Make no mistake about it, Reno is a red city. Nevada as a whole is a blue state, thanks to our southern neighbors in Las Vegas, but Reno is as red as cherries. On numerous occasions, there have been complaints if we turn on MSNBC at work. There have been letters. There have been notes on credit card slips. So I shouldn’t be surprised. But there I was. Still surprised.
It was political conversation day, and I had a couple of friends at the bar trying to convince me that Trump is the answer. Eventually we got on the subject of Muslims, and I shared my Muslim story. I love this story, and I have mentioned it in this blog before. Last summer we went paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe, and while I was coming back to shore I came across a girl, probably about ten years old, standing on her board in a full black hijab. I was out of my element. She was really out of hers. I mean, it was a hot day, and there she was, dressed all in black, with her hood on, in the water. I looked at her, she looked at me, and we both broke out in these shit-eating grins. It was beautiful. She wasn’t ready to pull an AK-47 out from under that robe and start laying waste to everyone on the beach. We were just two human beings, having a great time. I think it perfectly illustrates how two people from two different cultures can have a shared experience.
Well, I was telling this story, and a fellow dining with his wife to my right all of a sudden says, “Hey, I’m trying to eat my dinner here. You have a loud voice, and I’m tired of listening to you. This country is falling apart, and you obviously don’t give a shit.” Those were his exact words.
Like I said, I was surprised. I immediately apologized for offending him. I agreed that I do have a loud voice. I told him that since he thought I didn’t give a shit I really didn’t want to talk to him anymore. I also told him that the friend I was sharing the story with was a Vietnam vet. Then I apologized a second time, just for good measure. I wanted to say a few other things, but I didn’t.
I’m going to say them here. This is what I’m going to say. I’m not going to go off about Trump anymore. I am not going to belittle his plans to wall off our country, or talk about what an embarrassment it would be to have him join the pantheon of great men who have led this country, men like Lincoln, Washington, and, yes, Obama.
I am going to take it one step further. I think it is time to actively fight him becoming president. Not because of who he is, but because of who his followers are.
His followers are so filled with hatred that they can’t handle a story about a little Muslim girl having a good time paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe.
Think about that. And then ask yourself if that’s the sort of behavior we want to encourage in this country.
I say no. I say hatred is not an American ideal. I say that giving people who feel that much hatred a voice and a leader is such a bad idea that there must be some sort of legal way to keep it from happening.
Oh, and I also decided that I’m not sorry for my loud voice. Like Arlo Guthrie says, “If you want to stop war, you can’t just sing loud some of the time. If you want to stop war, you have to learn to sing loud ALL of the time.”