Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Godwin Would Be Proud

'Cuz 'Murica.

While I agree that we live in a (sort of) free society and people have the RIGHT to whatever beliefs they want I am saddened that so many choose to expend their freedoms in ideologies of hate.  I'm also disappointed in my species for encouraging and participating in the worship of internal combustion vehicles as gods of Transportation, Recreation, and Convenience.  These ideas are related.  I promise.

I have never felt much patriotism.  To be a patriot you have to have pride in your country.  I've never seen much in the US to be proud of.  I was born as the dust settled after the Vietnam war.  The oil embargo had just occurred.  Nixon was on his way out of the White House.  My early years were populated with news stories of Iran-Contra hearings, the Cold War, and constant trouble in the Middle East.

As I got older I became informed about dysfunctional politics, corrupt economics, and a divided society.  I think as my understanding of domestic and world events and environments has grown so has the deep socio-political divide in our country and apparently around the world.  At times it seemed to me that it was only my broader view of the world that was growing, but I'm now convinced that the vista is just more crowded with turmoil than when my experience of it began.

I'm not saying the US doesn't do good things.  Let me be straight about that.  We're not just a vile and evil nation.  But it's hard to be proud of a group of people who act and interact spitefully along lines of religious and and economic divides and yet consider ourselves an advanced culture.  And often times it feels like for every morally sound thing we do there are three shady deals and a blatant lie to balance it out.

We camped at Zilpo at Cave Run Lake this past weekend.  It's a time honored tradition in the US.  Celebrate lives lost by getting stupid drunk and play near the water with explosives. Again, something to be proud of.  Stay with me here...

At the lake just before sunset

I tend to avoid this type of situation.  For a sensory defensive person public campgrounds on holiday weekends are hell on earth.  Throw in summer heat and humidity and rampant hordes of insects and you have the perfect mix to drive me bonkers.

It was too good a deal to pass up, and it would provide my family the opportunity to spend time at the lake with our kayaks and swimming and fishing.  We wouldn't have to get on the interstate, but Cave Run is an hour from home so it would feel like a mini-road trip.

Getting ready to head to the lake

Dirty Harry arranged the campsite and we ended up situated across from him.  He's doing volunteer trail work around the campground this summer so he's staked down in a good spot and has all of his creature comforts.  

We got to the campground Friday afternoon.  After setting up camp we drove back out to Farmers and had dinner at Pop's Bar-B-Q.  Oh, and did I mention on the way in the Boyfriend-In-Law's trailer had a flat tire?  We were going around a sharp curve and the tire peeled off the rim.  I should have checked the tire pressure before we left.  Thankfully Mandy was following and she took the wheel into Morehead and got it fixed.

Anyway, we hung out with Harry after we got back to camp.  The kids enjoyed making friends and we stayed up far later than my normal bedtime. 

After a fitful night fighting alternating stretches of silence and lake noise we woke to a fine morning.  Harry came over with a cup of coffee and news that my camp neighbors were white supremacists.  Sure enough they were flying three flags: American, the confederate battle flag, and a white Celtic cross on a black field.  I needed to brush up on my hate symbols, but after a very quick internet search learned that the flag they were flying is in fact a white power symbol typically used by European Nazis.



The group was a family with young kids.  I didn't feel threatened by their white/hate pride.  That sentence makes sense.  But I wondered how I would have felt if I were a member of a minority group.  Would I have been able to sleep with nothing more than thin nylon and a few yards of air between me and a neo-Nazi flag?  I've slept in bear prone areas.  But bears don't discriminate based on who you are and there are proven methods you can employ to reduce the risk of a potential bear encounter.  How do you be Nazi aware?  You can't hang up your color in a Nazi-proof container while you sleep.

In the end only the flag was significant to our holiday weekend experience.  The white supremacist family behaved better than a lot of other folks out at the lake on Saturday.  They were more pleasant than the party raft crowd who were cussing, smoking pot at the beach and throwing red solo cups full of beer into the water.  I'm not saying I prefer the company of white supremacists to the drunken revelers--I don't.  But that's such a tricky statement.  Oh well.

Why hate?  Used to I couldn't understand why so many motorist absolutely loathed the idea of sharing the roads with cyclists.  It didn't compute.  What's the big deal over a few second delay?  Isn't another human life worth slowing down and waiting until it's safe to pass?  And then Trump.  Now I realize there is just a lot of hate in the world. More than I ever imagined.  There's a lot of hardcore self interest and disdain for "others."  We do truly live in an Us vs Them society with "Us" being a lot of small circles.

As seen on the internet--a 4th of July Day parade somewhere in America
The sign on the door reads:

We had a good weekend.  A borrowed tow car and a small trailer allowed us to haul the kayaks to the lake.  I was going to take the bikes too, but the logistics were too complicated and we left them.  It's okay, we had a lot of fun.  On Monday I found a 4'x8' trailer on sale wicked cheap so I got it and a hitch so we can do more of that kind of thing in the future.  While I hate the shift in my life to motorized convenience I also see my recent vehicular choices (also just bought a new Jeep) as eliminating the barriers to adventure.  My family and I need to get back to being more active.

Saturday morning before the deluge of Independence Day revelers

Saturday morning breakfast after a sunrise paddle

Obligat'ry fireworks shot from Sunday night's festivities on the creek

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