I was talking to a woman the other day—a woman in her late 60s. She asked me where I was from.
“Tennessee,” I answered.
“A small town north of Memphis. What about you?”
“Ohio,” she said. “A small town, just like you.”
“Do you go back to visit much?”
“I went back last year. It was the first time in twenty years. It’s a red state, you know. I can’t spend time there. When I was there, I walked into this little shop. The owner, I could tell, wasn’t a Republican. At least, he didn’t look like one. I asked him, “You’re not a Republican, are you?” He said, “Noooo way.”
Funny how we put ourselves—and others—into categories. Liberals or conservatives. Whites or Black or Asians. Baptists or Presbyterians. These form out identities, and we rarely step outside of them. We think things like, “I can’t befriend that person…he’s a Democrat (or fill in another political, ethnic or religious group here).” Before long, we’re only hanging out with people that look, dress and talk exactly the same as we do.
We are strange creatures, us humans. So many distinctions, when there’s really only I can think of that means a damn.