March 26, 2017… Day 66

Spent the day in Salem, Corvallis, and Albany, Oregon with a friend.

Driving between Monmouth and Corvallis we see a handpainted Black Lives Matter sign on a fence outside a farm house. It’s black paint on white-painted boards, in the same style as a sign advertising a roadside fruit stand.

Standing in a Starbucks in Corvallis, I look at my phone and see the extent of the protests in Russia — all across Russia — and the arrest of opposition-leader Navalny. Tears prick in my eyes and my ribcage seems to tighten up around my lungs. It’s more real now. Russians don’t have first amendment protections. They have laws against protesting. Police told them to stay out of the streets or expect a crackdown. Navalny’s life is in his hands, as he continues his opposition to Putin. Tens of thousands turned out in 80 different cities across Russia. Navalny was arrested.

We wandered into a tasting room for a brewery in Albany. The place was mostly empty, but we gravitated toward two white men who were playing guitars and singing in harmony with each other. They sounded really beautiful, sad, tender, soulful. It was country music, with a dash of something that sounded like Old Crow Medicine Show. As I got closer, I saw the bumper stickers on one of the guitar cases. One sticker read “I DON’T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA!!” and the other read, “AND YOUR CRY-BABY, WHINY-ASS OPINION WOULD BE…?” At least two-thirds of my own hometown is like this too. And I can’t pretend not to be grossed out by it now. It IS wrapped up with white supremacy and I’m fucking sick of it. Anyway, that guy needs a bumper sticker that reads “SINGS BEAUTIFUL SONGS, DOESN”T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS.”



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