Unlike back when I was in my 20s and went months without leaving the concrete jungle, these days I spend as much time and money as I can afford driving or taking buses north, west, and south of the city, whether to visit friends and family members who have been priced out of areas like Somerville and Mission Hill or to simply hunt for rural pleasures like New England cider donuts. I love the foliage around this time of year and basically adore the autumn up and down the seaboard. But these voyages and afternoon adventures also lead to witnessing and sometimes interacting with a different demographic than I typically spent time with back when I lived in landlocked Jamaica Plain with no car.
In the Trump era, exiting city limits means having to encounter his supporters in the sort of public places where conservatives who live closer to downtown are more careful about tucking in their ignorance. By the time you enter Norfolk county heading south on 93, you often might as well be in South Carolina. From the sheer number of voters who actually pulled for Trump in 2016, to more anecdotal horrors such as bumper stickers that pose blatant threats to liberals, it’s hardly friendly territory for a person who, say, doesn’t masturbate to the idea of families getting separated at the border.
In my recent cruises through the suburbs and beyond, I have been horrified but not surprised to see lawn after lawn littered with signs for Geoff Diehl, the Trump-loving Republican state pol who’s challenging Elizabeth Warren for her seat in the United States Senate. What some may see as just another faceless placard with a creatively cliche red, white, and blue campaign logo is actually a whole lot more—it’s a dog whistle for like-minded disgusting anti-immigration bigots, and a semisurreptitious warning sign to neighbors and those driving by who embrace multicultural America: Stay the fuck away from this house. There’s nothing cute about it; your uncle in the ’burbs who tells black jokes at family picnics and supports those who wreak havoc on poor people and women isn’t just some quirky old codger; he’s a menace to our civilized society and should be publicly humiliated or at least kept far away from impressionable children.
This week we have an article about thin blue line flags that are flown in solidarity with Blue Lives Matter, a pro-cop movement born as a reactionary rubber to the Black Lives Matter glue that’s bonded so many Americans of decent conscience. Our news piece does a comprehensive job of digging at the roots of this insanely heinous gesture, and I will add that many Blue Lives Matter flags are hung on houses that are also flanking Diehl signs—I assume as some kind of reminder for lefties and minorities who missed the initial message.
I can’t speak for everybody who opposes every vile idea that a bimbo goon like Diehl has ever cooked up, but I’m not alone in hearing loud and clear the message that they’re trying to communicate.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.