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  1. Lou: LOL! Goodness, you’re right — well, heck! I guess I missed my chance to thoroughly check someone out! :)

    Re the cross, etc.: I don’t want to remove people’s comfort, but I do wish these christians would be a little more sensitive to other folks around them. I actually wouldn’t mind that symbolism at all, were it not that no other religious symbolism is allowed. Heck, I’d be happy if it was just that the christian symbolism wasn’t now so deeply and thoroughly intertwined with racism and bigotry — because that is emphatically not what Jesus taught.

  2. Also, re, Winslow, AZ: You forget that you ARE a “girl, my Lord!” and you were driving a Ford. Who’d you slow down to check out? =)

  3. I find it ironic that you are put off by the giant cross and radio reminding you that Jesus is the answer, when so many of the people there are comforted by those same things.

    I agree with you on the topic, and find a lot of people who need that level of reminder and reinforcement to be kind of sad. The idea that no one around them can be different and that everything must match their narrow goals or must be destroyed is a real downer.

  4. Oh, that should have been ‘not often enough for anyone in law enforcement or even most of the country to really see it as a trend.’ Sorry!

  5. That’s what most people I’ve talked with are concerned about. This very topic came up on Fred Clark’s blog “Slacktivist” not too long ago, actually. He took people such as the anti-abortion crowd to task: If they truly believe that abortion is murder then they need to act appropriately. They don’t; therefore the protest for a different reason. There were some commenters whose reply was basically, “Don’t encourage them!”

    But in the end, this sort of thing will continue happening: The protesters will picket and shout and pray and make a nuisance of themselves while being told by their leadership — who are comfortably several states away, usually — that abortion is murder, women getting abortions are horrible sluts, and abortion doctors are one step away from Max von Sydow playing Ming the Merciless. Then every so often — not often enough for anyone in law enforcement or even most of the country — someone gets killed, a clinic is firebombed, or worse. Leadership makes a not-pology that sounds sort of like ‘They had it coming,’ and life goes on.

    I have sometimes considered what Tom Hartmann once said regarding ideological violence in the US. I think he’s rather much further to the left than I’m comfortable with, but he brought up a point that I find troubling though not entirely without merit, though I imagine it can be more easilly debunked. His idea was that every so often, ideological violence is inevitable and in fact must happen. Things such as duels, riots, brawls, minor insurrections act as pressure releases for ideological tensions. Without those releases, things build up to to civil war and societal collapse. I don’t think I believe it; the idea seems to justify violence rather than repudiate it. I think that there’s enough testosterone going around, however, to give credence to the idea that there are some people who do want that violence, the justification to punch their ideological opposites in the snoot.

    But this is rather a downer subject; I rather firmly believe that the US is going to keep on trucking and is not headed for the brink immediately. There may be a weakening of government on the Federal level and some state levels, but even if things fell down BOOM, we’d somehow still continue. It’s not going to turn into the United States of Thunderdome anytime soon. =)

  6. You make an excellent point there. Perhaps it’d be better, then, that they reveal themselves as, well, as who and what they are, and remove all doubt or debate?

  7. See, I feel that if these people actually acted on their beliefs, they could no longer hide behind their illusion that they are somehow “true” Americans — because doing the things you mention is against the law. The general masses would turn against them (as happened after the first murder of a doctor who provided abortions), and these terrorists (because that is what they espouse) would be sent to prison to pay for the crimes they committed. There is no rational, stable society, religion, culture, or government which does or can condone such behavior — because that behavior is ultimately destructive, not constructive, of community. That’s the reason countries which have suffered under years of guerrilla warfare are falling apart, socially.

  8. I’ve been very careful about accusing people such as that as lacking the ‘courage of their convictions.’ Acting on their beliefs would result in assassinations of centrist leaders, assassinations of abortion providers, bombings, murders, violence, concentration camps for QUILTBAG folk… a return of the KKK or the Holy Vehm, in other words. So I’m quite content to let them remain passive-aggressive complainers. Nevermind that acting on those beliefs would be highly ‘un-Christian,’ they would still — and do still — consider themselves Christians.

    I try to view tribal markings like NOTW and Revolution II in much the same way that geeks (such as myself) have a FLYNN LIVES tee, or the Autobots symbol on their car, or put ‘Jedi’ down on their Census form for ‘religion.’ (Not that I do all that!): Mostly harmless tribalism, marks for identifying other members of the ideological tribe, indications of a shared jargon. At least, I try to tell myself that. They’re all escapim of a sort (the Revolution II people imagining themselves in some remake of Red Dawn, I suppose) but I worry that the political escapism may map too closely to reality to keep someone (such as those who believe Tim McVeigh was ‘right’) from doing something violent. Geeks may say ‘Optimus Prime died for your sins!’ but I’ve yet to see that in a manifesto. So maybe it’s not entirely harmless escapism.

    Have to run to client, will be back later to comment more! =)

  9. Wow, what an unpleasant-sounding group of people! Talk about passive-aggressive wastes of time, whining about not getting their way. It appears they do not even have the courage of their convictions, if they can’t even bring themselves to act on their beliefs. Do these folks actually consider themselves christian — through some travesty of highly creative interpretation?

    Re scheduling, I’ve come to the realization that what I really need is a year or so to really experience my country! This will do for a nicely educational substitute, though. ;)

  10. I had a touch of foreboding when you mentioned that symbol. I did some research. I think it’s probably best that you didn’t stop to talk with them after all. That symbol is being marketed as representative of the Second American Revolution. No, not the SECRET one as described by Commander Hunter Gatherer! =) No, this is a symbol being sold — on flags, stickers, etc. — to represent either the desire to see, or the belief that we are in, a ‘Second American Revolution’ against the currently-existing government.

    However, I don’t think it is actually a symbol of a coherent movement. Like the ‘Not Of This World’ merchandise, it’s a trademarked, copyrighted symbol used to identify members of an ideological tribe, that someone is making money off of by selling to members of that tribe. I don’t know weather to laugh or cry. At least NOTW is moderately harmless to other people; US Revolution II passively — if indirectly — encourages political divisiveness, class warfare, sedition, and violence.

    As for the people you saw in Utah, I’ve heard that there’s something of a dramatic reaction to the news that the Mormon Church had a major hand in the passing of Prop 8 in CA. A lot of Mormons who might not personally approve of marriage equality liked their church getting involved in such a way even *less*. I imagine there was some memory of the days of Brigham Young and the early Salt Lake City migrants, and how external forces were brought to bear against them, and deciding that if it was wrong to have it done to them then, then it’s wrong for them to do to others now.

    Feel lucky you’re seeing signs at all! =) In Pennsylvania, the joke is that when you enter the state, you see a sign: “WELCOME TO PENNSYLVANIA, This is the last sign you will see here.”

    It’s a shame you’re missing Arcosanti! I’ve heard it’s fascinating. Still, I can understand the tight scheduling.

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