They’re pleasant folks, the ones you meet on hiking trails. My wife and I know this from years of small talk with strangers in national parks. The outdoors tends to air people out, freshen them up. Either that, or hikers simply are the salt of the earth.
Imagine our astonishment, then, when we entered a gift shop at Big Bend National Park and heard venom. “He’s so bleeping stupid,” someone was cursing. “What a dumb-bleep. I can’t believe our country is run by such a bleeping dumb-bleep.”
Scowling, a couple in their mid-thirties glared at the cable TV mounted near the postcards. On the screen, President Bush was addressing the nation. They were too loud to listen. I snuck a peek at their faces. Creased. Hostile. The combined image – lone face speaking calmly to others who hissed vulgarities – reminded me of the Two Minutes Hate scene from Orwell’s 1984.
Only a leader as incompetent and destructive as Bush could interrupt the tranquil environs of a national park to elicit such incivility. Right?