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.
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.