I went back to Wisconsin over the holiday to see my brother and sister. My older brother had arranged tickets for a hockey game. Milwaukee plays in the AHL, which is one step down from the pros.
All the players are either on their way up, or have been told they’re too small or too slow, or simply not good enough—so they play their asses off. I remember Wisconsin sports crowds as a bunch of drunks, certainly, but a bunch of sloppy, friendly drunks. They'd buy beer for fans of other teams—that sort of thing...
So, the siren sounds, the teams line up, and the loudspeaker announcement is made... but it’s made more or less as an order. “Everyone stand. Remove your hats. Put your hand over your heart. Sing the national anthem.”
I look around and people are standing at what looks like attention—like they’re soldiers. When we get to the line about “rockets red glare” they actually cut the white lights and show just red spotlights. I looked at my brother and he’s got the same expression on his face.The game then begins. The crowd is unusually quiet for what I remember of hockey fans. It’s a little off—something not quite right. I look around the crowd and there are about 10k people, maybe two or three who are black—one on the ice, the others in the stands.
After ten minutes there’s a break in the action and they announce that they are honoring a veteran. The Jumbotron shows a white former marine waving at the crowd, and a deafening cheer goes up. Ten minutes later, the same thing happens. In another ten, it happens again. The first period ends, and they introduce a whole series of white, former servicemen and women.The whole thing was just creeping me out. My brother leans over and says, “I guess we’re here on white supremacy night.” Yeah. It dawns on me that we’re sitting in a crowd in the third most segregated city of the US, and it’s not really a hockey game. Rather, it’s so obviously a knee-jerk reaction to the NFL and black athletes taking a knee for equality.
With very little exaggeration, it’s got the feeling of an alt-right rally, rather than a game. It was absolutely disconcerting and uncomfortable—a cold, slap in the face—with all the charm and trappings of a German newsreel prior to WWII.
We left halfway through the second period. I realized it’s as bad in my once proudly progressive State (now redder than red) as it is here in SC...and maybe worse. So much for the combined myth of the White Savior and Master Race celebrations. If it is going to get better, it’s going to take a long, long time. It’s a lot worse out there than I thought.
I'm betting it's a lot worse than most are thinking. 2018 Looms! Register... then VOTE.
Don't be an idiot. Not voting "because it doesn't matter" became an empty and irrelevant concept with the installation of Donald J. Trump. I say true.
|...The list is pretty endless...|