It was my 66th birthday and a fine blue skies day, after 3 days of almost constant rain, to get out and explore a bit of Charleston, South Carolina. I'd never been to historic downtown Charleston, but skirted it once while visiting friends vacationing on Isle of Palms nearby.
We parked Miranda in a lot near the United States Customs building near the harbor and began our walk about. There's a lot of new construction, renovations continue apace, and one can't help but marvel at the magnificent homes located in the historic section of downtown.
I suppose Melanie and I spent about 3 hours or more walking through Live Oak covered parks and making our way through narrow streets and alleyways. And, while it was a great way to spend my birthday, I have to admit it was somewhat tainted by, well, history.
Fort Sumter was visible on our walk and we heard tour guides discussing it and the Civil War with their paid patrons. I wondered aloud what kind of pablum might they be consuming, was it white washed history, Gone with the Wind-styled to assuage delicate white folks sensibilities or were they getting a history that included a discussion of how enslaved labor built many of the magnificent structures that surrounded us, how enslaved peoples made opulent life-styles possible?
There's also the neo-Nazi, Dylann Roof, who murdered 9 people in a bible study in Charleston. One doesn't necessarily have to be from the south to understand how the narrative of root causes of the Civil War got away from factual and was repackaged into the mythical and how much of that mythical southern "heritage" still exists in the telling as I'm typing. We have a white supremacist president in the White House.
Yet for all its appeal, Charleston also evokes a brutal chapter of American life, a city built on and sustained by slave labor for nearly two centuries. Beneath the stately facade of this prosperous city is a savage narrative of Jim Crow and Ku Klux Klan violence, right through the civil rights movement.
One doesn’t have to reach that far back to understand what makes Charleston a haunting place to explore (an estimated 40 to 60 percent of African-Americans can trace their roots here). Only in 2015 did the Confederate flag come down from the state capitol in Columbia, prompted by a young neo-Nazi, Dylann S. Roof, who brandished a handgun and massacred nine people during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the nation’s oldest black churches and hallowed ground of the civil rights movement. That one of the casualties, Cynthia Hurd, was the sister of a close colleague only hardened my sense that the so-called Holy City, nicknamed as such after its abundance of churches, was holding fast to its legacy of racial hatred.- In Charleston, Coming to Terms With the Past
There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief
Business men, they drink my wine
Plowman dig my earth
None were level on the mind
Nobody up at his word
No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But, uh, but you and I, we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us stop talkin' falsely now
The hour's getting late...-All Along the Watch Tower, Dylan
Good morning from Charleston, South Carolina where we've been in residence for a few days. We succeeded in escaping the unseasonably cold weather bearing down on us in Providence, Rhode Island where we were for 5 days. After traveling over a 1,000 miles in 3 days (not recommended), some stationary time has been good. Yesterday was our wedding anniversary and today, my birthday. Dinner last evening in Charleston to celebrate both was yummy.
We were in Providence last week celebrating the 80th anniversary of Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) with EPF board members and members of the Episcopal Church, Province One. Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown from Vermont preached. The theme of the gathering was racial reconciliation.
I discussed my surprise and chagrin at seeing confederate battle flags during our travels in Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New York with Bishop MacVean-Brown as we shuttled from Providence to Bristol for an Evensong where she was to preach. She related a story to me of a time she felt unsafe in rural Indiana only to find out later the location was one where lynchings took place.
The fellow running a campground at which we stayed in New Hampshire told me matter-of-factly that the Civil War was not about race about the time his helper showed up with a confederate battle flag do-rag on his head. There's a jewish white supremacist in the White House in case you missed that. Aside from scratching my head, warding off despair for our nation is difficult at times but for all the great people we continue to meet on the road who are passionate about the issues facing us. I also relish the idea we are helping build an enduring coalition for peace and justice.
A few of the folks we were with in Providence.
Looking back at Richford, New York
Back in late October we were in Richford, New York, just outside Ithaca and were hosted by Linda and Michael who graciously allowed us to park in their driveway for the night. We are grateful for the time spent with them. They fed us dinner and breakfast and Michael took us along for a tour of a working steam-powered engine machine shop. Michael also restores vintage British motorcycles.
We spend one more night here in Charleston, explore a bit and then we head farther south tomorrow, keeping close to the Atlantic coast in search of fair weather and some place to get outside. Watch this space. Peace.
Wherein, on this day, our one year anniversary, your intrepid travelers dispense with the niceties of traveling full-time and give you the benefit of their experiences in short, easy to digest, thoughts about van life. "Van Life" is used loosely here, please don't mistake us for those lovely model types you may have come across who post on Instagram (#vanlife) and appear to be straight out of central casting for an Abercrombie and Fitch ad, have svelte physiques, and appear to lead extremely charmed existences on the road. We're pretty, just not that pretty and yes, it's a pretty charmed existence, if you're realistic about expectations. 😎
This is where folks with disposable income who have stars in their eyes about what it might be like to travel full-time in a luxury vehicle like the Leisure Travel Van, meet two people who have actually been doing it for a year. Make no mistake, full-time travel in the LTV is over-the-top great, if you first do your due diligence and then wrap your privileged head around what you're actually about to do.
We have no home base, that is, no physical place to which we return after yet another great adventure on the road seeing all the sights. Our only home is Miranda, our 2019 Unity Island Bed. We don't yet know where we may end up when our travels end, but for us, that's part of the appeal. We do have a 5x20 storage unit with stuff we increasingly can live without.
Our children, our two sons, who have just recently graduated university, had two quite different reactions when we announced our intentions to hit the road. One thought it was a very cool idea and was jealous. The other, "Well, that's the craziest fucking idea I've heard recently." (Please note, we don't condone that kind of negative review regarding our very adult intentions, but as a parent, whaddaya gonna do, right?)
While the crazy fucking idea son is the only person who actually voiced that opinion about our impending travels aloud, you can bet he wasn't the only person we told who thought it so. You may view their two very different reactions as two ends of the a continuum regarding full-time travel, as in, yes please, traveling full-time sounds like a great dream to me. The other end being, no, you both are surely out of your fucking minds and, by the way, which one of you conjured up that particular brand of craziness. I need to know in case it's contagious or hereditary.
Use what you will, ignore what you will. Let common sense prevail.
1. Living in an LTV is camping. You're not going to be living in a condo or apartment on wheels, you are going to be camping. I have likened it to backpacking in the Ritz, but at the end of the day, it's camping. If you want all the comforts and security of a bricks and mortar home, stay home. It's actually that simple. You spent all that money so you can camp in style, but make no mistake, you're still going to be camping.
2. Consider the limitations of living in a small space before you buy. Melanie likens living in the LTV to her dorm room in college. She slept and sometimes ate in her dorm room, but she lived outside the dorm space on campus and elsewhere. Consider whether you actually like the outdoors and all the kinds of weather that entails. Melanie walked to church in the rain today.
3. If organization is your thing, living in a small space on the road shouldn't be too much of a stretch. For example, our clothes are in packing cubes and we basically know what's in each cube, dishes are washed and put away within a reasonable period of time each and every time they are used, avoiding a cluttered sink and galley/living area. I have a list of what's in each bin in our pass-through and basement storage areas on my laptop computer making it easy for me to locate anything I need easily, though I pretty much know where things are now. You need far less than you believe you do. Far less.
4. If you think washing your cloths in a laundromat is below your pay grade, reconsider living on the road. We were staying at an RV Park in Fredericksburg, Texas and I was doing our laundry in their laundry room. A woman who was there with me doing her clothes quipped that she sure missed her washer and dryer. I told her my take on it was that the life I was able to live on the road made the few hours I might spend in a laundry room every few weeks worth it. Well, if you look at it that way, she said. Indeed.
5. Make sure all food that needs to be and/or should be stored is properly packaged. Empty your trash regularly to avoid uninvited varmints. No, really. Dispose of the trash daily and properly. Vacuum the floor, too.
6. Put maintenance reminders on your smart phone. Check the batteries, if you have ones that require maintenance, lubricate the steps, flush the black tank, etc. Know all the regular maintenance schedules required and just do what is required or have someone do it for you. The refrigerator won't defrost itself.
7. Consider ditching the tow car and getting electric assist bicycles. The state of the art of amazing. I consider our bicycles one of the best decisions we made before we started traveling. I can easily run errands and we really like checking out new places on our bikes. Many cities are bicycle friendly with great bike lanes. Try to be in reasonable physical shape when you begin travel and exercise regularly.
8. Set a reasonable number of miles per day for traveling and stay at least two days in any given location. For us, that's no more than 200 miles. That's not etched in stone. We've traveled 500 miles in a day to avoid staying in 95 degree temperatures with no electrical hook up and a generator that needed service before. We've gotten to a campground and immediately decided one night was maybe too many. If you travel every day, you'll soon begin to wear yourself out.
9. Wrap your head around conservation and you're on your way towards being happy camping in the LTV. Learn to use less water, less electricity. Use public restroom facilities and campground showers when possible. I didn't pay all that money to do what your talking about, you might think. Yes. Yes you did. That may not suit you, but if not, stay home and take that nice long shower, use the dishwasher and your own washing machine, just don't kid yourself about what's being promised you by LTV. It's camping, high-end camping, but it's a very different lifestyle than living in a bricks and mortar home.
10. We chase weather. What that means is we try not to be in locations where the outside temperatures are either too hot or too cold. During the past year we experienced both. If we have to choose, we prefer too cold. When it's too hot, you can't take off enough clothes to be comfortable, too cold, layering clothing works just fine for comfort.
When it's hot, you're forced to run the air conditioner, even when traveling down the highway. Once the ambient temperature outside reaches around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, you might as well stop the van, crank up the generator, and turn on the air conditioner. Running the air conditioner is not a bad thing per se, it works very well, especially during daylight hours, but sleeping while the AC is running is challenging, at least for us, because of the noise.
Too cold presents another set of problems. LTV will tell you the vans are 3 season vehicles and that's pretty much the case, notwithstanding, what I just mentioned about the heat. When the temperatures begin to drop below freezing, the van becomes vulnerable to freezing pipes and tanks.
We have heated black and grey water tanks, the fresh water tank is located beneath the bed (which doesn't make it completely safe when it freezes, but helps), but there are at least two additional areas that are vulnerable to freezing temperatures, the service bay and macerator pump. We spent a few nights where the temperatures dipped just below freezing and one night when the temperature dropped to 19 degrees. I keep a shop lamp in the van with a 60 watt incandescent bulb in it. I placed the shop lamp in the service area where the outside shower is located. The shop lamp kept the ambient temperature in the service bay in the 40's Fahrenheit all night.
Any problems you may have with freezing temperatures will most likely occur should the temperature not move above freezing after a reasonable amount of time the next day. I am not, however, advocating you not be concerned with freezing temperatures and/or avoid them. LTV's are 3 season vehicles.
11. Consider a Planet Fitness Black membership. We use it for both exercise and, more often, showers.
12. Peruse our resources page. Follow people who have been traveling full-time and have blogs and YouTube Channels that will give you some really valuable insights. Due diligence is important before you jump.
13. Be mindful of connectivity issues. Because Melanie has part-time job we, travel in support of her non-profit organization and she needs to be connected via the internet. Check out Technomadia before you buy anything related to being connected on the road, including options offered by LTV. The Technomadia folks make a living assisting people with connectivity issues.
Composed with all the seriousness and sarcasm I could muster. See you on the road.
October 19, 2019
On the 27th of this month Melanie and I will have spent a year's time living and traveling the United States of America in our home on wheels, Miranda. As I type this, I'm in the mountains of north Georgia visiting with friends, Melanie is currently traveling out of country on a work-related trip. What a year it has been.
To give you some idea of the kind of year we've had, we have parked Miranda in 123 distinct places and traveled through 32 states. By the time October 2019 has expired, Miranda is likely to have close to 25,000 miles logged on the odometer.
Over the next few days leading up to our one year anniversary, I hope to type in some thoughts about our year in Miranda.
People ask periodically, what place(s) are favorite(s).
For me, the Grand Canyon, Big Bend and Acadia National Park are difficult to beat when it comes to scenic places to play. I also enjoyed my time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, San Antonio, Texas, Austin, Texas, Tucson, Arizona, and crazy middle-of-no-where, Marfa, Texas. No particular order.
My favorite camping spot was Overlook Campground, Chinle, New Mexico. Remote and beautiful. As with many things like a camping spot, timing is an essential element. I've read reviews of Overlook Campground campsite complaining of the locals, the noise and, if I remember correctly, some unsavory characters. There was one other camper at Overlook when we were there. He was a traveling artist and we bought a rock painted like a dog head from him. Al, named after the artist, is our pet rock dog who lies on the floor on Melanie's side of the van. He's a good boy. Really quiet too. No barking. I do imagine, however, he'd pack a vicious impact on someone's head, if such a thing ever became necessary. Guard dog rock.
He's been missing Melanie too. Jus' sayin'.
Melanie tells me that highlights for her include, in no particular order of preference, Lake Michigan (Monroe, Grand Haven, Ludington and Traverse City) shore towns, Big Bend National Park, Acadia National Park, Cleveland, Ohio, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Vermont. I can't disagree. It has been and continues to be difficult to choose which experience and where might be considered "the best."
A Checklist is Necessary
I'm sitting in a KOA campground in Natural Bridge, Virginia this morning having coffee and breakfast pondering our travels. In case you will wonder, no, I will not be taking in the actual Natural Bridge located nearby this time through. I may never take it in and, of course, will most likely be missing something extraordinary. The town is called Natural Bridge. It must be something. Such is life on the road. It's not just a vacation and sometimes one simply doesn't feel very touristy. Right now another cup of coffee sounds better.
Melanie is traveling in the Middle East for work and has been away since October 11. I miss her for many reasons but one of them is having her around to run through our RV pre-departure checklist before we move each time. It's a ritual, it's the mundane stuff of travel, but we've found that skipping it, skimming it or ignoring it will cost you.
Going through it without her makes me miss her all the more, especially since I'm generally the one reading out items as she checks to make sure they are done, except for items performed outside the vehicle like tire pressure. I have no one to blame except myself if something isn't right, at least for two more sleeps anyway.
Since I've been a backpacker all my adult life, having a checklist for this kind of camping was a natural thing. Backpacking often puts you miles away from a trailhead and miles away from some essential item you may need for survival. My brother (from another mother) and life-long backpacking friend, John, is the master of the backpacking checklist. He'd spreadsheet every item (weigh it too) and then we'd discuss who would bring and/or carry what items. The checklist was always one of the essentials when planning a backpacking trip. While we now know pretty much what items of clothing, kitchen wares, etc. we need and use, the following is maybe the most essential check list for van life.
Blue Jobs and Pink Jobs
We're back in Summit, New Jersey at our friend, Diana's home. Melanie is back from the Middle East.
Never was the concept of teamwork more apparent than recently when Melanie was away for a few weeks. Moving and operating the van became a much slower process with me checking the Pre-departure list twice at times.
Before we purchased Miranda, we traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to test drive a Leisure Travel Van. I was in touch with Don Klassen, Territory Sales Manager for Leisure Travel Vans, and he agreed to allow us to drive the van in which he was currently traveling.
He jokingly (sort of) told us that if we were to purchase a van we'd have to make a list of "blue and pink jobs." Melanie quickly picked up on the reference and replied all van jobs would be blue jobs. She was along for the ride.
While there are no gender-specific jobs, no list of Steven or Melanie jobs, each of us has things we perform to keep Miranda, and our lives, running smoothly. It's the proverbial well-oiled machine at this point.
Location, Location, Locations
Over the past year, Melanie, Miranda and I have spent days and weeks in a variety of locations from National Parks to driveways of friends (where we are now), State Parks, and locations using services to which we subscribe.
Because of Melanie's work, some of our best locations have been staying with people (and new friends) who are affiliated with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. We've made new friends and chuckled about what people who haven't any idea about us or Miranda, but have offered a place for Miranda to park sight unseen, think before we actually show up. I mean, two people from Alabama traveling full-time in an RV coming to visit. Cousin Eddie and Christmas Vacation may come to mind.
We use Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts, two services for which we pay a yearly fee and for which we can then stay a night or two without incurring a fee. Each service has something unique to offer and we generally utilize these services when we don't necessarily need to have power, water or sewer connections.
The driveways of friends are also places we like. They offer a chance to catch up with friends both new and old.
We've also stayed in the parking lots of Bass Pro Shops a few times. They don't offer anything with the exception of a security patrol because of the boats they have on site. While both Cracker Barrel and Walmart parking lots are available, we've never had to or chosen to stay with them.
Each location has something to offer and all of them are essential to our enjoyment of full-time travel.
The Year Ahead
We leave Summit Monday, October 28th, and after events in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island we'll drive south to North Carolina to visit friends, Tennessee, to visit our son, and then head towards the southwest for winter.
Our current plan is to move into Nevada, California and work our way up the west coast then come spring move across the top of the country. Watch this space.
Miranda's parked on the street next to Christ's Church Rye this morning. One of Melanie's EPF board members, Rev. Michael Kurth, is Curate here. She will worship at 10:00 and then we'll have lunch with Michael before we travel to Molly Stark State Park in Vermont.
Before moving down the road too much farther, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how grateful we are (once again) to our friend, Diana Kyser, who lives in Summit, New Jersey for allowing us to park Miranda in her driveway for a few days so we could, among other things attend Climate Strike New York City. We also took in the Biennial with Diana yesterday at the Whitney Museum of Art. It was good visiting with her and the dogs and we look forward to seeing them again in October before Melanie travels to Palestine.
Another note of gratitude goes to out Diane and Jim Paterson who reside in Georgetown, Maine just outside of Bath, Maine.
They hosted us for a few days before and after a very successful EPF event in Bath at Grace Episcopal Church which Diane organized. Not only did the Paterson's allow us to park Miranda at their lovely home along the Maine coast, but they gave us use of one of their Subarus (the official state car of Maine and Vermont) and use of their cottage which sits adjacent to their home.
Because of Georgetown's relative remoteness, I was able to get out on the road on Red Ranger and ride around Georgetown and to Reid State Park which is about 4 miles from Jim and Diane's home. What a great resource for the residents.
We appreciate their generosity and are happy we have two new friends in Maine. We look forward to spending more time with them when we are back through the area.
Good afternoon from Chewonki Campground on the coast of Maine.
We're here for a few days before heading south to Bath, Maine, we'll park Miranda in Georgetown, for an EPF event this coming Sunday.
Our recent time in Essex Junction, Vermont was a great experience thanks to our hosts John Heermans and Cecilia Polansky. They allowed us to park Miranda in front of their barn for a few days, showed us around Essex Junction and Burlington, Vermont, cooked for us, and took us out to their favorite local pub for dinner.
Melanie and I really enjoyed all our time in Vermont and are very grateful for time spent with John and Cec and for their generosity. We look forward to seeing them again in Bath.
Yesterday, while walking downtown, we happened on the Burlington Pride Parade. A few IPhone snaps later.
When fellow campers left a messy campsite and went out for the day, wild horses came through and checked out the leavings.
Assateague's horses are beautiful, tough, and wild. They have learned to survive in a harsh environment. Feeding and/or petting them is detrimental to both visitors and horses. Horses can get sick from human food. Those that learn to come up to the road to beg for food are often hit and killed by cars. Visitors are kicked, bitten and knocked down every year as a direct result of getting too close to the wild horses. Treating wild horses like tame animals takes away the wildness that makes them special. Protect your family by respecting theirs. Give the horses the space they need to be wild. (National Park Service)
Located on Virginia's Eastern Shore, Kiptopeke State Park is a gem. Older campground with adequate amenities. The drive over from Norfolk on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is worth the price of admission.
Good afternoon from Nags Head, North Carolina where Melanie and I have just finished a good lunch at a local seafood establishment. We're sitting in a parking lot near the restaurant. She's working Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) and I'm contemplating the universe for a few minutes before we drive south to our friends, Aida and John's, home Sunrise Over Salvo on Cape Hatteras.
Our visit home to Birmingham and subsequent travels to Montgomery and Hayneville and Selma have weighed on me a bit since we left.
I've now traveled to the The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum twice. Both times I was painfully reminded of how white washed (literally) was my understanding growing up in Columbus, Georgia of the treatment of black folks well before and after the Civil War. Visiting the memorial and museum should be mandatory, as a minimum, for all Alabama school children and those wanting a better understanding of slavery and its aftermath.
I grew up in the 50's and 60's living in an all white milieu where I rarely had any contact with people of color. My parents were high school graduates, both were democrats, that is, FDR democrats. They supported John F. Kennedy and were devastated when he was assassinated. They were not progressive or liberal in any sense we now understand those terms. They were raised up during the Great Depression and remembered jobs created by FDR's New Deal. My father's family was poor and he recalled being hungry at times.
My parents were racists. The "N" word was casually tossed around from time to time. My maternal grandmother sported one of those vanity tags on her car that had a confederate soldier holding a confederate flag. The tag read, "Hell no, I ain't forgettin'." You may have seen one of them. I don't doubt they're still a thing somewhere.
After I began practicing law, I left my parent's home in Georgia on one occasion shortly after arriving for a visit when my father casually inquired about my "N" word law partner. I remember saying before walking out the door that they hadn't raised me to think about people of color that way. But really, they had.
Somewhere along the way I escaped the gravity that is contained in bigotry and prejudice and realized many things I was taught and exposed to growing up regarding people of color were wrong and hurtful and, frankly, just ignorant.
Though my pastor was a kind and intelligent man who had a positive influence on my life, many in our small Baptist Church community were also racists. Certainly one of the messages I was taught in church came from that familiar song we sang;
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.
One of my best neighborhood friends, Mark's, father, George, was also an influence. George, was a former seminarian turned atheist. He was a reader and a free thinker. I could, and did, converse with him about things on my young mind. He had very progressive ideas about many things, race relations being one.
I am the first, and only person, in my immediate family to attend university. My experience of being exposed to different ideas, like many before me in similar circumstances, was of feeling as though I'd removed my head from the sand, of being an alien in my own family. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed when realizing your socialization contained some pretty fucked up notions.
My experience tells me people are malleable especially when they are young. Myths regarding human nature are not easily dislodged from willing minds, even in the face of counter evidence of their falsity. Sometimes the lessons we learn as children are simply difficult to unlearn. We often don't know that we don't have good information. I am fortunate to have been shown the importance of critical independent thinking. And forgiveness.
I recently posted the following to my FaceBook page. It's from Michael Gerson, President George W. Bush's former chief speech writer. It's worth a repost here:
I had fully intended to ignore President Trump’s latest round of racially charged taunts against anAfrican American elected official, and an African American activist, and an African American journalist and a whole city with a lot of African Americans in it. I had every intention of walking past Trump’s latest outrages and writing about the self-destructive squabbling of the Democratic presidential field, which has chosen to shame former vice president Joe Biden for the sin of being an electable, moderate liberal.
But I made the mistake of pulling James Cone’s 'The Cross and the Lynching Tree' off my shelf — a book designed to shatter convenient complacency. Cone recounts the case of a white mob in Valdosta, Ga., in 1918 that lynched an innocent man named Haynes Turner.
Turner’s enraged wife, Mary, promised justice for the killers. The sheriff responded by arresting her and then turning her over to the mob, which included women and children. According to one source, Mary was 'stripped, hung upside down by the ankles, soaked with gasoline, and roasted to death. In the midst of this torment, a white man opened her swollen belly with a hunting knife and her infant fell to the ground and was stomped to death.'
God help us. It is hard to write the words. This evil — the evil of white supremacy, resulting in dehumanization, inhumanity and murder — is the worst stain, the greatest crime, of U.S. history. It is the thing that nearly broke the nation. It is the thing that proved generations of Christians to be vicious hypocrites. It is the thing that turned normal people into moral monsters, capable of burning a grieving widow to death and killing her child.
When the president of the United States plays with that fire or takes that beast out for a walk, it is not just another political event, not just a normal day in campaign 2020.
It is a cause for shame. It is the violation of martyrs’ graves. It is obscene graffiti on the Lincoln Memorial. It is, in the eyes of history, the betrayal — the re-betrayal — of Haynes and Mary Turner and their child. And all of this is being done by an ignorant and arrogant narcissist reviving racist tropes for political gain, indifferent to the wreckage he is leaving, the wounds he is ripping open.
Like, I suspect, many others, I am finding it hard to look at resurgent racism as just one in a series of presidential offenses or another in a series of Republican errors. Racism is not just another wrong. The Antietam battlefield is not just another plot of ground. The Edmund Pettus Bridge is not just another bridge. The balcony outside Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel is not just another balcony. As U.S. history hallows some causes, it magnifies some crimes.
What does all this mean politically? It means that Trump’s divisiveness is getting worse, not better. He makes racist comments, appeals to racist sentiments and inflames racist passions. The rationalization that he is not, deep down in his heart, really a racist is meaningless. Trump’s continued offenses mean that a large portion of his political base is energized by racist tropes and the language of white grievance. And it means — whatever their intent — that those who play down, or excuse, or try to walk past these offenses are enablers.
Some political choices are not just stupid or crude. They represent the return of our country’s cruelest, most dangerous passion. Such racism indicts Trump. Treating racism as a typical or minor matter indicts us.
I'm realizing more with each passing day just how important are the contacts Melanie and I make as we travel the country in support of EPF and the ideas and issues for which Melanie, EPF, all the Peace Parishes, and EPF membership advocate. In these troubled times we are both grateful for each and everyone who is willing.
We not only continue to make new friends along the way, but are helping build a coalition of like-minded people who themselves can actively assist in further raising consciousness in support of work being done. We are grateful for all the good works we discover being done and thankful for all the help with EPF's mission Melanie (and I) have gotten along the way.
We are currently enjoying some time at the beach with good friends John and Aida, but we'll be traveling on Saturday north from here towards National Monument, Fort Monroe, and the 400th anniversary commemorations of the first enslaved Africans brought to the shores of North America.
Sunrise on Cape Hatteras