I’ve been trying to frame my feelings since our participation in the Independence Day parade.
Mark drove his beautiful 65 Thunderbird and we were a part of several cars from the Sunshine Region AACA car club of which he is Vice President.
We were ferrying Chuck, a highly decorated Army Ranger Vietnam Vet, and Kyle the Sarasota District One City Commissioner.
Chuck is frail and missing his front teeth. He had many many people acknowledge him and his service and seemed to have a very loving cohort that recognized his service. He was sweet and a part of the fodder we so cruelly sent to Vietnam.
Kyle a consummate politician, was young, handsome and black. He was greeted warmly by many and charmed many of the crowd members along our route.
Despite the non controversial occupants in our care we had a couple of disturbing encounters with remnants of the Trump rally from the previous day.
This crowd was not familiar to me. I have lived in my bubble for so long as a result of the isolated life that we have here in Florida and especially through the pandemic, that they may have been from Mars, they seemed that strange.
The crowd was, for the most part, bedraggled and unkempt, with stringy hair, obese, with cute little kids in tow. It was obvious they were enjoying the parade as they cheered and commented on the vehicles and their occupants. I felt as if I was in one of those Oliver Twist scenes where the mob is held back from the overlords. It was scary and uncomfortable. Several pretended to have guns and used their hands to imitate a pistol and “shot” at us.
One cammo clad man on a scooter came along side the car and shouted inquiries as to our political leanings, veered alarmingly close, and like several others pretended to shoot us.
Sarasota has a long history of segregation and. deep conservatism. There is a red neck “Florida Man” vibe here in the under class that reflects the broad tolerance by the ruling class here in the city of racially motivated crime.
Ferrying a black elected city official along side an Army Ranger in a Fourth of July parade immediately following a Trump rally made that crystal clear.