I was taking the circuitous route home after picking up my morning coffee. I was tired of sitting at home quarantining and decided to take a little drive. I wandered deeper and deeper into the burbs and was sitting at the light fiddling with my music when I heard the lady in the car behind me yell “What the fuck is this? You people are insane.”
I thought I had slept on the light and so I looked up to see a Chump Train chugging through the intersection in front of us. A caravan of over-sized pick-up trucks with red, white, and blue flags flapping in the wind declaring their allegiance to his imperial majesty of ‘orangitude.’ They have become more common, though smaller, in recent weeks as the loser of the presidential election tries to con his supporters into believing that the election was a fraud.
It is common knowledge to most by now that a sizable portion of donations to the legal defense fund of The Great Trumpkin are actually monies being used to offset the losses incurred by his campaign. It is quite a savvy form of extortion, using his adoring fan club to further divide an already fractured nation while lining his pockets with more of their money before the inevitable happens and he is forced to leave office. He is squeezing as much monetary value out of his platform while he can by making illegitimate claims and further undermining public faith in our broken political system.
I myself am not red or blue. I am definitely left, not right — but foremost I believe the major parties and politics in America to be in the pocket of corporate interest. I do however think that Americans were better off living under the illusion of a democracy that worked, rather than stuck in the middle choosing sides in an intense divide. Families and friendships are being fractured by the lies and assertions of our political elite.
Therefore, I fully share the sentiments of the woman in the car behind me. These people are fucking insane and a real threat to humanity. They are proof alone that the answer is not simply a change in regime. However, I will fully admit that as the child of a couple of bleeding hearts, the reds piss me off more than the blues. The blues make me sad. The reds make me angry.
That is why it was not enough to simply let the train chug on by. I had originally been planning to drive straight through the light, extending my Sunday drive in the opposite direction from home. Instead, I made a right and joined the maggots. It was a caravan of about 30 cars, so I inserted myself in the middle, which was easy as the trailing cars and caboose had been stranded at the light.
I was deeply troubled when an on-duty police officer rolled by in the opposite direction and honked it up in support. I hit the brakes and considered popping a U-turn to get the squad car number so I could report the officer to his supervisors as I am fairly sure making political statements while on duty is against the law. But laws and constitutions don’t seem to matter to these people, so I figured it would be pointless. Besides, it’s best not to fuck with your local police department.
Anyhow, in hitting the brakes I got an idea. I slowed down a little more. The lead cars were slowly vanishing ahead of us. The honks of the Chump Train became less joyful and took on a cadence and rhythm of frustration and anger. Billy-Bob, in a jacked-up white Chevy Silverado behind me, started to get especially irked and leaned on his horn. I slowed down some more.
A car at the stop sign ahead of us waited for the Chump Train to pass with a proud middle finger extended out his window. I stopped altogether to let him jump in front of me. Billy-Bob floored it around me and yelled something non-sensical out his window as he tried to catch up to his comrades.
A good portion of the Chump Train was still behind me as the lead cars had completely disappeared with only Billy-Bob and his flags visible to the pack as a replacement pace setter and navigator for the emotive locomotive. I saw Billy-Bob make a right at the traffic light on the city line dividing suburbia from the urban grid. I slowed down a little more to ensure that I would get caught at the light. The light went from green to yellow to red. I stopped. It turned back to green and I did not budge.
This time, Guillermo-Roberto, an ironic Mexican supporter of the proletariat with a Chump flag flying off the back of his truck in between the red, white, and blue of Old Glory and the green, white, and red of Bandera de México sped by me in the adjacent lane blowing his horn in anger and blowing straight on through the now yellow light, distancing himself from the rest of the caravan. Once the light had turned back to red, I made a right like Billy-Bob and pulled over to see what was going to happen.
Half of the cars followed Gulliermo-Roberto straight through the light, while a few others thought better of flying their flags in the hood where they would not be so well received. They turned right and searched for the original caravan which was by now long gone. I started laughing and kept on rolling for the next few minutes as lost maggots drove in circles around the neighborhood in search of each other and the solidarity that allowed them to be more brazen. I am sure they eventually found one another and started up another round of “4-more” chants, but I took extraordinary joy in my moment of victory.
It was a win that could not be taken to court. It was a legitimate victory. I called those bleeding hearts who had instilled in me the heart and conscience that had inspired me to resist and make the right turn in the first place to disrupt the game of follow-the-leader.
“I just broke up a Chump Train,” I proudly announced to my Pops over the phone.
“All right! Let me get your mother so she can hear.” Together we shared a good laugh and then talked about our fears that this shit wasn’t going to end. It was a laugh that we all needed, and a small victory we could claim together. Meanwhile, our anxiety continued to mount wondering whether the orange menace was ever going to call off his troops and end his assault and attempt to steal the more important legitimate win…
D. Thayer Russell is a Los Angeles based writer who is currently in the process of assembling and writing hundreds of tales and reflections from a 4-year, 250,000 mile plus journey as a rideshare driver working across the great State of California. He is a former high school teacher, baseball coach, and dedicated father to his amazing, talented, and beautiful daughter.