What Happens When Basic Civility is Eroded?

A man cut me off on the road today. Two lanes were merging into one, and he gunned it to be the second car to go ahead. I slammed on my brakes to avoid being hit and laid on the horn.

What an asshole, right?

Well, he angrily flipped me off, and I’m thinking “Dude, YOU just cut ME off!” so I flipped the bird right back at him. Standard procedure, in my experience, in California.

I had to follow him for about another mile. I was headed to my daughter’s high school. He was caught behind a car in front of him, so I was right behind him, and I’ll admit, my blood was boiling a bit. What a criminal jerk.

I could see it was an older man–a white guy with white hair. He was driving a small white pickup truck. Nondescript.

But everything–really everything– changed when we reached the school and I pulled over to pull into the drive. He was stopped at the light and as I glanced over at him, he cocked his finger in my direction, like he was holding a gun. A GUN. And mock “shot” it at me.

Are you fucking kidding me?

This older white guy–maybe 60 years old. He’s been driving for what, 45 years, give or take? Maybe he’s been a asshole all his life. Who knows.

BUT WHEN DID IT BECOME THE NORM FOR A GUY TO MIME SHOOTING A MOTHER PULLING INTO A HIGH SCHOOL?

This is the perfect example, in my mind, of the complete erosion of decency and civility we have experienced in the Trump era. I watched Trump bait his crowds, whip them up. And I continue to watch him do it in horror. I’m all for tax cuts and fiscal responsibility, but I don’t think anyone wants what Trump has brought to this country: an erosion of our moral fiber. An erosion of our identity.

Is flipping someone off the best thing to do? Probably not. But at least it’s just a statement–it’s not a THREAT. Miming shooting something is an entirely different thing.

This is why a lawyer in Manhattan feels he can yell at women speaking Spanish in a store. (Miss that one, check this guy out.)

This is why a woman (ironically with a thick Spanish accent) yells at a Chinese woman on the freeway.

An old woman feels she can berate a woman at IHOP for speaking Spanish.

WHEN DID THIS BECOME OKAY?

Not to mention, IF YOU’RE NOT SPEAKING NAVAJO OR APACHE, THEN GO BACK TO FUCKING ENGLAND IF YOU WANT TO SPEAK ENGLISH.

I’m tired of this. I’m a little scared. I wonder how far this will go, this trend of people thinking they can just be flat-out rude and even threatening to random people on the street.

Let me share a little secret: YOU ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS. At some point, your ancestors came here from somewhere else. You don’t get to just decide that you are somehow a “native” and more recent arrivals aren’t.

But back to the old, angry white guy. You made me feel a little less safe today, dude. A little more vulnerable to any crazy whack-o with a temper and a gun. You’ve lived 60-odd years, and this is the best you have to give?

I don’t know if anything can be done, but I pray that we all find our civility again. Our decency. I hope we learn to become slower to anger. And I hope, fervently, that our next president is a mild-mannered diplomat who can help put us back together.

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