N.B. This is my first post in three days. Sorry about that. This wasn’t a stumble as much as it was an interruption due to illness – I get terrible headaches, but we can talk about that later. In the meantime, on with the show.
I gotta warn you, I am going to be using very, very coarse language. Not to gratify it, but it illustrate how shocking it all was.
I guess I shook my head in disgust one too many times.
The TV was tuned to CNN and the latest news of children separated from their parents in the US due to the immigration laws, how Trump blamed the Democrats and how the Chief Justice used the Bible to justify the actions of the state. I keep my headphone volume at maximum when I exercise and only read the screen while I rested between sets.
As I exercised, I remembered a conversation I had a few years ago when I took a TS 16949 training course in The States.
We had been on our lunch break in the little cafeteria, watching news on the big screen. The trainers had provided a nice box lunch. Somehow the topic came around to ‘the right to bear arms’ so I asked why guns were so important.
“Because,” one guy had piped up. Big guy. Ex military. Still carried his bulk with him but he was less active, so it seemed to weight heavy. “The government shouldn’t have weapons that I am not allowed to have. I protect the constitution and the people first and if I have to fight against the government, it should be my right that it’s a fair fight.”
When my workout ended, I took off my headphones, checked my pulse on my watch, and did a mindfullness check to confirm how I felt – burned out and wonderful. The long rest helped me hit the weights hard.
“You got a problem with Trump?” A guy asked. He looked older. I guessed in his late fifties or or early sixties. He must have seen me shaking my head at the TV.
“Um, well,” I said. I felt like the Terminator from the first movie. Three possible responses to choose from, in red, courier font, float in front of me:
“Yeah, I got problem with Trump. What are you going to do about it?”
“No, I think Donald Trump is wonderful. What colour is the sky in your world, sir?”
As a devout Canadian, I started with, “Sorry, but….”
I explained how I have problems with anyone who’s policies are designed to deliberately inflict harm. “If you open fire using Twitter and trade wars, that’s one thing. But to put kids in by separating them from their mothers is another. I wonder what makes him think that his ends justify his means.”
“I’m a fan of Trump,” he boasted, pointing a thumb at his chest. “He’s not a stupid man.”
“I never called him stupid,” I countered. “I only questioned his decisions.”
“Listen, he wasn’t handed his money. He made it in real estate, and you know he’s got brains because he outsmarted all of them [people] in New York.”
He used a racial epithet that I’m not inclined to repeat. I will curse until I’m blue in the face, but I won’t use hateful language to describe a culture. I walked away. He followed.
“Look at all the money that Crooked Hillary took when she did all of her speaking engagements. Hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump took nothing compared to that.”
I tried to ignore him and fill up my water bottle.
“So, if it’s wasn’t for the United States, you know where we’d be right now?” He asked me, ignorant of my ignoring him. “The world owes them alot of money.”
I continued to fill up my water bottle, thinking about that former marine from years ago.
“And don’t get me started on that faggot, Trudeau,” the old guy went on. He may have had a point there, about how someone who crosses over the border into Canada is compensated better than someone who has put their life on the line for our country. But he didn’t have to use slurs to get his point across.
The gym is a public place and I didn’t feel the need to have this aired among everyone if he didn’t appear to be open to discussion. At least the marine took the time to explain things to a Canadian who didn’t know a lick about home firepower.
“I don’t disagree, I just don’t know enough to simply take your word for it.”
He continued using hateful language to describe people from other countries. I grabbed my gym bag, signalling I was getting ready to shower and change. “You’re right, if it’s true, it is terrible.”
“You’re calling me a liar?”
“I’m saying I don’t know enough to be able to see the truth.”
His turn now to shake his head in disgust. “Spoken like a true politician.”
I showered and changed and got ready to leave the gym. I saw him on the way out and wanted to wish him a good day and hope we could talk about it when I learned more. He walked away like I wasn’t even there. It’s been a few days, he doesn’t even look me in the eye anymore.
I still shake my head whenever I don’t like something on CNN, though. And I keep my headphones at full volume the whole time – right up until I lock the changeroom door behind me.