Show Low is a an exaggerated rural American cliche. Trump stickers everywhere, American flags, camo, massive pickup trucks. That anyone could support Trump is insane, but of course many Americans do, because of the capitalist white supremacist values on which this nation is founded. Trump is America, distilled to its purest essence. We made him, like a monster created in a laboratory in a science fiction story, and now we don’t know how to go back in time and stop the chain of events that set this all in motion. The reason the people of Show Low in particular support Trump makes sense to me in a way it never did before. Show Low, founded in 1870. When the genocide of the Native Peoples of Arizona was in full swing. The people of Show Low today, the ones in the Safeway and at the Hardware store where we resupply, the donut shop where I eat donuts, the cafe where Muffy orders a black bean burger- these are the descendants of the white people who came across the Mogollon Rim in wooden wagons just 148 years ago. The white people who used manifest destiny, a belief in the superiority of their race, as a moral shield as they broke treaty agreements and stole land, as they organized into parties of vigilantes and pledged as volunteer soldiers, gathered their abundant firearms and ammunition, and crept upon Apache camps in the night, and slaughtered everyone they could.
148 years is not that long ago. Of course the Trump supporters of Show Low, and rural America in general, almost all of which was colonized just as recently, lack the cultural imagination to conceptualize any other way of being in the world. How could it be otherwise?
In the cities of the US the history of the land theft is just as recent and dark, but it’s been buried under so much, so rapidly- so much concrete and glass, so many people, so many other stories. It feels more hidden. Here in Show Low as in much of rural America time is frozen, as though in a museum. Here in Show Low there are only two stories.
Most of my blog readers are other white hikers. I’m writing all of these things not to make you feel bad, but because they’re true. Do some of the action items in the previous post. These are things that all of us can do.
By afternoon we’ve done all our chores, walked four miles running errands in the blustery wind, eaten too much food and we’re back in our motel room at last, to rest. I’ve washed and dried my sleeping bag and it’s a newly voluminous fluffer puff, which is perfect as we’re about to climb into the highest, and therefore coldest, part of the trail. Now, we’ve got two options. Our next town stop, Greer, is 62 miles away. It’s Tuesday, and the Greer post office, which has our resupply boxes for the next stretch, closes for the weekend at noon on Friday. This is called The Post Office Game. Option one: we hustle out of here tomorrow morning and hike 62 miles in 2.5 days, or, option two: we don’t. We get into Greer Saturday at our normal pace, and chill there until we can get our resupply boxes Monday morning. A few years ago I might’ve chosen the first option, just to prove something? Or I might’ve chosen it because I was in excellent trail shape and wanted a challenge (I’m not in excellent trail shape, that takes me about a month) or because I was racing winter/summer/something else (we are not). It’s really nice, today, to notice how easily I settle into the idea of the second option. My ego around hiking is dead. I lost it somewhere like a dropped pee rag, didn’t notice until months later that it was gone. We’re on Vacation. We’re having a Nice Time. If there was a good reason to rush or if it sounded fun, I would. But there is not and it does not. So.
Also, I check the tracking and my new pack won’t arrive until Wednesday. So we couldn’t rush to Greer if we wanted to. There’s my excuse to chill, in case I still needed one.
I’m using these blog posts to help raise money for Francis, an El Salvadoran refugee who is raising funds for an asylum appeal. You can view his fundraiser here.
Francis’ fundraiser is currently at $3,225- day 22 from the MRT will go up on this blog when his fundraiser reaches $3,300. Let’s help Francis get the support he needs! Click here to check it out. And thank you! 😀