In my last article, it hit me that the future of America will be fine and any current racial barking is simply ignorant noise from people too afraid of this future. However, just moments after enjoying that Midnight Reverie (seriously, that thing was delicious), I was humbled by the generation who helped raise my own when I approached my oddly sagging truck, staring in blank silence at the black rubber pancake where my rear passenger side tire used to be. See, I drive a beat-up old Ford Ranger, and I'm pretty sure I drove with the original tires. Four years of actual freezing temperatures and tougher road conditions have blown out or rotted through all of them (Georgia doesn't have the freezing problem of Kentucky, and the road conditions are much, much better).
Before I got too mad at my situation, a middle aged, blue collar white male stepped up from the parking lot. Sporting jeans, work-boots, heavy duty flannel and driving a brand new Dodge Ram, I assumed he either recently retired from a blue collar job or managed blue collar workers. But he wore his most interesting piece of attire on his head: a red ball cap with words outlined in white: Make America Great Again. I winced, wishing he would simply walk on past my truck. However, my contempt quickly turned to gratitude.
Already embarrassed by my deflated tire, I somehow kept enough composure to not show my disgust for his candidate (a rare feat given my temperament). He took one look at me, smiled, and asked if I needed an air compressor. Speechless, I nodded and meekly accepted his offer. We didn't really talk for another fifteen minutes; he simply stated that my tire had rotted through and might make it back to my apartment, over thirty miles away in Frankfort. I didn't dare bring up politics (another rare feat), for fear of insulting him and making myself look like an ungrateful ass. Once the tire inflated, I offered to at least pay in some way. He shrugged his shoulders, looked away and said "Just payin' it forward, kid. Pass it on." I stared in humbled disbelief as he walked off back to his truck and drove off.
As I drove off I took a good hard look at my heart as well as my approach to people's politics. Despite what pundits and politicians claim, mercy, compassion and good old fashioned kindness aren't subject to any one party, ideology or whatever label we try to put on people. No matter the situation, the light of kindness usually seems to penetrate the darkness of ignorance. While America's future is nothing to worry about even as jobs disappear and the service industry grows larger and more dead end, perhaps the progress forgets its roots and parables. And for a wounded traveler at the edge of a large parking lot, the only one who lent a hand sported a red cap with the words: Make America Great Again.