Downer Encounter, Sign of the Times

Friday morning very early, the Spouse and I were on the road on our way to Pittsburgh to visit the mother-in-law.

It was cold, so I was wearing leather jeans over black harness boots and my Langlitz Crescent leather jacket. Typical cold-weather attire for me.

After a quick stop-off at the dump (aka “transfer station”) to get rid of garbage from the Feastival, an hour later, we found ourselves on the Pennsylvania Turnpike headed West. We were making great time–it was only 0800.

Along the way, we stopped at a rest stop in the dead-red middle of the state. I am always a bit apprehensive stopping at this particular location…

…because it was just a few years ago at this same location when some cretin told me, “gays shouldn’t wear loggers.”

The Spouse told me what he wanted to eat and went to sit at a table. I got in line to buy breakfast and was behind two men of dark complexion. I thought nothing of it. They were speaking to each other casually in perfect American English.

But two other guys apparently emboldened by the political rhetoric of the xenophobic buffoon who will become U.S. President pointed at the two men in front of me and sneered loudly, “you people should go back where you came from — things have changed!”

I was aghast. The look on the faces of the men in front of me was one of fear and sadness, both.

This is exactly what I feared by the election of that awful, awful man as President. His rhetoric has given power to hate and public expression of same.

I could not stand it or stay silent. I walked a step forward, turned to face those white rhetoric-believing deplorables, stood tall in my most confident Leatherman stance, wrapped my arms around both men and said, “listen, Bub, these guys are Americans, but unlike you, they are educated and believe in what our country is all about–freedom! You need to go back to your swamp!”

I was not expecting what happened next…

…the crowd around us broke into a loud round of applause. Whew… for a moment there, I thought that I was going to get pummeled.

The two bozos walked away, and the manager of the food outlet comped my meal, as well as the meal of my two new friends.

They sat with me and my husband while we ate. I learned how accurate I really was.

My new friends were both veterans of the U.S. Army, having been deployed on a tour of overseas service for our country. Each were born here, and indeed are as American as those two idiots and me & The Spouse. They were of Indian descent–not the Middle East.

Sheesh… these next four years are going to be very, very hard. My beloved country has lost its openness and character of acceptance and welcome–the very foundation upon which we were founded.

Life is short: show through your actions that hatred has no welcome or acceptance.

3 thoughts on “Downer Encounter, Sign of the Times

  1. BHD, there is a quote that I fear is about to come to be: “These are times that try men’s souls.” (It’s by Thomas Paine whose other famous quote is “…as for me, Give me Liberty or Give me Death!”) I strongly urge everyone who does not know the first quote to read that one in full. I believe it predicts what each one of us decent folk will have to go through in the coming years. Not everyone who voted for Trump is either a bigot or would ascribe to what those two vermin in the diner believe. But there are too many who are bigots who now believe they are the majority and have an obligation to infect our lives with their ignorance. They are not the majority. You and I and every other human being who believes in the full measure of what this nation was built upon and worked out to be and what promise America holds for each and every one of us, each of us may have to step up and speak up as you did.

    I wish you and your hubby a belated Happy Thanksgiving. I have a feeling you provided a number of people with a very Happy Thanksgiving of their own.

  2. As I prepare to leave Hawaii and move back to Maryland, I do so with fear and trepidation. My two years in Hawaii have been a delight not because of the sun and beaches but because for the first time in 48 years I felt accepted (a feat I never experienced in the Gay Community). My heart aches as I return to the mainland and all of its prejudice and hate. I live in fear that I will experience the same treatment in Frederick, Maryland that those Vets faced. It is dark and sad times that we enter.

    I knew 18 months ago that Trump would be our next president because this country has never grown past its racist beginnings. I does not matter that I risked my life in Afghanistan for our country… that I experienced the attack of an insurgent hell bent on taking life. All I know is that as a Black Man, I will never truly experience the freedom that Trump and his ilk take for granted no matter my education or achievement. Those who voted for him knew what they were embracing and they embraced him with joyful open arms.

    • Welcome back to my home state — the first state in the nation that
      approved same-sex marriage by popular vote, and the state that
      repudiated the ilk of Drumpf overwhelmingly. Can’t say that happened in the rest of the country, as evidenced by that nasty encounter in
      Pennsylvania about which my post was written.

      There is a reason why Frederick is referred to as “Fred-neck,” but actually the City of Frederick is welcoming and not like the surrounding county in its politics.

      While not nearly as diverse as Hawaii, Maryland between Baltimore and Washington DC is for the most part an area composed of a diverse and highly educated residents who welcome and embrace differences in
      others as most of us are different each in our own way. The rest of the state — not so much.

      BTW, thank you for your service, and welcome home.

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