No Picture Yet So Here’s a Thousand Words
Canandaigua is one of the beautiful lake towns of New York’s Finger Lakes, one quite close to our own outpost in the nearby hills. Lake properties are expensive, some posh enough to demand real money. The summer season is short, of course, and the town is otherwise modest, mostly what passes for middle class these days. Just a few minutes in any direction and incomes, work, and quality of life diminishes, the demographic pointing to the endemic white rural poverty that blankets the 2,623 nationwide counties that voted Trump. (HRC won 489 in comparison, according to FactCheck.org)
New York’s 27th Congressional district, where Chris Collins, the very first congressman to declare for Trump represents our populace, can rightly be called “dead red,” meaning there are no odds on electing a Democrat. The 27th went 54-44 for McCain, 55-42 Romney, and now 59-35 Trump. The turn around from 2008 when Obama won 54-44 is noteworthy since Gore and Clinton took similar percentages as Obama. Reach beyond the affluent full-time residents and upper middle class whites and, of course, working people have turned hard and dead red. Those appear to be the facts, so here’s some anecdote.
If these are working people, they took their day off —it was a Thursday— to accouter their Trump Lemonade Redoubt. In a town that’s absolutely lily white? Governed wholly by Republicans staunchly Trumptrue? Homemade signs suggest populist ramparts —these were not like old style Lyndon LaRouche-ites, those annoying paid provocateurs selling their charlatan. So why take up the mantle and shield? What is gained from the make-shift presidio declaring itself the embattled, why build an erstwhile wall hen opposition here barely exists?
This is Trump’s citizen army, an infantry self-appointed to stand guard, the true sentries of the True Cause. That True Cause is the new (same old) “Lost Cause,” but I would not deign to assign more motive. These actions speak plainly for themselves. They envisage themselves the besieged, assailed by the liberal media and determined to expose and proclaim their feral loyalty. The local Walmart has guns for sale but no longer in the Back to School aisle.
Their fealty and ardor, their bond to certainties makes my own engagement with them an unlikely self-imposed civic responsibility. But I will, on my next drive-by, take the requisite camera photo because, after all, that’s what we do in this 21st century. I have no desire to engage or dispute with my neighbors here on a personal level. My intention is to register their acrimony and fury for those of us who have less contact with this kind of dead redness.
We the resistance need to understand their fervor and infatuation, their obedience and ambition, and most of all their intractable, utterly hermetic inviolability. Not nobody, not no how will any petition to fact or conscience infiltrate their redoubt of belief and loyalty. We are their opposition and their savior, their paladin does not need to ask them to put up a rampart of truth, these barricades are self-made. If you agree with them or even honk on the drive-by, I am sure they would invite you over for a lemonade.