What do I say to them?
The photo above was taken during the driver's meeting first thing Saturday morning at the September 2001 race at Summit Point, WV. The terrorist attacks were still fresh and painful, the anger and grief still openly expressed by everyone, and nearly everyone was of one mind: strike back and kick their asses!
Every pit was festooned with flags. Big Bob Lilley had even repainted his kart to adorn it with the stars and stripes. There was no question of forgetting; we would seek revenge and smash those that dared to rouse the sleeping giant to anger. We had all heard President Bush on that mound of rubble in New York and knew that he would make it right. There was no talk of partisanship, no "left" or "right", only shared resolve.
September 2005 - what a difference four years make.
On the drive to the track, I had a great idea for a post. I was excited about seeing my "extended race family", celebrating our shared interests and mourning our American losses. I knew the devastation caused by Katrina would on the minds and lips of most of us, but I also expected to see a lot of that 4 year old pride in our great country. After all, this was the first race we've had on the 11th. My goal was to walk around the paddock taking pictures of all the flags and instances of Red, White, and Blue. From the lack of photos here, you can see what a failure that was. The only flag I found was the one I hung myself from our canopy. What the hell happened?
Even the most stalwart defender of the GWOT had not one symbol of his patriotism in his pit. It's usually awash in patriotic color. Bob B. said "it was too much trouble" to even put up his flag. This from a guy who spent hours in my camper watching FOX news on satellite TV, cheering the "Shock and Awe" in the spring 2003 offensive in Iraq. Bob B. always had something he wanted to share with me as soon as we met at the track, something that pissed off the left-wing lunatics or drove them batty. This weekend, nada.
On the other hand, the few folks who track left seemed to have found their voices, or were at least feeling that they needn't hold back. I heard several mentions of "God sh*t" and opposition to anything religious (Christian, of course). They're still my friends and I love them like family, but what do I do when they say things that I find terribly offensive? I'm usually of the opinion that what I don't like is my own problem. Let it slide 'cause its not really that important. If a good friend has a few crazy ideas but is otherwise cool, don't make a big stink and ruin it. But the situation is making me feel increasingly uncomfortable.
Am I over reacting? Was I expecting too much? Have I turned into a right-wing wacko?
I don't feel any different than I did four years ago. I'm still convinced that invading Afghanistan and Iraq were the correct decisions, that a free middle east is our best chance for lasting peace and an end to global terrorism. I still believe we are on a right and righteous road and that America is the greatest country on the planet. I still think our military kicks ass without trampling the innocent. I love US!
I just don't know what to say to people who have forgotten.