We drove through downtown St. Louis, Missouri yesterday to check out the Gateway Arch. We didn’t feel welcome for the first time on this trip. Trash, urine, tents, and people who looked drugged out and not too bright were welcomed though. The local city government is doing a horrible job. I wonder which political party controls St. Louis?
For the last 20 days I’ve been doing a great deal of listening…and I mean a lot!
We elected to drive to a southwestern suburb location and stayed at the clean and beautiful Wildwood Hotel about 1/2 hour away. Many homes in this well maintained and manicured area proudly display American flags.
Tired and weary from fake and propagandized news, we’ve elected to stay away from it. On our 2020 roadtrip, we’ve learned far more by listening to ordinary folks than predictably biased political pundits.
America is even more beautiful than I imagined. Remember how many of us came together, waving our flags and bowing our heads, after the terrorism of September 11, 2001?
Being on the road has not only been an encouraging respite, but it’s turned out to be an eye opening reality check of the strength and character of our citizens.
Accustomed to flying to and from cities during my career days, there wasn’t much time for many road trips except in Texas.
I’ve given speeches and presentations in NY, LA, Chicago, Orlando, Vegas, Philadelphia, Nashville, San Diego, Dallas, Vegas, Monterey and Monterrey. But there was little time to explore.
Lucky for me, Dodie shares a love of roadtripping, so we took off as soon as we could. Last week we celebrated our 7 month anniversary in D.C. and West Virginia.
If there is one solid thing I can take from this trip, it’s that belief in traditional values of Americans is strong.
By Dodie’s count we’ve seen 77 Trump vs. 0 (ZERO) Biden flags and signs since we left Texas on June 19th. Even in D.C. we expected there would be some for Biden. But there were none.
Near the Lincoln Memorial, by the Arts of World Sculptures, entering the Arlington Memorial Bridge, I talked briefly with three university students while Dodie was finding a restroom.
One male was from Georgetown University and the two coeds attended Howard University nearby. It was Friday, July 3rd and the area was filled with joggers, skaters, bicyclists and walkers. I asked several questions: why traffic was so light? Do they have concerns about protests? What’s the mood of students right now? Why no Biden signs anywhere?
The succinct answers:
1. bureaucrats left for July 4th holiday.
2. protests are contained in their normal location north of the White House near La Salle Park. It’s not the big deal mainstream media make it out to be.
3. many students are as fed up with the pandemic, distorted news, and false reasons for protests as most Americans are.
The male, African-American, with courtesy, answered my last question with a question.
“Does it appear as if the Democratic National Committee does not wish to spend money on him?”
I almost fell over stunned and stumbled to reply.
“Well, I just don’t know,” is all I could reply, then explained we had only seen Trump signs and flags from Texas to here.
The front desk manager at the Hyatt Place in Chantilly, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C., said they don’t play anything but FOX News on their lobby TV because “we were getting too many complaints about CNN.”
At the Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel, we stood next to friendly, decent people–Black, Indian and Hispanic–to pay our respects to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the rain. We smiled and wiped our tears together. It was solemn, but we were with each other.
In a Shoney’s Restaurant in Sevierville, Tennessee, our server Ruth, went on a friendly tirade about how bad the media is.
“Watching them, you’d think everyone in the world hates President Trump,” she said. “But everyone I talk to here loves him. And I’m talking about people coming in from all over the United States. People are sick of this nonsense and it’s going to backfire on them. What they (media) say and what I see are far different.”
A couple in their 40s, sitting near us at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Chantilly, Virginia were practically repeating what Ruth said in Tennessee. The wife asked her husband if she knew anyone voting for Biden.
“No one who will admit it,” he laughed. Then, with all seriousness said, “The only way Democrats can win is by cheating and fraud. That’s why they’re pushing for mail in voting.”
Dining in Emzara’s Restaurant at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, a Georgia man, perhaps 35, proudly wore a “TRUMP 2020” T-shirt in the dining room. I had to ask.
“Oh I’m thinking I’m around God loving people here,” he grinned as we bumped fists.
Another man, about 50, walked up to say “Hi” and pointed to his very own MAGA (Make America Great Again) red ball cap.
“Looks like we’re on the same team,” he said and tipped his cap.
Over our plates of Dodie’s chicken and dumplings and my meatloaf at a Vicksburg, Mississippi Cracker Barrel, the topic of conversation of two couples sitting at tables across from us was similar.
“I don’t believe the news anymore.”
“Oh me too. We just turn them off.”
“Their dishonesty is so obvious, only an imbecile would still believe them.”
We’ve tried to analyze this phenomenon along the way. We travel rural and urban roads and highways.
We stay near universities, tourist attractions or remote locations (ever heard of Corinth, Kentucky?).
When feasible, we favor mom and pop restaurants over chains: North Star Cafe, Mellow Mushroom Pizza, Marlowe’s, Johnnie’s Drive In, and D’Cracked Egg for instance.
Our server, Brian (but nicknamed “Flash” according to the badge his regular local customers made for him) at a Bob Evans restaurant in Charleston, West Virginia, had plenty to say about politics. It was as if he had been conversing with server Ruth in Sevierville.
“Biden can’t even talk right, much less run a country,” he was riled. “Ever’ body ’round here is voting for Trump.”
In D’Cracked Egg in Tupelo we overheard a group of locals expressing the same sentiments as so many others.
Mt. Airy, North Carolina–AKA Mayberry–had the largest number of Trump and American flags of any city.
Yesterday morning, I walked in a small gas station-store combination and sat down for about 20 minutes listening to the breakfast and coffee regulars near Corinth, Kentucky. It was the same: Trump all the way.
Moments ago at a rest stop on IH-64 West in Illinois, I saw a young man, perhaps 25, wearing a MAGA cap. He was polite and opened the door to the Visitors Center for me.
“Thank you kind Sir,” I responded. “I like your cap.”
“Well thank you too,” he smiled. “I’m proud to wear it.”
What we’ve seen and heard is not what we’ve expected. Having a moratorium on mainstream news has opened our eyes. We can think better, have very little anxiety about politics, and have greater faith in America…even more so than ever in our lives.
With our own eyes, traveling through 10 states (and D.C.), we see, hear, and sense that the vast majority of Americans are good and decent people. Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are fed up and willing to protect their freedoms, traditions, history.