Five Questions with Sue Godbee: Hawkins Countians react to election, riot at Capitol

This article is the second installment of a short series in the Review entitled “Five questions with __” that aims to capture how Hawkins Countians are reacting to the 2020 Presidential Election and the Jan. 6 storming of U.S. Capitol.

The Review spoke to several Hawkins County citizens who hold no public offices and are not representatives of any local political organizations in hopes of sharing a range of perspectives from real local citizens.

Each interviewee is asked the same set of five questions, which can be found below.

The series was initially begun shortly after the November, 2020 Presidential Election. However, one of the questions has since been updated to ask participants their thoughts on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The Review aims to capture a hyper-local view on how residents feel that the Presidential Election and the Capitol riot will affect their family and our small community.

Some have said that the nation feels perhaps more divided now than it has in a long time. Do you feel like this has affected Hawkins County? Do you feel that the county is divided?

“I believe most people in Hawkins County feel even more determined to toe the party line, regardless of the rift this makes between folks,” Godbee told the Review. “This county does not seem to care about others that believe, worship and think differently from themselves, further isolating them from the totality that is America. Democrats are not treated with respect. Republicans seem to only spout the party platitudes and are not willing to listen, talk and really consider others’ positions.”

How do you feel now that congress has certified President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory? Why?

“I am glad that this elections’ results have been finally certified,” Godbee told the Review. “Trump and Republicans have strayed far wide of American ideals. Insurrection, racism, corruption and failure to work on needed reform and changes have run rampant, especially during the current administration. Though Biden was not my pick, I certainly feel we will have a man who cares about all Americans.”

How do you feel like that the outcome of this election will affect your life and Hawkins County?

“I fear nothing will change, as it has been as long as I have lived here, 35 years,” Godbee told the Review. “I would love to see people here realize there is a country full of people that have so many varied experiences, and Hawkins County would look a lot more attractive to visitors and prospective residents if we were more accepting and positive. We needn’t be afraid to fix problems we all know exist and get to work, together.”

The phrase ‘vote like the future depends on it’ has been used on both sides this year. Do you feel like this election has been different or, perhaps, more important than others in the past? Why or why not?

“I was afraid our democratic republic was really in peril,” Godbee told the Review. “Civil rights have been ignored. We have left our allies holding the bag too many times to enumerate, while we funded Saudi Arabian fanatics. People had turned a blind eye to administration’s outright corruption. Nothing was being done to offset climate change. We had no green deal, and were just monetarily propping up carbon producers who were selling overseas. Education is in a mess. The ACA (Affordable Care Act) has been gutted, and was about to topple. There were too many critical things to enumerate here. The country was being run by those who only wanted the minority to rule, and the heck with the rest of us. In my 71 years I have never seen such frightening times.”

How do you feel about what unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6? Why? What (if any) long-term effects do you think this event will have on the nation and on Hawkins County?

“Trump clearly incited his followers, many of whom were bigots, white nationalists, and boisterous hotheads who wanted their way regardless, to riot, and break laws, terrorize and cause deaths, vandalize and loot and fail to obey law enforcement,” Godbee told the Review. “BLM (Black Lives Matter) protesters want change in how our police treat citizens. The mob of seditious insurgents want a duly processed election to go their way. Regardless. In America we effect change in other ways, including protests. We do not try to overthrow current government representatives by force. I truly hope people in Hawkins County can see this was certainly no way to proceed. It was a dark day for our country, and a culmination of making this kind of behavior acceptable. I know so many folks here and know they have good hearts. I want them to use their minds, as well. Branch out. Learn about others. Open your hearts to ALL.”