Thursday, August 11, 2022

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When hate enters the campground, I wonder who we’ve become

We were park hosts in an unbelievably beautiful and usually peaceful regional park in Arizona. One day, as we were returning to the park, the guards let us know to be aware of an “incident” that happened earlier that day.

A Hispanic woman with several young children was visiting the park, probably to hike one of our popular trails or take the kids to the playground. As she was leaving, a driver raced around her, cut her off, and blocked her car. He got out of his vehicle, approached her and her children and pointed his finger like a gun, and pulled “the trigger.” Needless to say, she was terrified.

Even if I try to ignore this as racially motivated, which is hard to do in this racially charged environment, particularly in Arizona, it leaves me to wonder what have we as people, as a nation, become?

The rhetoric, the hate, the viciousness, and most of all the division that we as one people, as one nation, have turned neighbor against neighbor, family against family, brother against sister.

It has invaded not just our streets, but it has invaded the place that I hold most dear, our campgrounds. I see it in the distrust and reserve our new “neighbors” have when we pull in. I see it in the hateful bumper stickers with unkind and vulgar words.

I’ve never thought of myself as an “old fogey”—where I’m constantly thinking of the past in a nostalgic haze. I love technology and I even like social media and cable channels! I’m glad to call Uber on an app, and find out the weather and driving directions on another app. But all that being said… I miss feeling safe picking up a hitchhiker. I don’t want to worry about where the exit is or where I am sitting at a movie theater, shopping mall, or at church. I don’t want to worry about my son working in a school. He would stand in front of any child to protect them.

I want to enjoy conversations without having to say, “Nope, I don’t talk politics at the campground,” to someone who is going down a rabbit hole that I don’t want to follow.

I am tired of being judged as too liberal, too conservative, too rich or too poor, too black, or too white.

I want a simpler, kinder time.

In the end, all I want is a couple of chairs around a campfire and to be able to invite that terrified Hispanic woman and her children to come sit and enjoy s’mores with us. I want her to know that here, in this park, she is safe.

##RVT1063

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C Botner
8 days ago

Sadly this is nothing new, Hatred has been around since day 1. I think these last 6+ years has seen a political climate that has allowed & encouraged (IMO) us to bring the hatred in our hearts to the surface.

Neal Davis
8 days ago

Such a horrible incident! So sorry it happened, and all the more sorry that there currently is so much devisiveness. We are spending almost a week in Flagstaff at a large, often crowded KOA. We have been sight-seeing during much of each day, but thankfully have yet to see any open exhibitions of racism here. Hopefully none occur during the balance of our stay or at any time thereafter.

Carol Forrest
9 days ago

Thought politics was off limits here.

Heather
9 days ago
Reply to  Carol Forrest

Since when did the topic of politeness vs beyond-the-pale ugly behavior have to be about politics?

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
9 days ago
Reply to  Heather

Thank you, Heather. I wasn’t sure how to put my thoughts into words, but you did it for me, and very succinctly. Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane

bobby
10 days ago

unfortunately we have became all that you are dreading in your statement. the past two administrations have completely divided our country and all we can do is be the best we can be. in this instance and in every instance like it, we point out the hypocrisy and yes….make sure we comfort the victims. its all we can really do. Let God sort out the rest.

Darla Baker
10 days ago

Please continue to report on the state of hate in RV life. It is vital information to know where and how we can and cannot be safe in these troubling times. And like Janet, I too am glad I’m in the last years of my life with no children who will endure worse.

Rita Rosson
8 days ago
Reply to  Darla Baker

me too

Allen
10 days ago

Sad that you even thought of needing to write this, but beautifully written, Nanci.

pursuits
10 days ago

You can run but you can’t hide. Campgrounds are simply reflecting the changing culture that is all around us. It is sad. I hate it. But all I can do is try to be a good example of the Golden Rule. (How many think today’s younger campers could even tell you what that is?)

Janet Nicholson
10 days ago

Well said. I could echo every single word and couldn’t agree more and have the very same thoughts and desires. I just don’t understand other humans these days. My husband says that these days the only good thing about getting old is that we won’t be around as this turns uglier. And we’re glad we don’t have kids to leave behind. Isn’t that sad. It seems all the talk that is supposed to help us be more accepting of each other, both our similarities and our differences, seems to be making the divide even bigger. It breaks my heart.

Dave
11 days ago

I am sure you were aware of the social and political implications of this article, just like the one a while back , and how it would continue to divide your readers via the comments. This is your newsletter and I choose to read it for free, so understandably my comments won’t mean a lot to you, when I say please don’t continue to print these types of articles periodically.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
10 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Of course your comments mean a lot to us, Dave. Sending in a contribution would not make it any more important. We’re not that kind of people. (BTW – The vast majority of our readers [more than 90%] read our newsletters for free. We appreciate ALL of our readers.) We’re sorry that some of our articles cause discord among our readers, but, unfortunately, that’s just the way the world is today. Very sad. Among other things, we report the happenings, good or bad, in campgrounds, which this article is about. And the writer, a longtime camp host, has encountered similar instances in her personal life and in her camp hosting. If we hide these disturbing occurrences away, i.e., not report on them, they will continue to fester and multiply. If we discuss them, more kind and caring people will be made aware and, hopefully, the good guys will continue to prevail. Take care. 🙂 –Diane

Scott
10 days ago
Reply to  Dave

Is it so dangerous to speak of this topic that you want to censor the content? Topics like this need to be talked about and brought into the light so that the guilty can be called out and the neutral players can be awakened to the problem. Behaviors like this are despicable and will harm the whole of society if allowed to continue. A last thought on this topic…if the offending party happens to be an average white guy, remember…we are becoming the minority in the US and you better behave yourself.

B.L.
11 days ago

Amen to that. I go camping to get away from that. If someone insists on talking politics, and I don’t want to hear it I leave. If they’re at my campsite, I go inside.

Wayne
11 days ago

Again, all those who discovered this way of life are responsible for touting its benefits. The influx of those with opposing political views is not going away. You are not going to live in a society where dissent is not part of the process, The challenge is to hear the words of the speaker, make a judgment and move away. IF you choose to engage in discussion, you are only going to increase the temperature and your efforts to diffuse the argument will only cause you stress. Neither party will convince the other he/she is wrong. Choose you battles.
More importantly, do what you set out to do, enjoy nature, your loved ones, and PEACE.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
10 days ago
Reply to  Wayne

Thank you for your very thoughtful and important message, Wayne. Take care. 😀 –Diane

MattD
11 days ago

As usual, the comments on a subject like this go from thoughtful to obscure, even mean. I just want to add, that in the last 10 years, I have not seen such division in America in my entire life. It makes me very sad this would happen, in a campground no less. Not only as the writer suggests ‘who have we become?’ but also, where are we going? I hope and pray, every day, we don’t become worse and our nation is healed.

suzanne Ferris
11 days ago

Campgrounds be the public or private should be treated as political safe zones ie neither right nor left insignia or signs allowed. We are vulnerable because we don’t choose our neighbors. What if someone decides old people are responsible for this stage four cancer eating the vitals out of our country and takes matters into their own hands with an AK 47?

All of us are at risk when people feel helpless and unable to meet their basic needs. We need to vote better more conciliatory candidates into office now.

Tom S
11 days ago

It seems that, especially since the pandemic, people have lost all sense of how to behave in public, things they should have learned in kindergarten are forgotten.

Kenny G
11 days ago

Indeed this is a very sad story, especially with the children present. What I spend more time thinking about these days is what are our leaders really teaching not only children, but adults too. It should be that we are all Americans in a unique country that has a constitution that protects everybody’s rights. This is just not being emphasized enough or being “taught” by our leaders.

Barz
10 days ago
Reply to  Kenny G

You’re right, Kenny. It is sad. Yes we have a great great constitution….unfortunately as you mentioned, it is “just not being emphasized enough or being taught by our leaders.” Instead, they’re trying to change it. As a former school teacher with many awards, it is hard for me to stomach what is going on in our country and schools. And I for one proudly display my 1960’s vintage bumper sticker that says, AMERICA, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!
P.S. and I love the Mexican people….

Joe Nelson
11 days ago

2 years ago i was sitting in my father in laws front room with my wife and his girlfriend. I was asked my political affiliation. i answered and since it was opposite his he looked at me like the devil had just appeared before his eyes. they tried engaging me and started to argue with my wife. i shut it all down with “i don’t talk politics or religion with family or friends. you’re not going to change my mind nor i yours. its just a good way to lose both”. they tried to get me to respond but i shut that down. then my wife started to argue and i shut that down. i camp with both in quartzsite every year. i notice politics are no longer discussed around the camp fire. i love my family, not a politician who lives 2000 miles away.

Lennie
9 days ago
Reply to  Joe Nelson

You go, Joe. Brilliant comment and way to approach the situation. +1

James
11 days ago

Am I missing some details? Did this happen at a public or private facility? If private why was somebody not staying in the campground allowed to use the facilities that the registered campers are paying for?

Angelack
11 days ago
Reply to  James

Author said regional park, so public. Most regional parks allow day use as well. And why would that matter? So it was ok for this man to do that if the woman was not supposed to be there? You’re missing more than details.

Diane M
11 days ago
Reply to  Angelack

Good answer.

Last edited 11 days ago by Diane M
Ken
11 days ago
Reply to  Diane M

Sounds like the last paragraph of a 10 page story.

Linda Reason
11 days ago

I live in Arizona and moved here from Northern California. Since I moved here I have never seen so much mean spirited people.

Eric
11 days ago
Reply to  Linda Reason

Can’t speak for Arizona, but generally, Californians seem to be tolerant and open minded.

Diane Mc
10 days ago
Reply to  Eric

Not sure where you live in California. We live in Silicon Valley and there is little tolerance and even less open mindedness.

Don
11 days ago

After reading a number of comments on this, I am reminded of something that was passed on to me many years ago, my right of free speech, assembly, etc. ENDS where your rights begin. I am not to derail your pursuit of happiness, nor are you to get in the way of my joy of life. I will add, if your pursuit of happiness includes hatefully simulating a pistol and shooting someone else, you have gone past that line and indeed need to be called down and shown the error of your ways.

KellyR
11 days ago

Are things different than when I was a kid? YEP!, Could I live back in the ’50s?, YEP. HOWEVER, I have not personally run into people hollering, or whatever, at me, or even seen something REALLY stupid. Turn off the TV – they have all of us riled up and afraid.. We used to know only what was happening in our communities. Now we are made aware of every bad thing that happens around the entire world. We are made to believe that it is worse than it actually is around us – BUT it is not AROUND us, like they make us believe.

Irv
11 days ago
Reply to  KellyR

+1

Eric
11 days ago
Reply to  KellyR

That’s right. Think about how many, let’s call them ‘incidents’, that one personally witnesses in their daily life. Then think about how many you have become aware of because they have been gathered and reported as news. Huge difference.
Then there are those who make-up and/or exaggerate bad things happening, in order to manipulate, usually for political purposes (think social media).

KellyR
11 days ago
Reply to  Eric

I am in no way saying that people are not hurting when disaster strikes, but have you ever noticed?: A town floods and “is totally devastated” that every news network has their reporter standing in front of the same house, reporting on how bad things are in that town? They all had to find the one house, or the worst house to stand in front of. You can flip from one network to the other and see the same house, with different reporters. If there were true devastation I would think that the networks would be in different areas of town. Hype it up! Living in Florida, we’ve had people call us from out of state, because of what they have seen on TV, asking us if we survived the weather and there was nothing more than an afternoon thunderstorm, as far as we were concerned.

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