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2+2=5: Getting Pulverized By The New America

There is something happening here.

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ASTORIA, NYC- I am only now starting to look outside my window and wondering what lies just beyond my field of view here in New York City.

When I first moved here last July I didn’t really care too much about the city. My interest and most of my work was in Asia, my focus was on setting up a base of operations to travel out of on various projects and assignments. So I set myself up with a sick video editing suite, nice stainless steel tables that stretch all the way across one side of a room, some shelving for video gear, added a 6K Blackmagic cinema camera and a proper set of lights. Then it was business as usual: I began traveling, collecting stories, giving talks, and coming back to NYC to process it all and publish.

Then the pandemic hit and I found myself marooned. A few months rolled by where I had my head down making progress on On the New Silk Road and a documentary about a community fighting against a Chinese development project in Malaysia. But I’m now running up against the end of these projects, and I’ve looked up from my desk, peered outside, and realized that there is an entire country out there gone batshit.

**
I grew up in a relatively impoverished village in Western New York, around 400 miles from New York City, right in between Rochester and Buffalo. There are a couple of prisons there and that’s about it. My school was relatively diverse for a rural community — around 15% black, 10% Hispanic, roughly a cross section of the USA as a whole — but I remember everyone getting along and ethnicity was rarely an issue. It probably helped that most of us were from a similar income bracket — dirt poor to working class — and race wasn’t an indicator of class.

But, even in the 80s and 90s, our educators were extremely proactive about race issues, drilling it into us from the start the standard rhetoric of the day: that everyone was the same and that race was only skin deep, that we shouldn’t treat people different because of their ethnicity, that we shouldn’t even really acknowledge race at all. We absorbed these teachings as though they were indisputable fact and went on with our days without thinking about everybody’s skin color all the time. Black and white kids would sit together during lunch, play sports together, make music in bands — we’d all laugh when the Mexicans would insult the teachers (for some reason they were always insulting the teachers) and we still reminisce about the time in 8th grade when Gary Burnie beaned the vice principal in the face with a baked potato during a food fight. Where I came from, if you partied and liked to have fun nothing else really mattered.

It was an easy assumption to make at this time that race issues would continue dissolving in the coming generations; that we’d all just blend together, ethnic lines would blur to the point of irrelevance, and we’d find other factors to separate the Us from the Them.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

**
I feel as if I’ve been stuck in a weird sort of ideological amber for the past 20 years. My take on what America is has been frozen in time. I’ve mostly been abroad and have never really had much of a need to re-think the country I came from. But now that I’ve been stuck here longer than I’ve ever been since I started traveling at 18 I’ve had a chance to look around and I simply cannot believe what’s become of the place.

I truly do not understand what is going on: left is right, 2+2=5, what was considered racist when I was a kid has become the backbone of anti-racist theory now. The ideology of the country is being flipped upside down, and discourse, civil liberties, and rationalism is being trampled. We have entered a new intellectual dark age:

Apparently, if you say that all races are equal you are being racist.

If you say that you are color-blind towards race and treat all people the same regardless of skin color you are exhibiting racism.

All white people are racist.

A white person denying that they are racist is proof that they are racist.

Science is racist.

The suburbs are racist, too.

If you support the President of the United States or even the Republican Party, you are racist.

The United States has the third worst caste system in history, right behind Nazi Germany and India.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture says that signs of whiteness include, but are not limited to, rugged individualism, a nuclear family, objective and rational thinking, hard work, respect for authority, a desire to avoid conflict, and an appreciation of bland foods.

The city of Seattle held a segregated training for their white employees which instructed them how to undo their whiteness.

A woman in Indiana was murdered after an altercation where she said, “All lives matter.”

David Dorn, a black, retired police captain, was murdered for defending his friend’s pawn shop against a mob of looters in St. Louis.

A guy in Wisconsin was intentionally ran over for riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. His murder explained his actions by saying, “All racists ride Harleys.”

California is in the process of repealing Proposition 209, which says that you can’t discriminate against people on the basis of race in terms of employment. (No joke.)

John Muir is racist.

Many bird names are racist.

2+2=4 is a racist colonial construct. I’m not joking:

 

Using the word “master,” as in a “master bedroom” or the “Master’s golf tournamentor “masterbate” is racist.

Noam Chomsky, the great leftist crusader himself, is being attacked by the left.

An entire list of liberals are being canceled for signing the Harper’s open letter against cancel culture. (Case in point, right?).

A statue of Hans Christian Heg, an abolitionist who was killed while fighting for the Union in the Civil War, was torn down by leftist activists in Madison.

A statue of Frederick Douglas, perhaps the greatest abolitionist in US history, was torn down in my hometown of Rochester.

Statues of Abraham Lincoln and the founding fathers are being vandalized. Jesus too.

A statue of an elk was torched by anti-racist groups in Portland.

A professor at UCLA is under investigation for reading a Martin Luther King letter as it was written.

David Shor, a Democrat who worked on Obama’s reelection campaign, tweeted a reference to a paper written by Princeton’s Omar Wasow, a black data scientist who co-founder the social site BlackPlanet, which demonstrated how violent protests sway voters towards Republicans. The mob deemed it racist. They contacted his employer. He was fired.

This was the tweet:

 

Cities across the country — including my neighborhood in Astoria — have been attacked by BLM rioters indiscriminately destroying both multinational and locally owned stores, burning places down, and besieging government buildings. A portion of Seattle was occupied for nearly a month where multiple people were murdered, including a 16-year-old unarmed black kid. Riots have been ongoing in Portland for over 60 days. Elements of the Democratic party seem to not only be complicit with the riots but in some cases actually supporting them. Local police in both Seattle and Portly were ordered to stand down and the mayor of Portland himself actually participated in the riots.

**
What the fuck is going on?

What the left is doing is exactly what we accused white supremacists of trying to do when I was a kid: divide us along racial lines. Same action, different actors, same result.

What’s of particular interest here is that the United States of America is by far one of the least racist countries on the planet. Admittedly, this doesn’t say much. But if you want to see racism go to places like China, Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Eastern Europe … What’s happening in the USA — even at its worse — doesn’t even come close.

At the very least, the USA has such a strong concept of what constitutes racism, which puts it in a league far above much of the world where racism is so culturally, politically, and economically embedded that it often goes unrecognized. The fact that there was such a nationwide uproar over the George Floyd murder shows how fundamentally not racist this country is.

A viral video of a Uyghur serial felon being brutally killed by a cop in China probably wouldn’t get a similar response.

Or maybe I’ve just been away from the USA for too long? Maybe I’m the one that’s out of touch?

Maybe I should go find out?

Filed under: New York City, Racism, USA

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3611 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York

43 comments… add one

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  • Michael Robert Powell (MRP) July 30, 2020, 11:05 pm

    Hi Wade, like you growing up in a mellow, multicultural place (NZ, for me) during the 1970s + 80s and traveling constantly since 1988, this emerging Age of Extremes makes me want to weep…

    Whether it’s the anarchist or PC left or the conservative or brutal right of the West; likewise radicals within Islamic, Zionist, Hindu, Buddhist (present in Myanmar + Sri Lanka) communities, it’s all getting apeshit fast.

    And that’s all before we consider zenophobic nationalism, big-power geo politics, rich poor social divisions, impending climate disasters and yeah, our dear coronavirus friend that just won’t leave the party.

    My only question is: when will aliens enslave us /spare us – humanity, from ourselves?

    Anyway, in remote China living a van life 🚐 ensures life here reminds in a lovely bubble 🏞 … for now.

    🍻 I hope things brighten for you soon and that the road opens again.

    Regards – MRP

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    • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 1:11 pm

      Hello MRP, I had to go get myself a beer before responding to this comment haha.

      Right on, man, the only thing that changes are the names of the groups and the name of what they are apparently standing against. “Communist” “Capitalist Roader” “heretic” “infidel” “racist” they all ultimately mean the same thing: “Not one of us, let’s get him!”

      Honestly, man, I’m enjoying this clusterfuck. Shit is happening that we could never have imagined possible and it’s really a view into what the human animal is all about.

      It’s like when you read in history about the rise of communism or the Nazis and you’re like, how could the people have been so stupid? Now I can go right out and ask them.

      But sometimes I still have daydreams of what you’re doing out there in the mountains of China, where the rest of the world doesn’t really exist. Enjoy it, man, you’re missing a show but it’s only a show that the most masochistic among us can enjoy haha.

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  • Jeffrey July 31, 2020, 12:27 am

    Wade,

    I’m just as confused as you. I don’t follow daily news, but here and there I had been hearing about the protests in Portland, so I went to YouTube and located a raw-feed video. Someone just set up a camera on a mono-pod and let it roll. It’s two hours long, but it will give you a much better view on what it really feels like on the ground there.

    Campfire Kids.

    Yes, I know these protesters are in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, but to me they seemed stuck at about fifteen or sixteen. Screw mom and dad kind of vibe. Most of them arrived at the protests with homemade shields, looking as though they were extras in a high school play set in Roman times.

    And at one point they chanted, “Our street! Our street!” You just gotta laugh.

    Olly olly oxen free!

    In the video, most of the protesters don’t really know what to do. One of them sets a few pieces of cardboard on fire in the middle of the street (starts at around the 1:34 mark). A couple others add some wood. Eventually you get a ring of protesters just sitting on the ground around the fire as though it were a campfire in at summer camp.

    Meanwhile, one guy showed up at the protest with a leafblower. A leafblower as a weapon? How exactly does that work? Check out the very end of the video (at the 1:55 mark). Sadly, the videographer stopped recording just when a bit of tension had surfaced among them.

    And I haven’t even mentioned that none of this has anything to do with issues of police misconduct. This is simply summer-stock protest theater. It’s really bizarre.

    I’m still going through your long list. Something really is haywire.

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    • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 1:20 pm

      Man, I agree with you completely. In the USA we don’t provide our young people with real responsibility and they feel compelled to fill in the missing holes with something. The feeling of being part of a group that has an important mission means a lot to people who are essentially leading meaningless lives.

      If don’t mean this as an insult or to be mean. But the typical 20 year old American has no role in society. No wonder they go to the Ganges looking for the meaning of life. Or throw bricks through the window of a locally owned business because their BLM sign wasn’t big enough or beat up someone because their political views are different.

      The young are susceptible to this shit as radical objectives can easily be a temporary stand in for family, community, and career. They are fodder for the higher up players, who know exactly what they’re doing.

      I agree, it really is summer-stock protest theater. The dude who threw the IED in Portland was actually wearing a fake bulletproof vest for people doing role play. They are playing revolutionary and it feels really, really good.

      I know because I used to be there. I was a part of the initial iterations of Black Bloc, etc. I used to do shit like that.

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      • Jeffrey August 4, 2020, 9:20 am

        I think you’re hitting on something very basic to the American character. Our discomfort with authority is a deep pool that can be tapped by those who know the magic words.

        Hey, the Boston Tea Party was, in its own way, protest theater. But what followed, the War of Independence, was real.

        I’m too far away to know what’s really happening. As I said elsewhere, back in Iowa I assume no one has the time or inclination for protest theater. However, I imagine a few young, footloose Iowans now in Portland probably joined the protests. I mean, if the bars aren’t open and there’s no job to go to in the morning, everyone just meets at the protest, right?

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        • Vagabond Journey August 4, 2020, 11:07 pm

          “I mean, if the bars aren’t open and there’s no job to go to in the morning, everyone just meets at the protest, right?”

          Haha, definitely. It’s the only thing you’re allowed to do in some states…

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  • Trevor July 31, 2020, 2:03 am

    I dt normally comment on topics like this but:
    “that we shouldn’t even really acknowledge race at all”
    The ones that wanna be treated the same are constantly drawing attention to themselves for being black:

    Like this: HERE ARE 25 BLACK FEMALE INFLUENCERS THAT YOU NEED TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM
    And:
    Blogging With Confidence: Black Bloggers Who Inspire Us!

    And completely off topic, a comment on a Twitter photo in kosovo: “Do you feel unsafe in Kosovo because of Serbia?” I wonder which news channel they are watching? Only bad thing about Kosovo are that the summers r too hot no one uses AC a bit like Bishkek

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    • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 1:24 pm

      It’s like the lockdown made everyone lose their minds. Rightfully so, I suppose.

      It’s crazy, we are being divided apart more than ever at the point in time when we are the most similar. It’s very strange. It’s almost like we have this ingrained socio-biological urge to define ourselves via who we are not.

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  • Jack July 31, 2020, 10:37 am

    I have a similar but different background from you. I grew up young in hippie Oregon but by the mid 1980’s, my parents had taken an increasingly racist bent. By the mid 1990’s and after I was out of the family, they had become hardcore racists. They were active in groups that the ADL and Southern Poverty Law Center had on their watch list.

    As someone who grew up in hippie Oregon, a lot of what they believed didn’t make sense to me. I know all the teachings and beliefs, but they don’t make sense. I was pretty much color blind and I didn’t care what someone’s race was. I could go on in-depth about what they got involved in but I really don’t want to in a comment.

    I believe I started to travel in the mid to late 1990s because I didn’t have a home anywhere. I wanted to escape the racism and the craziness. I never had a home to go back to and certainly wouldn’t want to go back to it. My wife is a “mud person” and my kids are “half breed” so I am going to hell for my sins. (Wade, there is probably a place in hell reserved for both of us. lol)

    In my travels, I can see racism or other kinds of BS wherever I go, but as a white American, it never really affected me except in China where someone Han thought I was a Uyghur and my wife was Han so needed to be assaulted for taking a Han woman. Like you, I thought that the racists were a small bunch back in the US and that we were moving along from it but when I moved back to the US in 2013, I realized that it couldn’t be further from the truth.

    I saw racism against my wife and kids. It was little stuff here and there. White people who naturally think they are superior to a brown person. Stuff like that. It was in 2015 though that my whole world got shook up. When Trump came on the stage and all of a sudden people thought it was ok to be racist. Oh but they don’t say they are, but rather they use the words and phrases that I heard back in the 1980s and 1990s. We aren’t racist, we just want to protect our heritage, etc. etc.

    For me, I see the connection to the racist rhetoric. I wonder if others are seeing it? But what if the other side is purposely pushing it so far to the other side that they are pushing people into a corner where they feel threatened?

    I want nothing to do with it and almost didn’t write this comment.

    The whole issue is all complicated, but I have my years and years of travel and observation behind me. I’m forced into this system now and I realize a couple of things:

    1. Every single person is a racist. You are a racist, every commenter here is a racist, every woke protester is a racist, Obama is a racist, Trump is a racist, I’m a racist. I think it is human nature to be racist. (Maybe the woke protesters are protesting because they subconsciously feel their own racism?) I think we have it engrained in ourselves to look for comfort in a group that we identify with.

    2. I can’t personally come to grips with it until I admit personally that I am racist. If I recognize that I am and that I don’t want to be, only then can I ensure that my ACTIONS do not hurt another person.

    I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. Too many people want to ban things that they don’t like. They can’t realize that they can not like something and let others be. I don’t like alcohol and I don’t think people should drink it, but guess what? I’m opposed to prohibition. Let people drink it if they want to. It’s their right to.

    I sum it all up:
    1. Respect the Rights of Others.
    2. Treat others the way that you want to be treated.

    “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”

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    • MRP July 31, 2020, 9:49 pm

      Jack, while I agree with most of this I can’t accept the idea that “Every single person is a racist. You are a racist, every commenter here is a racist …” . Can I assume you mean that everyone can be accused of being a racist by others in this current extreme climate extremes (correctly or falsely)?

      Certainly, many in the world are racist (For example, first-hand I have seen many times across Africa issues of prejudice against darker-toned individuals or other ethnic and religious groups.) But many folks across the world are truly color-blind and get on well with all other good-natured people.

      And while I understand that this post is mostly about racism, especially in the USA, I believe it hints at the bigger picture of growing prejudice and extremist views across the global that’s being exacerbated by Covid-19 blues, web misinformation and a host of other impending global pressures (see my comment above).

      As Wade said, maybe we have “entered a new intellectual dark age” as these gloomy cycles within humanity ride the waves between our more enlightened moments in history.

      Regards – MRP

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      • Jack August 1, 2020, 12:16 am

        No, I actually mean that everyone is a racist. Yes, in this climate it seems like there are extreme views of what racism actually is…but I’m not really talking even about that. I think it’s pretty well established that we have fully conflated the terms prejudice and racism.

        We are all racists. I think there is something to be learned about ourselves in that. We take our own preconceived notions and ideas wherever we go. We tend to prefer our own kind. That’s what I am talking about.

        And getting along with other people, regardless of their race, doesn’t mean that you aren’t racist. Every KKK member will tell you that they have a black friend so they can’t be racist. 😉

        Everyone is trying to say that they aren’t racist….I think it is enough of human nature that we need to own it. And once we own it, we can choose look at the individual instead of using our prejudices against them or even for them.

        I’ve met a lot of racists in my life. Big name racists that have been in the news, but they are just as racist as the liberals who lived in their gated subdivisions who think they know what is best for the poor and people of color.

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        • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 1:40 pm

          Your last paragraph is priceless.

          While I disagree with your use of the word racist I do understand your point. Accepting our chauvanisms is part of being honest with ourselves and others and, ultimately, of undoing these chauvanisms.

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      • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 1:37 pm

        Yes, it is interesting how humanity moves in these cycles. It’s like we join together just to separate apart. It’s like we pursue knowledge just to destroy it.

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    • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 1:33 pm

      Jack, man, you have this thing about you that leads to you being closely associated with some really wild groups. No matter where you go you seem to find yourself surrounded by people with extreme ideological viewpoints. It’s like your the center of this weird world that keeps spinning around you.

      1. I think we’ve vertigo on what it means to be racist. If everyone is a racist then does that word really contain any meaning anymore? It seems to be so watered down that people in groups like your parents were in can hardly even be contained in the same definition.

      2. I think going to ideological war against yourself isn’t going to better anything. I think it’s only when we let go can we have any real progress.

      Your summary: right on.

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      • Jack August 10, 2020, 4:32 pm

        Ha! Yeah I know, it’s kind of weird. I don’t often talk about things that have happened to me because I know it’s been a wild and weird ride. I don’t want to be viewed like that guy in the bar who will tell you all his CIA stories and you know he’s making it all up so I keep quiet generally. lol

        All I know is that I’m the guy the telemarketers hang up on and the bill collectors tell to never call them again.

        Your bullet points…all I can answer is:
        1. 🙂
        2. 🙂

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        • VBJ August 11, 2020, 9:15 pm

          “All I know is that I’m the guy the telemarketers hang up on and the bill collectors tell to never call them again. ”

          Haha, yes, that is a good way to describe yourself! You’re a square peg and proud of it 🙂

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  • Graefyl August 1, 2020, 4:31 am

    What if all this is not about race at all?

    What if it is about division. An old statement may well be true here: Divide and Conquer!

    This has all happened before. One of the names was Prairie Fire and the purpose was to divide the West so the Soviets could conquer.

    Look at history and learn, don’t attempt to rewrite it.

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    • Jack August 2, 2020, 1:32 pm

      “These days there are a lot of people who want to divide us. Well, I’m no math genius like all those smarty dudes up in DC but I know division is the exact same thing as subtraction, am I right? (Yes!) And the Knights are not about subtraction, we are all about addition. (Addition! Addition! Addition!) In fact, an American probably invented addition!”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9EZuV_LMeI

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      • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 3:47 pm

        Sweet!

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    • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 1:41 pm

      I agree.

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  • Vagabond Journey August 1, 2020, 4:16 pm

    Oh yeah, according to the NY Times, front lawns are racist too. Had to add that here.

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    • Jeffrey August 2, 2020, 10:30 am

      Wade,

      I’ve been out of the US for seven years now, so re-connecting a bit from here in China the past few months has been really bizarre. I didn’t know what a social justice warrior was and I didn’t know anything about virtue signalling. I surely didn’t know about racist lawns.

      Anyway, it’s been a slow process of trying to figure out what’s going on back home. Well, I think I found a clip of the Social Justice Warrior.

      Social Justice Warrior

      Years ago, Tim Tebow, a Christian NFL player, kneeled before games to pray. The other day, Jonathan Isaac, a Christian NBA player, refused to kneel and wear the required Black Lives Matter T-shirt. He remained standing, while everyone else kneeled, bowed his head, and prayed silently to himself. Both of them are profiles in courage, willing to follow their convictions and not bend to the mobs around them.

      Now if the NBA players had FREE HONGKONG on the backs on their jerseys, that would have been truly surprising. But China has hit the mute button on those “woke” NBA players. What a joke.

      “With my mind on my money, and my money on my mind,” saith Sir Snoop Dogg.

      Indeed, good Sir.

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      • Jack August 2, 2020, 1:35 pm

        Oh my gosh, you are going to have a rude awakening when you come back. I posted a Youtube link just above this. It’s turned all bizarro and that song could have been on the soundtrack to Idiocracy but now it’s just a song.

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        • Jeffrey August 2, 2020, 10:00 pm

          Jack,

          I’m not sure when I’ll get back to the US. It might be a few more years. I’m not sure if it will make any difference when I return.

          One caveat, however. Because I grew up in a small town in Iowa, a farming community where corn, soybeans, and hogs are central to life, I know that what I’m seeing from a few snippets here and there from the mainstream media is rarely connected to reality on the ground in the US.

          Can you imagine one of those protesters in Portland having to spend a summer on a farm in Iowa? Up at five o’clock in the morning and still sweating in the fields as the sun sets. During harvest time, my mom would pull a small wagon of food out to the fields where my grandpa and the field hands were working — five times a day during the hottest days. That’s how quickly they were burning calories.

          Seattle and Portland mean nothing to people where I grew up.

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          • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 3:49 pm

            Well put. The mob doesn’t represent US.

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          • Jack August 3, 2020, 10:37 pm

            This pandemic shut me down in a small town in Iowa where I can smell the hogs right now and the fields are either corn or soybeans. 🙂

            I really can’t say how the reality on the ground differs from what the mainstream media is saying. Yeah it probably isn’t very accurate based on what I am seeing, but you are still going to be shocked with the changes even in small town Iowa.

            On thing that won’t change? The smell of the hogs when the wind blows just right lol

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            • Jeffrey August 3, 2020, 11:35 pm

              Jack,

              You’re in Iowa right now?

              I grew up in Dyersville, in northeast Iowa, where they filmed Field of Dreams. One of my aunts was a one-room schoolhouse teacher. That schoolhouse, which was still standing when I lived there, was not far from that farmhouse in the movie. On heavy snow days, my aunt would spend the night there.

              Yes, downwind from hogs is a real assault — olfactory brutality, you might say.

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              • Vagabond Journey August 4, 2020, 8:47 am

                Doesn’t sound bad to me … (except for the hogs).

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              • Jack August 10, 2020, 4:36 pm

                I’m not going to dox my location publicly, but I’m about an hour and half north-northwest of Dyersville in a very small town with a large community college.

                It’s ok up here, but not really where I wanted to be stuck. 🙂

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                • Jeffrey August 10, 2020, 9:23 pm

                  Jack,

                  Hey, very close indeed.

                  But try to get out of there before winter arrives. Winters in that region are arctic cold and really long. Autumn is beautiful, with stunningly brisk days (which, sadly, you just can’t hold on to forever). Spring lasts a day or two and then summer arrives, hot and humid, perfect for growing corn and the wafting porcine fragrances of which you have already spoken.

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                  • Jack August 11, 2020, 9:50 pm

                    Hahaha I was here last winter. I arrived here in September. I got the two days of fall(I was shocked at the length of fall last year, it was shorter than a North Dakota fall) and the one day of Spring. 🙂 But it was 55 on Christmas Day(weird!) and we didn’t hit that temperatures again until sometime in April. Summer has been weird this year. It’s not as hot and humid as I thought it would be. Last year was much worse. I spent the summer near Sioux City and that was pure hell for 2 1/2 months.

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                • VBJ August 11, 2020, 9:16 pm

                  How in the world did you end up there? That’s what I want to know.

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                  • Jack August 11, 2020, 9:58 pm

                    It’s what happens when you are in bed sleeping and your wife decides she needs a job and applies for several jobs that fit her description of a dream job. Then she gets a dream job in BFE and you decide that you’ll support her because you are pretty certain that she will not like it and quit in a few months. 🙂 That’s half serious, but more seriously, I decided to let her get a job she enjoys and after a few months of getting settled, I could start traveling to a few places in the Spring…….and then the pandemic hit.

                    It’s put everything through the wringer. But in reality there are worse places to be stuck than here.

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                    • VBJ August 12, 2020, 7:01 am

                      Yes, I know that strategy well!

                      Link
            • Vagabond Journey August 4, 2020, 8:45 am

              What’s your plan for when this is over?

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            • Vagabond Journey August 7, 2020, 8:12 am

              I wish I was there! (minus the hog smell) Or maybe we should just all go to Mexico. The USA is getting too crazy.

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              • Jack August 11, 2020, 10:08 pm

                It is getting too crazy. It’s not all bad here. There are some real beautiful places here….I take one particular backroad every day and I swear that I have stopped multiple times just to stop and take pictures. There is one spot where it feels like you are on top of the world….and you know how much I have traveled. It ranks up there as one of the most beautiful. I see bald eagles every day and I’ve even witnessed two bald eagles fighting in the air. Wow that was amazing.

                A cool about Iowa is that he state parks are all free. That’s one of the things I really like about Iowa. I can complain about the taxes we pay here(income and sales tax), but I actually see the money being used. There is a decent social service safety net, the roads are good, state and county parks are free to visit(and cheap to camp at), there are nice libraries, and the schools are good. It’s also relatively safe.

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                • VBJ August 12, 2020, 7:10 am

                  Doesn’t sound like a bad place to base yourself. Yes, all that stuff means a lot on the day to day level. I still appreciate NYC, even though I’ve been complaining about it lately (more of that to come). I probably live in the most convenient neighborhood on planet earth — anything I could need is like a few block walk away. The beach is like a 30 minute drive. Midtown Manhattan is a 20 minute subway ride. I’m a couple blocks from the highway out of town. LGA is 10 minutes away. JFK is 20. My neighborhood is 90% unique local businesses. People hang out in the streets here. Not a bad base of operations. But where you are seems like a better place to sit out the pandemic. NYC was horrific. But it taught me a lot about how people react under authoritarian regimes. Most were very much like the Chinese are under the PRC. We’re no better. That really told me something about Americans.

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      • Vagabond Journey August 3, 2020, 3:43 pm

        It’s another world over here now. It’s kind of interesting in its novelty. It’s really out of control. Something to look forward to when you get back haha!

        Yes, the absolute hypocrisy of organizations like the NBA is appalling. So they support minorities in a democratic society against police brutality but refuses to allow anyone under their control speak up about a country that has 1.8 million ethnic minorities in forced detention camps who is rapidly eroding the rights of peopke in HK. It’s disgusting. You can’t just be woke when you think it will make you money.

        Anyway, who wants politics in their sports anyway?

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        • Jeffrey August 3, 2020, 11:49 pm

          Yeah,exactly. People enjoy sports because it’s generally been one place where you can get away from politics.

          Now it’s all righteous virtue signalling on the courts and fields. Wear the T-shirt, join the Cause (whatever it is).

          Son of a bitch. Kaepernick needs a kick in the ass. Damn fool.

          Sure, all of this PC delirium would have happened without Kaepernick, but he took the first big bong hit on the ego-boosting bud. Then the line formed behind him. Gimme some of that.

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  • Maggie Lyn August 11, 2020, 8:51 pm

    Obsolete political & social commentary of an old white man. Your questions at the end tell everything.
    “Or maybe I’ve just been away from the USA for too long? Maybe I’m the one that’s out of touch?

    Maybe I should go find out?”

    Bingo.

    Dude your ignorance & anecdotal little background story are embarrassing.
    I’ve been active in BLM since 2014 when Mike Brown’s murderer failed to be indicted for his heinous crime. I’m an uneducated, below the poverty line white woman in rural texas (an explicitly white-nationalist project founded in 1836 – i have indigenous branches of my family tree who were straight up exterminated by white supremacist goon squad Tx Rangers) here to tell you America is racist as fuck. Do you know what mass-incarceration is? The 13th Amendment & legalized slavery? The crime bill? Red-lining? The racial wealth gap? The institution of policing evolved from slave patrols?

    Fuck the libs. Fuck the woke. Fuck the ignorant & the bigots in elected office. Facts are facts. Learn some about how fucking racist this society is by design & systemic enforcement.

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    • VBJ August 11, 2020, 9:22 pm

      “Obsolete political & social commentary of an old white man.”

      I’m 39. I’m not old. I’m half Native American, so maybe your assumption about my race is a touch ignorant.

      “Dude your ignorance & anecdotal little background story are embarrassing.”

      Thanks for being embarrassed for me but it’s really not necessary.

      Like I said, go out and travel and then come back to the USA and tell me how racist it is.

      “Fuck the libs. Fuck the woke. Fuck the ignorant & the bigots in elected office.”

      I can get onboard with that.

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