I am writing this post from a public library that rests along Main Street in one of Maine’s quintessential small towns. For what it’s worth, it could be a stand-in for Main Street, USA if producers truly cared about places removed from the population centers on the left and right coasts.
Driving “down” the coast from Woodward Cove, the morning’s radio waves were crammed with news of another shooting. Even sports talk wasn’t immune from the hosts adding their two cents worth of political grandstanding.
Where I live, if you want to know what the conservative talking points are for any given day, just head over to the AM side of the dial and WGAN will let you know the pulse of the angry, white (predominantly male) pitchfork-bearers in five minutes or less.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been repulsed by the ugliness of humanity. Mark would have had an antidote for me, but in case you’ve forgotten, Mark’s no longer with us.
I’m not sure what noble explanation there is for a right-wing media bunker spewing ugliness and hate on the scale that emanates from WGAN’s studios. But, they’ve been doing their thing for as long as I’ve been back in Maine. Back then there were “Rush Rooms” (actual restaurants, bars and other places where Rush fans gathered at lunch to listen to “The Great One”) scattered around Portland. While they no longer exist, sponsors continue lining up, hoping that angry conservatives will buy the wares that they pitch.
Shortly after the president delivered his press announcement (I was listening to NPR during this), I switched over to the AM side and predictably, Laura Ingraham came out of the break announcing that the shooter of Republican lawmaker, Steve Scalise, was a Bernie Sanders supporter. So much for not politicizing things. And by the way—hate is hate, no matter how you dress it up.
I’m about 25 miles down the coast. I’ll be visiting with an old friend, or I will be in another hour. Ever since Mark was killed, he’ll occasionally send me an email to let me know he is thinking of Mary and me. He’s always been like that, really, not just because tragedy has visited us.
We once worked together. He’s in my top 10 for smartest co-workers I’ve ever had.
The last time the two of us sat across the table from one another was probably 10 years ago.
Like me, he’s done a little bit of everything, including selling cars. He’s also been a journalist, one who I admired for his integrity and grit. And like me, he’s embraced reinvention. It’s what it takes to survive without totally selling your soul, I think. At least that’s been my experience.
Social media is surely filling up with people pledging allegiance to the police, America, and law and order. I won’t be one of these. That trio did little to protect our son, minding his own business, walking along the side of the road in Florida last January. And please, enough of your empty, fucking spirituality (prayers). I’ve had enough of it.
Tonight, a group of Mark’s friends (and friends of ours, too) are driving up from Boston to spend some time with us. Mary and I are really excited, and anticipating their visit will help get us through another difficult 9 to 5 stretch.