With lockdown 3 now into its stride here in England (and many places elsewhere), it would be good to have an ongoing project… On Monday of this week I wrote a ‘to do‘ list of such projects that, over the course of the next seven weeks (on the assumption that the schools return after the half-term break in February), will hopefully guide me in using my time fruitfully. I have yet to start any of the projects (which will remain secret) as I have spent much of this week glued to my television, more specifically glued to CNN.
America’s Idiot-In-Chief hasn’t been the subject of many posts on this website since his political career took a turn for the better (or, surely, ‘worse’) about 5 years ago. I’ve just been checking and he does get a few mentions but not of any consequence, although his name did appear in one post title: Brexit, Trump, Kim Jong-un… – The Antidote. The antidote turned out to be (no surprise here…) a ride on my bicycle. He did get a few mentions in, but wasn’t really the subject of, the post entitled BREAKING NEWS: There’s No Breaking News… and any other mentions are just in passing. Of the nearly 4,000 posts on CyclingEurope, he is referenced in, I estimate, about a 0.125% of them. The orange man himself would, of course, deem this to be ‘fake news’ and, on the off chance that he were ever to become aware of it, would ‘correct’ the statistic to 95% of all posts, even though his calculation is demonstrably wrong. He would then repeat the ‘fact’ endlessly and a third of the American population* would eventually believe him. (* This stat is courtesy of Ted Cruz who said in his speech to the Senate a few days ago: “Recent polling shows that 39 percent of Americans believe the election that just occurred, quote, was rigged“. They do so not because the accusation has any validity but because it has been repeated so often. Cruz is so far beyond satire you need a telescope to spot him.)
So CNN’s coverage of the end-of-Trump saga unfolding in Washington D.C. is keeping me ‘entertained’ and distracting me from my lockdown projects.
It is, however, worth noting that Trump is in no way representative of America. I’ve met, studied with, taught and worked with many, many Americans over the years and none have come close to resembling Donald Trump or any of his thugs who rioted their way through the American Congress on Wednesday. The last American I spoke to was Ryan Van Duzer for The Cycling Europe Podcast:
Ryan is about as close to Donald Trump as I am to Nigel Farage. (I’m not, if you were wondering…) and the interview I recorded with him makes a good listen. If you are currently struggling to see the positive in the American dream, go and listen to what he has to say. Once you’ve done so, cast your eyes to the foot of that post I’ve just linked to and you will find a comment conversation between myself and Frank Burns (who, unlike me, has travelled through America on his bike). It goes as follows…
Frank: “Ryan is an impressive guy. I met many like him when I rode the Pacific Coastal route from Vancouver to Mexico just two years ago and, he’s right, it is a truly stunning ride. Amongst the American biking community there is a big wide-open mentality that is bred by the sheer vastness of the landscapes. Thanks for steering us in Ryan’s direction.”
Me: “Thanks Frank. After speaking to him, I did feel that I need to visit America. Perhaps post-Trump!”
Frank: “I asked my Warmshowers’ host in LA (who happened to be one of the directors of WS) why I hadn’t met a single Trump supporter the entire length of the west coast, and he said, it’s obvious really:
1. you ride a bike
2. you sleep in a tent
3. you’re on the west coast
4. and, didn’t you know that Warmshowers is a hotbed of socialism?
Andrew, ride the west coast, and you will have a Trump-free ride……”
And that’s not fake news… I suspect that much of America is the same, whether they cycle or not. Here’s a quote with which to finish:
“When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper… — despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’”Alexander Hamilton, 18th August 1792
Good riddance Mr Trump, good riddance.
I’ll certainly be glad to see the back of Trump. Nevertheless, the uncomfortable fact is that he got millions more votes than when he was voted in and 49% of the vote this time. That does not make all the people who voted for him idiots.
The election result has not been an overwhelming endorsement for Biden and I hope he can unite what looks to be very polarised views.
I have met a fair number of Americans and with an odd exception they were intelligent people with a very positive attitude. I’m sure the idiots that overwhelmed the Capitol Building were not representative of the majority of people in the country or even the Republican Party.
Ryan is a great guy and his infectious enthusiasm about life and the good in people is wonderful. He’s the guy I’d want as President.
It’s a bit like Brexit; Trump’s supporters might not all be idiots but they are there in a sufficient number to make the difference. Brexit voters were not all racist xenophobes but there was a sufficient number of them to make the difference. I would find it difficult to support any political cause that also attracted any of these divisive, unthinking, ignorant people and I’m happy to say that my conscience is clear.
Good stuff !
💥 I ride a lot up and down the big river Adda between Paderno and Lecco , bottom of lake Como , Italy . The last time during the summer I met up with a couple of cyclists from Ohio , USA , I made some disparaging remark about Donald and they came to his rescue by saying they had voted for him but didn’t like him at all! . However they claimed he had revitalised their town , maybe opened up some coal mining, can’t remember the details . He had brought prosperity to their town .
Must admit I feel sorry for the guy , and I will miss all the laughs he gave us Brits 😅💥
You feel sorry for him? Really?
So true Andrew.
When I interviewed Susan Doram a while back she had some interesting things to say about it:
“I went to America twice. In 2017 people said, “We’re glad you’ve come to visit. We hope you see that American is not like it is portrayed on the TV”. I stayed on the west coast, which is far more liberal-minded. Lots of the American people who I met along the way weren’t happy with the way things were going.
When I arrived back in America for the second time, in November 2019, I was detained for 5 hours. Trump had just imposed a further travel ban on Eritrea, Krgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania, countries where there is a Muslim population. It wasn’t nice to know the only reason I was being stopped. I had to wait in a room with 100 other people. Everybody was black or brown and the majority were from Central or South America.”
Sad sad times… At times like these though all we can do is plan further adventures for when Covid has run it’s course and we can make real connections through our cycling experiences. I’m a sucker for a project. Beats watching CNN.
Yes, that is indeed a sad story. Let’s hope for better times ahead under a new regime.