Jeff Martin 2022

Times have changed. I remember getting a bar of soap in my mouth once for swearing as a kid. Even words like “gosh” and “darn” were pushing the limits. Nowadays parents are plastering disrespectful bumper stickers on their SUVs and sharing hateful memes to their social media pages. Recently my teenage daughter asked the meaning of “Let’s Go Brandon” after a classmate’s parent wore a t-shirt with the vulgar quote. By all means, wear your Trump hat to prove your loyalty, but leave the implied obscenities and hate at home.

For those of you not aware of the phrase, it became popular last year after a crowd behind Talladega winner Brandon Brown began chanting “F*** Joe Biden.” However, the reporter interviewing Brown misheard the crowd of NASCAR fans and reported they were shouting, “Let's go, Brandon.”

It’s not just school carpool lanes; walk through some church parking lots on Sunday and you’ll spot the hateful bumper sticker on a vehicle or two. Driving down Highway 59 heading to the beach last week I saw a flag flying with the same quote along with several confederate flags. Sweet home Alabama.

What ever happened to wanting our president to succeed? Current politics have become so divisive that we have forgotten who our real enemies are. Today we live in a country where even a few of our own elected leaders openly cheer Putin and slam the President of the United States. I wish for every leader of our country to succeed, whether I voted for them or not.

Admittedly, many Republican politicians have found themselves in a catch-22. While Trump’s popularity has faded somewhat, he still has a stranglehold on the Republican Party and its candidates.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who likely will run for governor in four years and whose current job is to represent the public’s interest and enforce laws, couldn’t even bring himself to say President Biden is the duly elected and lawfully serving president of the United States when testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Current GOP candidates for U.S. Senate and governor are all puppets, with Trump controlling the strings.

Alabama prohibits specialized license plates with profane, vulgar, or offensive messages, including acronyms. But there’s a governor’s race this year, so instead of revoking a personalized plate that read “LGBFJB,” shorthand for “Let’s Go Brandon F*** Joe Biden,” the proud owner got a reprieve and apology from the Revenue Department for initially revoking his plate.

We can be better, and we do have a say in who represents us. We have become inundated with hate from politicians and elected officials. One only has to turn on the TV during campaign season and you would think Biden was running for statewide office.

We need more meaningful conversation amongst ourselves. I just want people elected who will take all sides in consideration and who can think with an open mind. And it’s possible to support a candidate, ideology or political party without hating the opposition. Informative debate, variety of opinion and civil disagreement is a positive. Slapping a Let’s Go Brandon bumper sticker on your vehicle isn’t.

It’s okay if you aren’t happy with our current president. There have been a few times he has left me scratching my head. But let’s be real: our last president claimed windmills cause cancer, was known to autograph Bibles, said airports existed during the Revolutionary War, thought consuming bleach could cure COVID, saluted a North Korean general, loves him some Putin, demeans women and war heroes, incited the storming of our Capitol and tried to illegally overturn the election.

I’m nervous for our country and scared of this new America that my daughter will have to learn to survive in. There doesn’t appear to be a Republican Party anymore, just the party of Trump. And it’s taking us down the pathway to Hell, because there are plenty more Trumps waiting to continue his legacy of selfishness and hate.