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Making a Political Statement vs. Being an Antagonistic Troll

In the small, upstate NY town where I live, there’s a guy that drives around with a confederate flag perched in his flatbed. I saw him the other day for the first time. Another driver motors through town in a pick-up (there’s a trend here) with an enormous sticker urging his literate neighbors to “Kiss My Country Ass”, a piece of down-home advice that can only be interpreted as a political, and completely batshit, middle-finger to the majority.
Because here, outside of a collegetown with the reputation as “progressive”, we tend to see adversarial, outward displays like this quite often by those riled up over ideological differences (Those progressives aren’t innocent either). And since politics and religion – already deeply embedded with one another – offer so many points in which to tether our egos, the left-right dynamic is stark, vitriolic, and antagonistic. Just like everywhere else, I guess.
But regardless where one stands in the blue-red paradigm, we can all agree that those who antagonize others for the sole purpose of antagonizing aren’t making statements; they’re just being assholes. This is an important distinction to keep in mind, since those who’ve convinced themselves that [Confederate Flag + Latest race-related injustice + Jacked-up truck, BRO! = A Swell Idea] are unlikely to have anything of substance to say on the matter.
Maybe the guy with the confederate flag – or the Country-Assed trucker, or the small-town business owner with anti-Obama propaganda posted to his roadside sign – had everything flushed out in his own head, had worked out the calculus of his own brazen activism. Except, while dude-man rolls down Main Street thinking, “Here comes an AMERICAN,” I’m left thinking, “There goes a prick”.