Saturday, October 14, 2017

South of the Mason-Dixon Line

We're currently lodged at Sonesta Suites in Charlotte, North Carolina which I believe I am safe in saying is below the Mason-Dixon Line. The vernacular here is singular, everything from the drawl of speech to the unprecedented expressions of personal interest, kindness and the unique disposition to humour. It was however earlier in the day when we breakfasted at a Cracker Barrel Country Store in Pennsylvania that the Confederate transition first became apparent. The flavour of the South is unmistakable, as distinctive as the taste of Hickory smoked Red Deer.  And as lingering.

The Confederate South is a reminder that the aggravating grit between the South and the Northern Yankees (the former Union soldiers) has not been eliminated. Whether it is true or not, the unfortunate perception by many Northerns of their Southern compatriots is that the South is hanging onto the past, that they are more than reluctant to accommodate the change which is undeniably overtaking them and that they are as a result seething mad.  This reactionary posture is sustained in many instances by the reigning politicians (who reputedly practice voter suppression allegedly aimed primarily at African Americans, promote legislation which is shamelessly directed against people of other than mainstream sexuality and who overtly support White Supremacy at the expense of any other race) and by the predominant Christian advocates discredited as the Bible Thumpers (who brazenly promote anything having putative Biblical authority as definitive and exclusive).

It is no misconception that under President Donald Trump the so-called Alt-Right has been emboldened.  Even the Republican Old Boys are routinely taking it in the neck. The theory of these ultra-conservatives is that they will "Make America Great Again " which has become synonymous in the minds of thinking people as a return to the values and conduct of the 1950s when society was undisturbed by anything which challenged the then traditional views of men, women and family, plus of course the accepted notion of white, European-heritage entitlement.

What's spooky about this social reversion is that it flies in the face of what has evolved through decades as fair, realistic and encouraging. The enclaves of the Alt-Right have no reasoned theses to support them; instead their mantra is merely to reclaim the past (not exactly a probative purpose).

In spite of these slurs, people like us willingly trek here year after year and positively look forward to doing so.    This afternoon (after yesterday's introduction in Charlotte) we landed on Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  I am presently sitting  on the balcony of the hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The temperature is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun is blazing hot!  Earlier I went for what has to have been one of the most delightful swims in the Ocean.  I was battered by the ceaseless succession of foaming, powerful waves. What exuberance! We have contemporaneously doffed socks and sweaters.  Soon we'll prepare for a casual dinner on the deck overlooking the sea. The hardships of deprivation and political reality have become commingled with the overwhelming allure of Southern appeal!

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