Hate in the Open + Almost Half Way There


MARK:  Closing in on half way across the country …but with a sore butt.   Read Mark’s update here on his blog- click here.



MELODY: This part of the country is confusing to me.   There is so much cowboy history and rancher/farmer machismo around here that when we went to a local town tavern in Nebraska yesterday and I noticed some guys in flip flops and khaki shorts, I immediately said to Mark that those guys were not from here. I suspected they were from the “city” somewhere (turns out, Omaha) but they certainly did not fit the mold of the “Out West” man. This is stagecoach country. The men around here are descended from cowboys and pioneers. They are proud that they took land from the Indians (and there are historical markers everywhere to make sure we know all about it). These men are proud to be Americans in their America. Guys around here wear work boots, big belt buckles (sometimes with their names), old jeans and cowboy hats. They swagger. Many of them are carrying guns (they don’t hesitate to show you). They go to rodeos for entertainment and hate Hillary and Obama with pride and passion. It appears they hate lots of other things, too.

When we stopped for lunch today (hoping for a good piece of pie)  at a local restaurant in western Nebraska, I got quite a shock when I read this note that was posted next to the cash register.   tight dog message UGH

THIS IS THE LAST MESSAGE ABOUT MY DOG! PLEASE DON’T BOTHER ME ANYMORE!! In response to all the recent e-mails about my dog, please be advised that I am sick and tired of answering questions about him. Yes, he bit six people wearing Obama T-shirts, four people wearing Hillary T-shirts, two car drivers blasting Rap music from their vehicles, nine teenagers with their pants hanging past their butt cracks, three flag burners and a taxi driver from the Middle East. For the last time…THE DOG IS NOT FOR SALE. No, I do not approve of his smoking, but he says it helps get the “bad taste” out of his mouth.”



I felt physically ill after reading this. How do you make sense of this? I mean, this note was proudly displayed in a restaurant filled with American flags, dozens of crosses on the walls, a ceramic cowboy boot collection and a poster of a solider going to war with the caption “Our Heroes.”  The place was packed with families who had just left church and were coming for Sunday lunch. WHY is this OK? Because they agree with it. Sitting there and eating in that restaurant filled with references to God and country gives them the illusion of power in an America that doesn’t exist anymore.

wall with flags, crosses and poster with family eating

This is the America I am not proud of, especially right now while I am reeling from the murder and mayhem happening all around us (Orlando, Dallas, Minnesota, and on and on and on) while Mark is biking across the country. We’ve seen flags lowered to half-staff twice during this trip. I hope we don’t have to see it again.

Fascinating point: that “dog not for sale” note was posted under this quote from Thomas Jefferson.

“If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it’s the responsibility of every American to be informed.”

Food for thought.   all the messages taped next to cash register










9 Responses to “Hate in the Open + Almost Half Way There

  • Suzanne
    8 years ago

    Unfortunately, I am not one bit surprised. I can’t say anything more on a public forum. It’s enough to say I grew up in Nebraska. 🙁

    • Melody Gilbert
      8 years ago

      Thank you for sharing, Suzanne. It was certainly something new for us and I hope I don’t see too much of that again on this trip. It’s very unnerving.

  • Kyle Renell
    8 years ago

    It’s called redneck humor… vile.

  • Jill Cousins
    8 years ago

    The fact that someone thought that was funny is truly disgusting. Melody, I wish you could post that “dog not for sale” note on Facebook and give a wider audience an idea of what kind of prejudice is alive and well in this country.

  • C Dan Dugan
    8 years ago

    I am amazed this note about the dog has caused you this reaction. It is a humorous statement concerning the type of America we now have. Most of us in the “west” or rural America are very independent and think for ourselves. We get the underlying meaning here and it is not hatred or bigotry or ignorance. It is that fact that we do not like our president ruling like a king, making apologies for America to other nations. We do not like ILLEGAL immigrants given free reign and our hard earned tax dollars, while spitting on our flag and many committing heinous crimes. It means we do not like people who dis-respect not only themselves but everyone else by showing off their private anatomy, blasting their choice of music so it is forced on the rest of us. No manners, no respect of others, or self. We are tired of the liberal community thinking we are nothing but dumb hicks because we choose to live free. We do not want a criminal (Hillary) to be president simply because she is female and been around forever. She has clearly stated she wants to take our guns, kill our babies, and turn this country into a place where no one is ok except those that follow her liberal agenda.

    Those folks you put down in that restaurant are the people who made America what it is and why everyone wants to come here. They found the humor in a situation they have no control over. If they were truly the kind of people you accuse them of, you would have never made it out of town. I am sure they welcomed you, spoke kindly with you, were greatly interested in what you and your husband are doing. I’ll even bet they treated you with respect and would give you anything you need to help if it was necessary. They certainly are not ignorant, they know what is going on in the world around them, far more so than most who have grouped up in the big cities and huddle under the government’s direction and supervision. The sign suggests they are paying close attention. I certainly am sorry you are unable to see the humor offered, that you cannot expand yourself farther to understand these good people are the very reason you and your husband get to do what you are doing.

    By the way, I met you at a rest stop just outside Swan Valley, Idaho. If you forgot me and my wife spoke to you, gave you directions on the best places to ride and stay and eat. I am the one that told you Jesus makes me alive…I am one of these so called bigots and haters you talk about. See if you can find any hatred or bigotry in our interaction. Just look at your video. And I think the sign posted is funny.

    • Hi, C Dan. I think Melody and I are both game for discussion and debate about the challenges facing our country. But when those complicated and very debatable issues are couched in racist and bigoted code language, it does nothing to open dialogue. It screams of close-mindedness, fear-mongering and xenophobia. And to people who live in a multicultural world, it says “my way or the highway.” And, no, we didn’t think it was funny. Not even a little. And we didn’t think it was appropriate for a business serving a wide variety of people with, hopefully, a wide variety of opinions. That being said, we appreciated our conversation with you and you and your wife were lovely to us. But the world isn’t as simple as “keep ‘them’ out” and everything will be all right, we don’t think. The world is changing. We have to change with it and learn to live with one another. We’re trying to do that. Are you?

  • Gretchen Farrar-Foley
    8 years ago

    Sad. That this is what middle America is like. Scary that the ignorance is so rampant. Thanks for sharing.

  • C Dan Dugan
    8 years ago

    I agree the world is not a simple place. I also agree there are people on each side of many issues. I fail to see a “code” language. Pretty clear these people do not like our current president or his policies. It is also clear these people do not like the democratic nominee either. I understand there are many who think having our own identity as a nation is wrong, that we should have open borders and welcome anyone who has the where-with-all to get in. I, and I am sure the people you call bigots and haters, welcome every immigrant who comes to this country legally. I am not ever going to be ok with those coming illegally and then being given our tax dollars, rights and benefits of being a citizen. Obviously neither are those citizens in Nebraska. As for “the world is changing and we need to change with it” statement I have noticed we have to do all the changing (the ones who think the sign is humorous, agree with conservatism, and patriotism) are the one expected to do all the changing. You mention learning to live with one another yet you are the ones calling the names, being offended, and presenting an off-putting demeanor. Did anyone treat you like that while you were in the restaurant? Or in that town? or in Nebraska? Or anywhere else you have been? It seems we are getting along but you want us all to change to your way of thinking. Have you learned to live with us?

  • C Dan Dugan
    8 years ago

    And by the way, I happen to have PhD level of education. I am very involved in the election cycle, following every candidate closely. I believe that is my duty as a citizen of this country. Ignorance means we do not know something, or it means we are somehow less intelligent than others. I believe you will find much less ignorance in that restaurant in Nebraska than in the large cities and liberal gatherings anywhere back East. Save you piety for someone who may need it, Gretchen. We do not need to be looked down on just because we all do not think like you do.