Sunday, March 3, 2019
I wore my red MAGA hat while heading into Manhattan to bid on a couple of landscapes I’ve had my eye on. I wondered if the Hat had any adventures in store for me. More libtards vainly trying to shame me? More flipped birds? Ho hum.
On the ferry, a young Hispanic-looking guy, around twenty, saw my hat and asked in a neutral tone, “what does your hat mean?” It was the first time anyone had posed that question. I replied, “I want our country to be civilized again, where people respect the rule of law.” Then I mischievously tossed out a small piece of bait: “And I want people to stop breaking our laws by coming here illegally.”
He said, “it was great . . . in the 80s, wasn’t it?” Then he sat down next to me—I’ll call him Miguel—and he asked “what about the government?”
I understood what he meant. “Excellent point,” I replied. “The people I really blame are our politicians for creating such a screwed-up immigration system, and for not securing our borders.” I told him that I understand why so many people have been sneaking into our country; if I were in their shoes, I would do the same thing . . . but I don’t condone it.
Then two other guys came over; presumably friends of his. One appeared to be Hispanic; I’ll call him Armando. The other guy was black. I’ll call him Will.
And can we please stop using the term “black” when referring to people with brown skin, and “white” when referring to people with tan skin? It tells you nothing, it’s not accurate, and I’m tired of labeling people because of their skin color or ethnic heritage. He’s not black and I’m not white. He’s brown and I’m tan . . . although I do turn walnut brown in the summer.
“Black” and “white” are one-dimensional, shallow terms that reduce people to caricatures and preconceived stereotypes.
Neither do I call myself an English-American or an American of Scots-English descent. I’m sure the “black” guy doesn’t call himself an American of African descent. Maybe he calls himself an African-American. I don’t know. Maybe his ancestors have been here for centuries.
Whatever. Either you’re an American or you aren’t.
Miguel asks, “What do you think about the wall?” I reply that we need it. He says it won’t work because people will climb it, tunnel under it, or bribe the guards.
I ask him if he lives in a house with a door that locks. He says yes . . . but a wall won’t work. We exchange friendly banter for a while, then Will jumps in and says, “Sheesh, it’s Sunday . . . so political! People can agree to disagree.”
I sympathize; Will has a peaceful demeanor. Miguel and I are creating ripples in the mellow pond of Will’s mind, so I gently bring our game of political ping pong to an end by saying “you’re absolutely right; people can agree to disagree.”
Will is one thousand percent right, of course, but we are facing issues of crucial importance that are affecting the very existence of our country. We should talk about them; it is imperative that we talk about them.
Then Armando speaks up—for the first time—and asks me if I’ve seen a movie called “Dredd.” I say, “no, is it playing now; should I see it?” All three guys look at me like I’m from another planet. Armando says that one of the characters can climb walls 100 feet tall (or something like that). I roll my eyes and say, yeah, well, most people can’t climb walls that high. All three guys concede my point.
Miguel changes the subject by pointing out that Obama deported more people than Trump has been deporting. I’m impressed. This guy is paying attention. I’m thinking to myself that these young men are better informed and certainly more civil than the libtards and white (I mean tan) millennials I’ve encountered while wearing my MAGA hat.
We’ve disagreed on some things, but there hasn’t been any anger.
As the ferry docks and people start herding themselves off the boat, Miguel asks if I’ll sell him my hat. Umm, no, it’s just now getting broken in. But I tell him he would enjoy visiting Trump Tower and he can buy a hat there. We say goodbye and part amicably.
In the ferry terminal, Armando and I continue talking. Turns out he didn’t know the other two guys; he was just passing by and stopped to listen to Miguel and me. He says that people—Democrat and Republican—should be able to talk about things without getting angry. I agree but point out that it’s not the Republicans who are going around physically attacking people and trying to shut down free speech.
I mention Jussie Smollett as a prime example of someone who tried to portray Republicans as hateful, violent racists, when, in fact, he was the hateful racist. I mention that Angela Davis and Jussie’s mother were good friends, that Jussie grew up in an America-hating household . . . which Armando did not know. But why would he? The “mainstream” media don’t tell the truth. They’re not journalists; they’re propagandists.
Then I ask, “if America is so horrible, why do people want to come here?” Armando nods in agreement. As we part, we shake hands, saying that we hope to see each other again.
As I’m heading down into the subway, I hear a loud voice exclaim, “Take off your hat!” I turn around and see some guys hawking tour bus tickets. I’m in a good mood, but I’m not in the mood to ignore a totalitarian command, so I walk over to the guys and quickly ascertain who said it. Then I calmly ask him why he wants me to take off my hat. He sputters, “that hat is for white racists!” I calmly respond, “no it’s not.”
Then he blurts out, “this country is already great!” He tells me that Meghan McCain said the country is already great (I think to myself, Meghan McCain? People still watch that stupid show?). I reply, “Yes, this country is fundamentally great, but we’re facing grave problems that threaten our very existence.”
The guy is in no mood for a rational conversation; he just wants to vent. He points at my hat and shouts “that guy called Africa a shithole!” while squatting to mimic someone taking a crap. He repeats the charade several times for emphasis.
I presume he’s referring to Trump. I reply that Trump only said some countries in Africa are shitholes, not the whole continent. I didn’t think to mention that Obama called Libya a “shit show” when he was president.
It’s obvious our “conversation” is a waste of time, so I extend my hand and say that I really must be going. He does shake my hand, but he keeps ranting. He just won’t let it go, so I toss out a little piece of red meat as I’m leaving, “By the way, another shithole country is Venezuela.” And then I calmly walk away.
A minute later, as I’m heading to a different subway station because the first one was closed for repairs, I hear a voice call out “he’s not going to build the wall.” I turn around and see two guys selling tour bus tickets. One of the guys says, “Trump got outsmarted.” I say, “he got stabbed in the back.” The guy says the wall will never be built.
I say, you never know, it’s Trump, implying that Trump has been getting a lot done. Then the guy puts his cards on the table and says with scorn and hostility, “he inherited $100 million from his father and went bankrupt three times. What does he know about anything?”
This conversation is clearly going nowhere, so I just say, “We disagree. Civilized people can agree to disagree, right?” They mutter something and won’t look at me. I continue walking. I have a pretty good idea that those two guys would probably never say anything good about any white (I mean tan) person. There’s a word for those kinds of people. Hint: “rac_st.”
Later, as I’m walking up Fifth Avenue near the Empire State Building, I pass a souvenir shop and duck in to see if they sell MAGA hats. They don’t, but they are selling some nifty umbrellas that look like American flags. I buy one because it’s just beginning to snow. As I’m leaving, a young woman passes by and calls out, “like your hat!” I turn around and shout “thank you!” She—and the three guys on the ferry—make it all worthwhile.
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