To the Editor:
Yesterday I experienced something akin to road rage.
I left the parking lot of Cronig’s on State Road, and was headed toward the Post Office.
I did not cut anyone off while getting into traffic.
A red Jeep started to tailgate me. When someone is doing that, I leave a little more room for the car in front of me in case they stop short. With the extra space (and my signal), a truck with a trailer took the opportunity to turn left onto State Road from the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road and proceed toward Cronig’s market. The driver of the Jeep leaned on the horn. I ignored him. Shortly afterward, I got to the MV Bank, and let a vehicle turn left in front of me, which was heading toward the Post Office. Again, the driver of the Jeep laid on the horn. Coming even closer to me.
When I turned into the Post Office parking lot, he followed. I parked, he parked, and as I walked toward the door of the Post Office, he shouted obscenities at me across the parking lot about the fact that I have an American flag decal on my vehicle that portrays the flag in an upside-down orientation.
We exchanged some words — him calling me obscene names and me telling him to put his mask on in public. He went into Cumberland Farms; I got my mail from my P.O. box.
I decided to take the opportunity to attempt a civil conversation with someone whose political ideology apparently differed from mine. I waited for him to come out of Cumby’s, and asked him if we could have a reasonable conversation. As he only slowed down a little as he passed me, he said no — and again called me a string of expletives. I persisted and told him I was a Navy veteran, and that the military code of conduct allowed for the flag to be flown upside down in times of distress.
He continued to just call me a string of expletives. Is the country not under duress, I asked? No, he replied, under the leadership of Donald Trump, the country is better than ever, and the only problem is @&%($**** liberals like you.
OK, so let me make a few points about this interaction.
Let me start by saying that anyone who thinks this country is not in trouble has some sort of mental disability. That’s my opinion and I am entitled to it.
This person, a white male in his 60s or 70s ( I am a 68-year-old white male) who supports Trump and thinks we need to keep America great, is missing the point about what it is that actually makes America great.
What makes America great is its diversity and its freedoms. I can think that the country is under duress and display my flag upside down. He can think otherwise and proudly wave his flag any way he wants to, even if it’s a Confederate flag or a flag with a swastika on it. It is not illegal. It is one of the many hard-won freedoms that the flag symbolizes.
He can publicly criticize any person in any political office, as can I.
He can beep his horn at me when I let someone into traffic. He can even shout obscenities at me in public. He is free to believe what he wants, and refuse to have a civil discussion with a stranger, although I suspect he knew who I was, at least as dondondon12 on this paper’s online comment section. I have noted before that my car has an upside-down flag decal before on that site.
Hate that, or love that — I don’t care — this is America, and America is a great country that I hope can stay that way. When this is over, I will reorient my flag.
As I turned around and passed the people standing in line waiting to go into the Post Office who had witnessed this, I pointed at the angry old man and said, “That’s why you should vote for a Democrat.”