Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll declares: GOD, I LOVE AMERICANS! She writes:

Preview: Next Friday I will discuss the origin of this Road Trip and my fabulous Third of July time at the Baden Ranch in Bozeman, Montana. But today I offer these observations:

The natural beauty of this great and good country can scarcely be overstated. A trip through the Southwest, West and Midwest which starts out from the desert and canyons of Arizona and includes Zion National Park, Shoshone Falls in Idaho, the mountains and rivers of Oregon, the Columbia River in Washington, the Badlands of North Dakota, virtually all of Montana, plus the lake country of Minnesota will knock the socks off anyone who is paying attention. But ultimately a country is more than just geography, no matter how beautiful. I’d like to tip my hat to the American people.

First of all, peace be upon the late, great Karen Carpenter, I am pleased to report that America has definitely solved its anorexia problem. After three weeks of eating sinfully good restaurant food and road food from convenience stores, I can report that I have also done my part in that national achievement. Oh my.

Okay. I’ll just stipulate that several of my fellow Americans and I are fat. As I write this, I am in the Rough Riders Hotel in Medora, North Dakota, having just visited Teddy Roosevelt’s really cool, rustic little cabin and the Ice Cream/Fudge Shoppe conveniently located within lumbering distance.

Max Cossack, prolific novelist and history fanatic, has informed me that Teddy Roosevelt stood only about 5’9” and, as a youth, barely tipped the scales at 123. He used to do all manner of physical exercise and power eating to try to get heavier. Alas, that happened in good time anyway, and by the end of his life, he was at or about 300 lbs., nearly two more Teddys’ worth of bulk. See? Some very good and great people are fat. And we haven’t even yet mentioned Winston Churchill, Kate Smith or Orson Welles.To borrow the gist of the gay liberation chant of “We’re here; we’re queer, get used to it,” let me state: “We’re fat; take that; get used to it.” But we Americans have many many other fine attributes.

Americans are a people on the move. It is high season in this charming tourist area and the streets are filled with happy, smiling people who have journeyed to North Dakota from many states. License plates just in our one hotel parking lot come from Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, California, Washington, Oregon, Montana and, surprise! Arizona, in addition to many from North Dakota itself. Judging by bumper stickers, crosses as jewelry, and vast numbers of small unaborted children, often four or five to a family, it was definitely a Basket of Deplorables.

We are a proud people and a grateful people. On a modest plaque a couple hundred feet from our hotel are the names of six toxic male men who volunteered in 2011 to design and build the old-fashioned redwood slats to make up a fine-looking boardwalk. Further on, there is a small monument to Medora’s war dead. If the Democrats ever get in again, the whole town will have to be burned and the earth salted to remove the stain of a Republican President who belonged to a band of fighters called The Rough Riders. I’m so triggered by that name, that I believe I may need another piece of Amaretto Fudge. Thank God every room in this excellent hotel comes complete with a Safe Space plush toy – in fact, a Teddy Bear tricked out in Teddy Roosevelt garb. TR was, in fact, the first “Teddy” bear!

My fellow Tourist-Americans are clearly proud of their country. T-shirts and hats bearing the reprehensible American flag abound, especially on this long 4th of July weekend. They are proud of their states of origin, their colleges, the branch of the military in which they served, and various achievements. I saw a faded t-shirt on a well-toned lad that said “Everest Base Camp – Nepal.” That is definitely more impressive than “Camped Outside Fudge Shop waiting for it to open.” Hypothetically.

Americans are a happy people. Sure, people on vacation are generally in a pretty good mood. But I think it goes much deeper than that. Free people are happy people. You really do have to have some kind of a screw loose to be part of the Permanently-Enraged America-Haters.

Americans are a friendly people. Before I visited Paris for the one and only time, a friend told me he had recently listened to an NPR tutorial on how Americans can get along better in France. He shared with me that the French think that Americans are way too smiley, and they do not trust that our smiles are sincere. I am a naturally smiley person. In Paris, I tried my darnedest to avoid smiling. Perhaps my waiters were a scosh less surly, hard to tell.

But here in Medora, people are friendly, saying “Good Morning” to total strangers on the street. They are pleased as punch to exchange pleasantries in line at the Ice Cream Shop, or waiting to get into a museum. We ask each other where we are from and how we happened to be here at this moment; we find out the best places to eat and what to avoid. Friendly.

Americans who have tried even half-heartedly to live by Susan’s Five Rules are modestly prosperous. (The Critical 5: Stay in school and pay attention; get a job and work hard; don’t be a criminal; don’t abuse drugs or alcohol; don’t have babies without being married. Do these things and you may not be “rich,” but you will not be poor.) Almost every tourist area in the world has jacked-up prices for food, lodging, and trinkets. Responsible people have planned for this, have saved up for their vacation, and are in jovial and expansive moods. Maybe there will be some credit card bills that will take a few months to pay off, but your average American can afford the occasional splurge to make a family memory. Especially in the robust Trump economy.

Those are a few of the things that my fellow Americans ARE. Here is what they are not: racist, sexist, homophobic, or hateful. And neither is our President. It was hard for me growing up to get my mind around the Stalinist/Fascist notion of The Big Lie: a calumny that, if repeated enough times in enough venues people would believe. But now I get it. If 9 out of 10 “news” organizations, Hollywood, has-been celebrities, Academia, the “arts,” and many cowardly but powerful corporations all tell us we are Deplorable Racist Haters, a certain percentage of people will believe it.

They don’t know Americans at all. That’s how they got Trump. And will again in 2020.

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