“Everything I needed to know....”
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Here in Tea Party Central [otherwise known as Crescent City, California, where we lived when I originally wrote this], we have a lot of vehicles like this one (although I have yet to see all these elements of overt race hate and ignorance combined in one place). Whether bigotry is part of the fundamental ethos of that organization I cannot say, but, in rural Northern California at least, there is considerable overlap between it and assorted white supremacists, religious zealots, Islamophobes and people who freely express contempt for penurious recipients of aid (despite their own reliance on similar government assistance), with a sprinkling of the kinds of individuals who, in casual conversation, refer to the president as “that black bastard.”
The vehicles driven by such persons often express their owners’ disdain for all such “inferior” folk. They are also disproportionately likely to feature such slogans as “Diesel kicks gas.” There is one such large Ford pickup that we often see parked outside the local Safeway: Its floor is six feet over the pavement, its total length approximates nineteen feet, and it belches sufficient diesel fumes from its twin smokestacks to asphyxiate anyone walking through the parking lot while its engine is running. Like the truck pictured above, it also proudly features a Confederate flag.
When I encounter these sorts of people, I’m torn between pity for their ignorance and anomie and rage for the obscene tenets they espouse. That they have the right to believe as they want is axiomatic; in any system aping democracy, we cannot deny them this choice. My anger stems from the fact that their stupid opinions create political cover for pathocrats to trample all of us further underfoot in their impious lust for lucre and for polluters to foul our air and water beyond redemption, even as they direct caustic venom at innocent others who suffer at least as much as they.
They may, in a word, believe all they like in the “stomp-the-world” mentality that such thinking betrays, but I have the right to resent it, since my family and I are part of what they want to stomp.