So much irony! They came in matching shirts and hats. They brought special effects to liven up their display. They came from far around to gather and display their pride–they brought trucks, to pull floats perhaps? There was a U-Haul, which is ironic given that old LGBTQ U-Haul joke… They even wore bandanas! I’ll bet they played music on the road… what kind of music do you play, when you’re a white supremacist traveling to Idaho from Texas? Is there Neo Nazi death metal country western?
There was a second group, too, that chose this Pride month, this month that marks a history to commemorate a riot. The original spark for June to be Pride month was the Stonewall riot in June of 1969, when a group of spunky drag queens (that’s probably redundant) stood up to the cops and decided not to put up with the abuse any more. How ironic that this new group of Proud Boys chose to be disruptive! Although instead of standing up to oppression this time they decided to be oppressive–to harass a bunch of little kids at a library story hour.
Land of the Free and the Home of the Chickensh*t
You’ve probably read by now about the U-Haul full of good ol’ boys that drove up to Idaho. This group, which called itself the Patriot Front, wore matching outfits and had apparently come from eleven different states. Their aim was to disrupt a Pride in the Park event in the booming metropolis of Coeur d’Alene.
Have you ever been to Coeur d’Alene? It’s a town of 50,000 people, which is to say slightly larger than my little northern California village, Castro Valley. Three freeway stops and a Petco. Coeur d’Alene does happen to be the only population center across a large rural area. So it’s probably the “big city” to the locals.
My mother was a Force of Nature, whose personality was so strong that I still feel myself peeking out from her shadow. Even though she’s been gone for 25 years, I’m still not happy about it. Then I feel guilty.
Because that’s how mothers are. No matter how nurturing, no matter how much they represent your Past and your Home, mothers always make you feel guilty. And there is always something that your mother did well that you still can’t do.
My mother was a larger-than-life character. When she was in her sixties, she had her picture taken posing as Eleanor Roosevelt in a famous photo. Of course, she then gave us large framed copies as a Christmas present. I thought it was really pretentious, but then she actually did meet Eleanor Roosevelt, as a college student on the committee to support the United Nations in 1950.
She wrote her Master’s thesis on the propaganda in the speeches of Joseph McCarthy. This was in 1955, when McCarthy was still in power. I wonder what the university thought of that. She could have been black-balled from future jobs. Did they tell her to tone it down? Just don’t publish it anywhere? She was a rabble-rouser, in an every day way.
“Why is my phone telling me the weather in Seattle? I didn’t ask for that!”
My long-suffering spouse looks at me, sighing, and says, “That’s Google Assistant.”
“I didn’t turn on Google Assistant. I didn’t give it permission. Why is it doing this?”
She shouts towards my phone, “Hey Google….” Nothing happens. “It must not recognize me.”
“Why would it recognize you? It’s not on.” Ignoring my own retort, I bark at my phone. “Hey, you Google…”
Nothing, of course, happens, other than a cheery notification that tells me what the baseball scores are from games that happened seven hours ago. The baseball games which I had already watched and could already tell you who scored what when with runners on base over which pitch count.
Off the Grid Is Impossible
I do not Hey Google. I respect you if you do, but I don’t believe in talking to objects. I don’t believe we should have robots listening throughout the house to our every activity. I don’t have seeing eyes peering out the front door to spy on mischievous-looking passers-by nor do I have glowing orbs in my bedroom, blinking to notify me that there might be a lost dog three miles away.