And when will we learn that it's hate that breeds hate?
Only love is the cure, don't leave it too late.
Those are some wise words from a song called Dark Days by New Zealand group Fat Freddy's Drop — a band that's been getting a lot of playtime on my trip so far. And this theme has weaved itself through my trip. Everyone knows who the President of the United States is. What he represents, in the wider scheme of things, varies depending on who you are. I've met wonderful, kind and generous people on this trip who believe Donald Trump is genuinely good for the United States. If I've learnt anything in my twenty six years on the planet, it's that nothing is ever black and white; there's infinite shades of grey.
A lot of Americans that I've spent time with have discussed their escape plans — Australian citizenship, a move to Europe or disappearing into the bush where no one can find you. Some talk in jest, while others possess a more serious tone when discussing these plans. But when things get hard, are we meant to run away?
What's impacted me most are the countless acts of rebellion in the face of fear-mongering and attempts to spread hatred amongst this vast and diverse nation. Or, more accurately, the sea of nations that we call the United States of America. These acts of rebellion are acts of love and of hope in the face of fear and hatred. They unite people in a way that hatred never can. They appeal to the best in all of us, and it's heartening to see so many examples of it throughout my travels so far. However subtle or simple, these acts aggregate to a huge outpouring of love and resilience in our current world. It shows us that we can always find common ground with anyone, anywhere.
Last week I rode into a little town of four hundred people in Northern California. A group of old pine trees lined the right hand side of the road, standing guard over the town as they swayed in the afternoon breeze. Nailed to these trees were the following signs:
"In Point Arena we believe that:
No human is illegal
Diversity is strength
All lives have value
Water is life
Science is real
Kids are the future
...And kindness is everything!"
The little community had taken it upon themselves to make a statement in the face of all that isn't right in their world. They seek to make it clear that what is happening in this country is not being done in their name. But, most importantly, they are using love and kindness to make this known, instead of anger and hatred.
Here's a few other examples of those little acts of rebellion I've seen in the last few days. There's been countless more, and I'm sure there's more to come.