Saturday, July 2, 2016

What I Saw On The Long Island Railroad

Imagine what happens when these drunk assholes get politicized

Last night I went to the Mets-Cubs game with my dad and an old friend I've known since my grad school days. The game was a lot of fun (well, at least for the Mets fans in attendance), and we were seated around reasonably polite people. The mood drastically changed when we got onto the Long Island Railroad train to take us to Penn Station. The car ahead of us was full of some insanely loud preppies evidently having a full on party on the LIRR. If this was the subway and these kids weren't white they'd probably be cuffed by the NYPD.

As bad as they were, a group in our car was worse. At first they looked like the usual drunken louts who show up to sporting events, and who I've had the displeasure to share trains home from Citi Field before. However, I noticed one of them wearing a red Trump cap and one of those camo baseball jerseys. Next to him were a much more obnoxious group, chanting "USA USA USA" for no reason. Whenever I hear that chant something inside of me tenses, since I know I am in the presence of a mob. Soon enough, while staggering about openly drinking beers and screaming obscenities in front of kids who'd gone to the game with their parents, chants of "Let's Go Mets!" and "USA" faded into "Build the wall! Build the wall!" I so badly wanted to say something, but this brand of Long Island shithead would've used it as an opportunity for a beatdown. With zero police or conductor presence, I wasn't about to risk it.

I did, however, get to thinking about the Trump phenomenon. These white men from the notoriously segregated Long Island (wearing Jose Reyes jerseys in two cases*) were asserting their dominance and privilege on the train. These were the same kind of assholes I had encountered after Mets games before. However, Trumpism had politicized them. I felt like I was watching American brown shirts in their natural habitat.

This incident is evidence of the larger effect that Trump's candidacy is having. Even if he goes down in flames in the general election, he has brought white supremacist nationalism into the political mainstream. He has enabled the forces of bigotry and intolerance in ways I have never seen in my lifetime. The only solution is to go out into the open where these people have emerged from their caves and sewers, and destroy them. It is not enough to defeat Trump; Trumpism must be ripped out root and branch. If not, new demagogues will come and more hate will flow.

*Reyes brutally battered his wife last year, but despite that was just re-acquired by the Mets. Anyone wearing his jersey has some soul-searching to do.


Matt J. said...

That was a bad scene in so many ways, and I don't deny that this sort of thing is playing an increasing role in our politics. A counterbalance, maybe: I spent some time the next day wandering around Queens, mostly at what remains from the 1964 World's Fair, and I saw a much more encouraging scene. There were hundreds, probably thousands, of people from all over the world and all walks of life hanging out in the same park. People grilled, played in the fountain, played and listened to music, rode bikes, kicked soccer balls around, and generally just had a good time, in the shadow of some interesting, if kind of decrepit, public art. Every time I feel sick about some aspect of the current atmosphere, it seems like something happens to remind me of the best of what we're about.

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

I wish I'd had the chance to stroll Corona Park the day before when the rain ruined our plans. It's one of my favorite places in New York City, and one of the city's best kept secrets.