We all know it isn’t easy being a leftist in a red state like Nebraska. Even the relatively diverse cities of Omaha and Lincoln offer no cosmopolitan oasis in the Great Plains. Nebraska Leftist Coalition wants to hear short stories about your experiences being a leftist here, and to share some of ours. Here are a few examples:

– In the teacher certification program at a local university, I questioned why someone would claim Vikings discovered America before Columbus when there were Indigenous people who had been living here for thousands of years before either European group had arrived. The professor said, “oh, looks like we have a smarty-pants in the room.” The rest of the class laughed at me. She did not grade me kindly afterwards. She also became the Dean of Education at that university, a post she continues to hold to this day. It was clear she is a staunch Republican.

– When it was announced that Harriet Tubman would be appearing on the back of the $20 bill, a teacher colleague told me he thinks it’s a bad idea because, technically, “she broke the law.” I refuted that Andrew Jackson had forced the genocidal Trail of Tears and that technically, each one of the ‘founding fathers’ had broken British law and committed acts of terror against the British state. Upset, he went and told a bunch of students, about half of which were impressionable Black kids, his opinion of why Tubman was a criminal who shouldn’t be honored on American currency. When they told me what he had said, I spent the next 20 minutes eviscerating his arguments, but I could tell the damage was already done. They now viewed it as just another matter of debate. My colleague’s ignorance and hatred had been normalized and internalized by the kids, and it was too late for me to completely remedy the situation.

– Debating a slew of old friends I had grown up with online about racism, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, white privilege, and the basic history/sociology of these topics, I ran into a lot of backlash from people who were hurt by the feeling that they were ‘losing’ a friend in me. While I had always been somewhat left, we were now faced with the prospect of hashing our differences out in real time and in public. Patiently using reasoned arguments backed by evidence against an avalanche of straw man and ad hominem attacks, I eventually started deleting people after realizing they either had no capacity or no interest in trying to understand reality through anything resembling logic or scientific methodology. As they dropped like flies, one of them informed me that they had formed a private Facebook group devoted to their hatred of my wife and me. In other words, they formed a hate group. While I was scared at first, I had a friend infiltrate this group and he found that they mostly just posted screenshots of things I had posted and blue lives matter memes – they did not talk about harming my family or me. They had formed a cave to huddle together and feel close to one another, united against a common enemy. United in ignorance, patting each other on the back, assuring themselves that the lefty friend they all once loved had suddenly turned into a depraved lunatic. My circle of friends became lower in quantity and higher in quality so it’s their loss. I had been willing to teach them for free, after all.

These are just a few of many stories I could share, but I am curious to hear your stories. What experiences have you had being a leftist in Nebraska?

– Krystal Karrington