What are the factors that affect American’s lives? Jobs. Taxes. Health. Education. Medical Care. Quality of life.
Yes, that and more, except in Killingly where the major issue—the one that Republicans set as the cornerstone of their recent election campaign—was reinstating the former Killingly mascot: the Redmen. The cornerstone!
I don’t what’s more baffling here, that an entire political party would base its campaign on a defunct mascot, or that twenty-first century Americans would be that willing to leap blindly into the past to champion a blatantly racist title for their children to witness.
I used to call northeastern Connecticut the land that time forgot. Less unkind phrasing usually settles for the “the quiet corner.” It's not quiet enough these days—I'll stick with the former.
It’s very easy to blame activity like this on the president—watch one of his pep rallies and you recognize the appeal to our worst instincts: to debase, demean, shout down, bully, and humiliate. To nobody’s surprise his behavior has awakened the worst in many of us, and I use the word “awakened” intentionally. Trump didn’t create racists—he simply gave them a forum. He didn’t create bigots—he simply provided an avenue for them to travel safely. They were always here, lurking in the muddy shadows. Now the sun is blazing on them in all their ignorant ugliness. It isn't pretty.
So here we are on the edge of 2020, and Republicans in Killingly are hurtling bravely into the past, revisiting problems that had been solved, and revitalizing dead issues. Face it, the term Redmen is racist. It’s as racist as yellowmen and blackmen, as bigoted as Jewishmen or Muslimmen, as ignorant as any of the myriad names used to describe people from foreign countries. Yet in Killingly, it’s the foundation of the Republican Party. The cornerstone.
Admittedly, not everyone who wants a return to Redmen is a bigot. Some residents remember their high school fondly and are unable (or unwilling) to separate the old mascot from their memories. It isn't difficult to do, but it does require some fortitude and a modicum of concern for the feelings of others, i.e., some empathy. Trump lacks that entirely, and as Greta Thunberg might agree, that deficiency seems to be contagious.
The saddest part is that Killingly could form some new memories. It’s right there—a high school football team in the state championship game. Letting the kids play without sullying their effort with this inanity would have been a grand gesture. But in the age of Trump where shouting is logic and yelling is wisdom, that would be too much to ask.
I have no rooting interest in the game. If it ends with no injuries and a clear winner, that will be fine. Even better, maybe the team, win or lose, could issue a statement afterwards excoriating the town for ruining what could have been a moment of pride. As it stands now we have craziness for craziness' sake, and quiet corner or not, that's a shame.