Full Disclosure: I Grew Up Here
The central Washington town of Wenatchee is an interesting place. It is a largely agricultural area, formerly known as the “Apple Capital of the World.” Along with agriculture comes immigration, and while the Columbia River Valley that splits Wenatchee and East Wenatchee was populated in the 1940’s by whites from the Ozarks who picked the fruit, at this point the population of the greater Wenatchee area is about 20% Hispanic, rising to 30% in the city itself.
You’d think that a town so rich in diversity would celebrate it, but that couldn’t be more hilariously wrong. It’s maybe not even completely a racial thing. The migrants from Arkansas were once called “dirty Arkies,” much as the Mexicans are now called, well, pick your slur. In fact, it’s pretty hard to reconcile the kind of discrimination you see there with the city of Seattle, just a few hours away over the mountains.
What I’m saying is, this is a Red Town on the Red Side of a Blue State. How can you tell?
Well, there’s Lee Elementary on the other side of the river. East Wenatchee is currently embroiled in a bitter fight over changing the name of the school. It recently got famous when it was featured by the Southern Poverty Law Center as basically the most obviously named-by-racists “Confederate monument” in America due to its distance from the South (and also the fact that Washington wasn’t a state during the Civil War).
There’s the fact that during election seasons — national, statewide, local — you can buy a venti coffee as you drive through town and you’ll stop to pee twice before you ever see a sign for a Democrat.
Harmless Meme, Or Painful Memory?
And there’s Chelan County Emergency Management. On the day when most Americans were remembering those killed 16 years ago, an employee at CCEM was joking about killing protesters with cars. Just like we saw just a few weeks ago. Just like, in fact, a guy tried to do on Sunday, just a few hours away from Wenatchee.
An unidentified female employee at CCEM “accidentally” posted a meme to the city’s official Facebook page — simultaneously “accidentally” tweeting it — that remained up for hours after it was noticed. The meme came from the page “Libtards; ya gotta love ’em!” on September 4th, and if you click that link, buckle up for some awful comments. Here’s the image:
Nothing Is Done About It
Conservatives fantasize about murdering protesters all the time. That’s not really a secret. Here’s what is. Why Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett, in his public statement about the incident, didn’t mention if anything had happened to the employee who is paid with tax money for her disgusting and insensitive post:
What remains a secret is that the “apology” doesn’t address the fact that CCEM apparently is still employing someone who thinks murdering protesters in a manner best suited to ISIS is funny. The employee attempted to explain herself:
The employee begged people to leave it alone:
This is not a thing I just kind of heard about. Most of these images are screenshots I took myself. I still have a lot of friends in the Wenatchee Valley. Just not enough to make a dent in how backwards that town is.
Featured image via Facebook/Composite via Andrew
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