Southern Tier, Post 43
Day 48, post 43, The wackadoodle Confederacy: I first noticed Confederate flags in Texas, and have resigned myself to seeing them from time to time ever since. I am most irritated when I see them in front of restaurants or other business establishments - I typically find myself thinking, "why would any thinking person patronize a business that so overtly advertises hate, or superiority, or overt racism in a country as diverse as ours?" I know the answer of course, and that probably fuels my irritation most. It makes me angry that some Americans actually want to make other Americans uncomfortable, and that enough other Americans will passively go along, making such behavior possible. But even more irritating are the handful of times I have seen Trump/Pence signs flying alongside Confederate flags. But I want to make a disclaimer before I proceed - I realized only today that the Confederate flags make me so uncomfortable I have cycled right by and never taken a photo, and I've taken only one picture of a Trump/Pence flag alongside a Confederate flag (in Round Top, TX), and I've already posted it. So you have to take me at my word - although after this post I won't pass by any more without snapping a photo. In any case I find it nauseating that the current administration hasn't done more to discourage this association. But then, our President's key advisor (Bannon) once led the Breitbart news site, which the organization considers “the premier website of the Alt Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.” So, yes, our President has earned the association, and it is reprehensible. And that a significant number of Americans are ok with that deeply and profoundly disappoints me.
Southerners are polite, but I never forget as I travel through the rural south on a bicycle that I am white and male. It was my gender and race that did well in that fictional period of greatness that Trump wants to resurrect "again". When was that golden period, exactly - 1955, 1965, 1975? Can someone tell me when "again" refers to? But let's be honest- whenever it was, I am certain it was not a great time for women or people of color. I can bike through the south, and not be hassled. But can a person of color? Can a single woman? Not for a minute have I ever imagined that my pleasant and easygoing experiences on this trip aren't connected to my capacity to "pass" as a potential good old boy, if only at a distance. Whiteness, maleness - being those things in this environment, and not knowing the privilege they bestow - well, that's wackadoodle.
Check out my road cycling activity on Garmin Connect.
Pic 1, The small print on the right notice says applicants must be workman's comp exempt.
Pic 2, interesting name for a firing range - Bullets and Bones.
Pic 3, What you don't see is what you get.
Pic 4, The road I traveled on. Good shoulder!
Pic 5, Whatchee say?
Pic 6, The banks of the Choctawhatchee.
Pic 7, Another view of the Choctawhatchee.
More to come,