October 14, 2019
We are visiting in Fort Bragg, a beautiful Northern California town, when I decide to step into a sock store, to maybe buy some socks to keep my feet warm or maybe just as a gift for one of the children in my life.
But there’s this sign on the door, and it pisses me off.
The sign says:
ALL Countries of Origin
ALL Sexual Orientations
WE STAND WITH YOU, YOU ARE SAFE HERE
I don’t go into the store. In fact, I walk away in disgust, but it makes me think, why does that holier-than-thou sign make me so mad?
In fact, if I ran a store, I would have the very same policy. As long as people had money in their pockets, I would sell them stuff. And if anybody made trouble, I would evict the rascal from the premises.
I would also have the same policy toward bigots – which come in all races, religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, and genders. One of my rules would be, don’t make trouble in my store no matter what your personal beliefs may be.
You may look, you may buy, but if you start insulting my other customers – then you are not “safe” here anymore. You are gone.
My problem isn’t with the policy. My problem is with the virtue-signaling that proclaims to the world and all the potential customers that the owners of the store are on a slightly higher moral plain than the great unwashed rest of us, including the ones with a little cash in their pocket and a passing urge to maybe buy some socks.
A couple of days later, we find the same sign showing up at another businesses in the area. This one was a restaurant in Mendocino with a lovely view of the ocean and a $16 charge for bacon and eggs. We decided to walk down the street to the Mendocino Hotel, where we could buy breakfast without a political lecture.
It’s not about the politics involved. People can believe what they want.
I would have the same problem with a store owned by Christians, who wanted to deliver a little sermonette to their customers before they sell them something. I think they have a right to do it. But, I have a right not to do business with them.
The only difference is that one set of business owners considers themselves superior to others because they are “saved.” The others because they are “woked.”
The sock store folks and the owners of the restaurant are not on a higher moral plain than the rest of us. They are just business people, trying to eke out a living in an area with a dying economy
The lumber industry, which once was the backbone of the Fort Bragg economy, is virtually gone. The fishing industry, one of the other financial legs of the local economy, is flailing because of both foreign and regional competition and a die-back of the kelp beds that helped sustain the marine population.
Tourism is also down. One by one, numerous restaurants and shops have closed over the last few years. The choices of dining and shopping that once existed here have diminished greatly.
It is beautiful up here, but living in a lovely locale beside the sea is not enough to put food on the table or to buy back-to-school clothes for the kids.
Who knows, I might even have bought two or three pairs of socks and some bacon and eggs.
They should have thought of that before they insulted me.
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I don’t want to complain, but I’ve always marched to a different drummer. I recognized it, even when I was a kid. Except back then, I would make an effort to get in step. But it never worked.
Now, I don’t even try.
It’s a dangerous way to be nowadays, when society increasingly wants you to fit in, listen to what people in authority tell you, work together as a team, and reach a consensus with your peers.
Even when the consensus is bullshit, we’re all supposed to pretend that it isn’t.
Nowadays, more and more people are being sent to re-education camp to learn the proper way to think and the proper way to act. It’s like when your mother wants to give you a lecture, and you’d rather just get a spanking and get it over with.
Re-education camp in the United States goes by such names as traffic school, sensitivity training, and forced apologies that folks are pressured to make whether they’re actually sorry or not.
I used to go to traffic school when I got a ticket just to keep my insurance rates within reason. Traffic school is a thing thought up by a bunch of bureaucrats to convince people to drive defensively. Having been to traffic school several times over the years, I can attest that everybody is just going through the motions – both the teachers and the students.
After they started offering traffic school online, I hired by young niece – nowhere near old enough to drive herself – to attend in my name and take the test. Over the months, she got pretty good at it.
If I do say so myself, I think I was instrumental in making her the fine driver that she is today.
Then there was an editor – when I was a reporter at the Long Beach Press-Telegram – a rather stupid woman, whose name I cannot, and do not wish, to remember. She decided that the staff needed was sensitivity training. Her idea was to teach reporters not to be mean to black, Hispanic, or Asian people.
Since I was no meaner to black, Hispanic, or Asian people than I was to anybody else, I didn’t see the point.
The class was taught by a very nice black man, who showed us a film starring a little black boy, who came to a white neighborhood where people had big houses and spent their weekends at the country club. That certainly had not been my experience growing up white and poor, but that was the opening premise of the class – that white people spend their weekends at country clubs.
The instructor said, “if you don’t think you need this class, then you are free to leave.”
I left, much to the anger of the editor.
I have no idea where she is now, but I’m sure if she has not died of acute bitterness, she is somewhere, railing against how mean men are to women, white people are to black people, and Americans are to the rest of the world.
Then there was my pal, Roger, a very liberal and progressive kind of guy, with whom I got along despite our political differences. The problem was Roger thought if I didn’t agree with him to the letter on every issue, that I obviously had a whole other set of “right-wing” values, whether I expressed them or not.
In Roger’s mind, you were either this or that.
The end of my relationship with Roger came when he told me – using simple one-syllable words – that “what you need to understand George is that: Black folks are good people. They are nice and they are fun.”
I told him his statement was ridiculous.
Some black people are nice, fine folks and some were really jerks. The same as white people, brown people, Asians, and Indians.
That was the end of my relationship with Roger. It wasn’t that he felt differently about things than I did, but that he insisted upon giving me a little lecture as though I was an idiot. And a bigot.
Time marches on.
Now, people are being forced – upon threat of losing their jobs or their status in society – to apologize for what they said or a joke that they told, whether they are really sorry or not.
And some people, who declare they are not prejudiced, are being told they actually are, but they just don’t know it. Women vote against what is good and right because their husbands make them do it. Or so the story goes.
The people who say this have obviously never met my wife, Carmela. If I dared to tell Carmela who to vote for, she would tell me in the most loving way possible, to mind my own damn business.
I like that about Carmela.
DESPITE THE POLITICAL POSTURING OF SOME BUSINESS OWNERS IN FORT BRAGG, I HAVE TO SAY I FIND THE ATTITUDES OF SOME OTHER BUSINESS FOLKS IN TOWN BOTH REFRESHING AND FUNNY. THIS IS A SIGN POSTED OUTSIDE A CLOTHES SHOP, WELCOMING THE BEGINNING OF FALL AND THE END OF SUMMER. — Photo by Carmela Cunningham
October 12, 2019
If you’re a kid, who is being scared about climate change by teachers and other nutty adults, Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams has some good news for you. There are many real things we can do to stop climate change, so don’t worry. The world is not going to end. Read More HERE