I’m super psyched to have an essay up at Guernica: A Magazine of Global Arts and Politics, a journal I’ve admired for a long time. Back in February, I went to a town hall meeting with some friends to protest what was then a potential Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act. I found myself caught up in the energy of the moment, and also wanting to write about how a lot of the people I met that day didn’t strike me as “typical” of the types of people I’ve met at other protests. In fact, many of them didn’t even seem to identify as political.

We live in a strange time. The situation seems dire, and I believe the pundits who describe the current administration as a stress test for the Constitution. If so many people’s lives weren’t being adversely affected, the level of buffoonery would be comical, though that buffoonery also masks the agenda at which the administration is so far succeeding: slashing what remains of civil society in the United States to pieces and selling the remains to the highest bidder. (To be fair, this project has been in the works for a long time.)

Yet, I also find myself thinking about the many “red” states I’ve lived in, and how politics in those places were often more complicated than they seemed. I wanted to try to write about the ways in which my experience that day both did and didn’t conform to my expectations and to conventional wisdom about our political moment.

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