Sunday, April 7, 2019
New Jersey is not just a giant interstate highway bordered by massive storage tanks. If you leave the highway, you’ll discover a beautiful state with a noble history and fascinating attractions. Today I visited the site above the Hudson River where Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded during his duel with Aaron Burr on July 11, 1804. My brown MAGA hat drew a few stares, but I was in tourist mode so ignored them.
Afterwards, I admired the large early 20th century houses near Hamilton Park, many with amazing views of Manhattan. Heading north and inland, the neighborhoods became more typical of urban-suburban New York: houses squished together, some with security bars on the windows, but generally well-maintained.
One of the nabes I walked through was Guttenberg, established in 1859 according to the banners flying from lamp posts. I saw no vestiges of its German heritage, however, and few American flags. It seemed to be mostly Hispanic.
While trudging up a steep hill west of Bergenline Ave., I met a woman and man who were chatting on the sidewalk. The woman called out “I love your hat!” so I stopped to talk because they were so happy and surprised to see someone wearing a MAGA hat.
The three of us had a good long chat, and it soon came out that they love Trump and are planning to vote for him again in 2020. Both were extremely plugged in and well informed. They told me things I didn’t know; that the Spanish-speaking tv stations here and elsewhere are basically encouraging people to come to the United States illegally by constantly reporting that anyone who manages to cross the border and claim asylum will be able to stay.
They also told me that many of the people crossing over have no allegiance to this country; that they’ve been taught that this is their country. Sobering, indeed, but I already knew that.
They also warned me to be careful when wearing my hat in that neighborhood, that there are knife-carrying thugs who wouldn’t hesitate to slit my throat. I thanked them for their advice but took it with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, they live there so I paid attention.
Sadly, the man told me that he’s given up hope for the United States. I thought to myself that he’s been cowed by leftist thugs, the same way New Yorkers are afraid to wear a MAGA hat for fear of being attacked by some of the violent leftists who rampaged through the country during and after the 2016 election.
I tried to persuade him that the country is not lost, that it only seems to be lost because New York is so screwed up politically. I mentioned that I have a different perspective because I grew up in a red state, and people in the red states absolutely do not think the country is lost.
Even though he understands that the United States is under attack by global leftwing forces, he hasn’t yet fully grasped the fact that he needs to do more than complain; that he needs to step up to the plate and enlist in the war to save our country.
I realized afterwards that I may have been able to change his pessimistic trajectory with just a few well-chosen words. The next time I’m in a similar situation, I’ll ask—very gently and quietly—“So, you’re not willing to fight for your country?”
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