WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Missouri breaks

In a few weeks, my wife and I are heading back to St. Louis to see my family for the first time in a couple of years, thanks to the pandemic. My mom’s 85 and has emphysema, so I seize every opportunity I have to visit her. 

But this trip will be interesting in a different way for me because the state of my birth, the Show Me State of Missouri, is in full retrograde mode politically these last ten, fifteen years, and I find it more disconcerting every time I go back there. This time I’m all messed up over the fact that the covid vaccination rate there is only 39%, yet few people are bothering to wear masks anymore. It’s as if people believe that reopening the state means the virus has been vanquished there, yet when you look at the map of current hot spots, southwestern Missouri is lighting up like a video game. 

The simple fact is, most of the deaths from covid in mid-2021 are among unvaccinated people. 

I don’t know what kind of political bullheadedness drives Missourians to fly in the face of scientific truth, but these lemmings are jumping off the cliff in the name of QAnon and GOP tribalism, and that’s not just stupid, it’s tragic. And it puts my 85-year-old mom at risk, even though she’s vaccinated, since we know fully vaccinated people can still contract the disease. 

Luckily Mom likes to stay home a lot, though we do plan to take her to the zoo and the new downtown aquarium. We’ll all be masked up and staying six feet away from everyone, and the natives will think we’re crazy—or liberals. In some of their minds that’s probably redundant. 

When I last lived in Missouri, in the late ‘80s, things didn’t seem so rigidly reactionary. Maybe I had blinders on. St. Louis always had Democrats as mayors, and many of its neighborhoods were as hip and progressive as Greenwich Village, the Haight, Portland, Austin, and Seattle. I’m assuming there are still pockets of sanity there. 

What I can’t stand now is that most of the country must view my old state as of the same ilk as Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma—but you can’t pick the place from which you spring, and you can’t impose your political will where you no longer live. C’est la vie

For the record, I now live in one of the reddest counties in California and am represented in Congress by a MAGA-mad fascist named Tom McClintock. Maybe that’s why I feel so at home here. 

[Photo by Brittney Butler on Unsplash.]

4 comments on “Missouri breaks

  1. Pamela Beckford
    July 6, 2021

    My county here in Indiana (also one of the lowest vaccination rate states) is less than 40%. I continually shake my head in disbelief. It is hard for me not to wish the unvaccinated to get sick. (I don’t – not really – well, maybe a little). The mask usage was low in the height of everything and non-existent now. But Indiana is a bright red state – wondering where we should move when I retire that is bluer.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 6, 2021

      Interesting that you’re thinking about moving, because it’s a bona fide phenomenon that we’re sorting ourselves into communities where we feel like we’re among “our own.” We kind of did the opposite, but I’ve learned that one thing we don’t talk about up here with neighbors is politics!

  2. Gary Trujillo
    July 6, 2021

    I’ve never been, but I heard/read that it was highly segregated and crime-ridden. Those little facts and the Red State aspect make it a no-go for me. It’s a shame because I’d love to visit Busch Stadium.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 6, 2021

      It’s true: St. Louis is one of the most segregated cities in the country. It had one of the most egregious urban renewal plans in the ’50s and ’60s, which displaced thousands of Black families in favor of empty lots. That said, Busch Stadium is pretty nice … ⚾️⚾️⚾️

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2021 by in Et alia and tagged , , , , .
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