, racist and asshole, simply because I think "vote blue no matter who" is a dangerous policy. Perhaps that means nothing to you so let me explain: Democrats have convinced most of their members that every Democrat is better than any Republican. So we have a couple of bad actors running for the Dem nomination and likely to be the candidate, neither of whom I will stoop to vote for like I stooped to vote for the candidate the party shoved down our throats in 2016. Anyway, all of the people at the bar turned on me. I felt unsafe in my own neighborhood. I find conservatives MUCH more open to my liberal ideas than liberals are to my conservative ones. Liberals have become anything but. Thanks for your comment!

Institutional intolerance, intended to censor those you can't sucessfully debate!

They attack using these words like a light sabre, to destroy the enemy; to avoid thinking!

>:(

They will get real far armed only with their signs. Thanks for coming by!

Theey have never thought about being armed, they plan to use the military to control us, ROFLOL!

No understanding of:
Against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC!

:)>

The problem is, the Democratic party's foot soldiers, the ones who will march when told to armed only with their signs, do not know that. They 100% think Trump and Republicans are the ones that they should fear. They can not see it. It's bizarre. So I can't blame most people who would vote for a Biden/Buttegieg ticket - they are unaware of the danger. They sure get pissed at me when I say I won't though. It's not cool to come right out and say "Trump is better than Biden" if you travel in my circles.

I totally understand, the sheeple are NOT allowed to Think, only to Vote...as they are told to! I understand the 'circles' and they can be a problem here too, even in a Red state.

I run security at Church, and we have enough sheeple there that I have to carry concealed, even though the larger stufff is smarter; because they are brainwashed to think that guns are bad! So, GOD Forbid that I should need to; but if so I will be forced to face their long gun with my mouseguns...because THEY are stupid!

My Dachshunds are better than Biden....

>:(

I really like Elsie and how you developed her character. Your wonderful story rings true of today’s society. I experienced something similiar after saying I liked a certain politician and was told I didn’t know anything by an acquaintance. I was a bit taken back when there was no discussion only a personal attack.

It's quite shocking. I've been registered Democrat for 47 years now, but still if I have a thought that differs from what has been handed down from on high (DNC), or even worse support conservative thought in any way, I am called horrible names. I hope more of us see this before it's too late. Thanks for stopping in!

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This is just too real! I spend a lot of time on Twitter, as you know and am astonished by the amount of intolerance there. It's either yes or no, good or bad. And opinions expressed with such vitriol. Thank heavens for the block button, although I've only had to use that a couple of times.
I love the way you pick one personal detail, constitutional elimination, as a thread to tie the piece together and also to make the character real.
Extremely well written, although I would have preferred that she just get a bit mauled and not end up in a puddle of blood. I'm assuming she is no more, because "She'll never need that colonoscopy now". It's kind of funny, but also a bit dark :))

BTW: I see you cross-posted my Larry story. Thank you!! I'm so impressed that you know what you are doing. I'm not that clever. I even get lost in the comment section sometimes.

With admiration for your skill (both technical and literary)
AG

hahahahaha! I have NEVER been admired for my technical skill before! lol You just made my day.

Maybe I didn't have to off Elsie, but writing that story took me many hours and writing a mere mauling scene would have taken even more time, so I opted for offing her. I actually also did quite a bit of research looking into campus harassment of conservative students, which I probably should have put links to (you are so good at that), but again, MORE TIME.

It's ridiculously easy to crosspost, but it's weird. All that red is pretty ugly, and some of the communities don't like it, so I only did it that once. I was just trying it out.

Thanks for your support!!!

  ·  3 months ago Reveal Comment