It’s officially scary, and I don’t mean Halloween.

I went to a good old New England county fair this weekend. Normally a great place to relax, eat some fried things and watch horses pull giant blocks of cement. I did both of those things, and I walked around a bunch.

Man have things changed!

Now I did mention it was a New England county fair, right? Good, because I want to make sure that I remind myself of that too.

New England county fairs evoke images of crisp autumn days, the smell of french fries and apple cider wafting by on the breeze along with the sound of horse tack and tractors. Old guys who still say “Ayuh!”, couples with double-wide strollers who stop dead in the middle of the walkway, pumpkins wider than cows, and buildings full of little crafts done in gingham and maple leaves.

Fads come and go even at county fairs. A few years ago, things made with goats milk started popping up, and now there are definitely less smoked turkey legs than there used to be. Also, this year is an election year…

So somehow 2016 became the year of the redneck. And I say that in an all encompassing way too. I mean redneck can be an insult, but it can also be a compliment, and of course it’s its own culture. Now it’s not necessarily a New England thing since we tend to have more hicks than rednecks, but they’re around. More and more lately though I’ve seen Confederate flag paraphernalia around, and now there’s short and hats and license plate holders that that proudly say “Redneck” on them. That’s different for this area, very different. Of course, this topic may end insulting an entire population without knowing it, and I’m probably making some sort of backwoods faux pas. So if that’s the case, I don’t mean to… mostly.

I guess what I’m saying is that flannel shirts and trucker caps are the new cowboy hats and ironed blue jeans of the 70’s. And the rhinestone cowboys have become cable guys. It’s a new fad, and it carries with it some unpleasant implications. Not all, but some.

Why are there suddenly so many booths selling Confederate flags at fairs in New Hampshire? How come there are now more “I Have a Gun” home protections signs than maple sugar products?? And when was the last time you saw any political candidates swag for sale next to the sausage stand?! And why is it that everyone who is selling Trump political crap, are also wearing Mossy Oak? And if all of that isn’t enough, on the last day of the fair they had to shut down a vendor who was selling cast iron racist figurines and Jim Crow signage! What the hell is going on suddenly?!

Whatever it is, I don’t think this is going to end well. If for some twisted reason Doanld Trump actually were to get elected, do you really think he’s going to use his newfound power to denounce this crap? And if he doesn’t get elected these people are going to be very, very upset. And if you think they’re dangerous now, just think how they will act if they feel they have been cheated out of power.

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