Club Merkel or Club Trump?

September 8, 2015 § 27 Comments

If you have been following the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, perhaps you’ve been agog at German chancellor Angela Merkel’s bizarre, incomprehensible response to the poor, the wretched, the hungry, and the persecuted, yearning to be free: “Welcome!”

That’s right, folks. Instead of building a wall (U.S.A., Israel, Hungary, DDR), Germany is rolling up its sleeves and getting down to the hard work of accepting and integrating what will shortly be over 800,000 refugees. Sure, there are Germans who believe that the best welcome is a water cannon and a concentration camp, but they are a minority. Merkel’s word on the influx of hundreds of thousands of people pouring in?

“Deutschland schafft es.”

“Germany has this.”

Compare that with the standard bearer for the Republican Party and current GOP front-runner, Mr. I Am Angry Donald Trump. He hates immigrants from Mexico and proposes a wall that Mexico will pay for. Trumpy is pissed off, doesn’t like brown people, and wants to keep everyone away from the table except himself and presumably the handful of white male billionaires like him.

So there I was, jammed into the chute behind Michael Smith, Rico, and Matt Cuttler as we pounded up Mandeville Canyon on the 18-minute interval that is the Holiday Ride. The 80-person peloton had been surgically reduced to a tiny group with the messy, bloody, painful efficacy of a giant liposuction hose and only wheelsuckers remained, glued to Matt’s wheel as he relentlessly tried to reel in the Wily Greek.

Towards the end a few faces who hadn’t been seen the entire ride rushed forth, led by a searing attack courtesy of Big Wanker from La Grange, a strong young buck who clearly believed in making his elders do all the work. Attila Fruttus and Dave Holland scampered off with him. I held his wheel for 200 yards and cracked, experiencing the spectrum of cardiac arrhythmias described here.

I think I got eighth in a non-race that no one counts while everyone raced and counted.

On the way down I chatted with one of the guys, a newcomer from the Midwest. He told me about his few forays down south into Orange County, and about how he’d done the Como Street Ride the day before.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s pretty different down there.”

“How so?”

“Three hours of riding and talking with people and not a single person asked me a single question.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I’d ride next to someone, talk to them about THEM and hear all the details of their life, what they did, but never got any interest the other way. It was a one way street. No one gave a damn.”

“It’s called the Orange Curtain for a reason,” I laughed.

“When I came to the South Bay I was welcomed,” he said. “People asked me to join their club, join their team, join their rides; I spent my first two weeks saying ‘Thanks.'”

“You are a national class bike racer, don’t forget.”

“It’s not that. In the last several months I’ve seen all kinds of people welcomed and have seen zero shunning. It’s just different here.”

“That’s cycling for you,” I said.

“How so?”

“Merkel or Trump,” I said.

He looked at me funny but I didn’t explain.



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§ 27 Responses to Club Merkel or Club Trump?

  • 123456 says:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany must respond to the European refugee crisis with the same resolve it showed in rescuing banks and her government will spend billions of euros to handle the tide of migrants.

  • SurLaJante says:

    I think every time your Mr. Trump gains traction in the presedential contest the rest of the world involuntarily shudders.

  • Winemaker says:

    This whole situation reminds me of a Ten Years After song called “I’d Love to Change the World…”

  • Brian in VA says:

    Club Merkel, here, too. Every time Trump makes some kind of statement, I find myself thinking, “Dogdamn, America, really?”

    Finally, presidential elections have reached the reality show stage. I knew it was coming……

  • dangerstu says:

    Strangely part of this mornings post were missing, from here behind the orange curtain.

    I secretly hope that people have a sense of humour, and they are voting for him just to see what s#it he is going to say next, unless you live in Atlantic City that is because you know what he’s capabilities at taking the money and running are

  • leo_d says:

    Thanks for that heart article Seth. I’m in OC, equidistant from PV Donut and Irvine Foodpark Saturday rides.

    I leave early for Donut, although as an aging racer with 36 years in the sport, perhaps my heart has done enough, so I typically drop myself, near Donald Trump’s resort btw.

    and yes South Bay rides/riders rock!

  • worthy10 says:

    I spent years On the Demo Crew at Como and Fred Park. I too a Texas Imigrant. Was always generous in assigning Nicky’s to both the old and the New Idiots on the OC rides. Not surprised to hear the Dept of Fun and Nicky’s pulled the plug after my Adios. We have better roads… But all in all it’s just another re-brick in The Wall.

  • dan martin says:

    The real problem is what is creating the refugees. No one seems to have a solution for that. I’m sure giving Iran nukes and billions of dollars will help. On the inside they are really just a bunch of nice guys.

  • Uncle Jam's Army says:

    Sorry to hear about the Midwesterner’s bad experience at Como Street. Not sure how he spent three hours talking to people on the ride, as the ride is only about 80 minutes long.

    I took my 14-year-old son out for his first Como Street ride early this year and some juniors invited him to join their team. Also, when he got dropped (without me noticing) two riders came up to me and told me he had dropped. I thanked them for letting me know and dropped back to ride with him the rest of the route.

    My group of friends and I have made a bunch of new friends on both the Food Park and Como Street ride who were newcomers. We might not be the most well mannered (or well washed), but we do welcome newcomers. Anything to make the ride bigger is good.

    • Uncle Jam's Army says:

      Oh, one other thing. . . . I guarantee you we have way more Mexicans on our OC rides than you guys in the South Bay. In fact, I spend equal time talking English and Spanish on the rides. So take that Club Trump.😜

      • fsethd says:

        Sorry you think this post was about the OC. It was about inclusiveness. Everyone’s experienced alienation and unfriendliness on rides as a new face, here, there, everywhere. I’m not sure what your comment about Mexicans is supposed to mean, except perhaps a nice humble brag about your Spanish language skills. And don’t be afraid to use your real name. Thanks for commenting.

    • fsethd says:

      Nice to hear!

  • Richape says:

    So true. My wife and I lived in Huntington Beach for a couple of years, she could not stand the image consciousness of OC. We soon moved back to the South Bay, where flip flops and tussled hair are not deemed unacceptable. In the South Bay, that scruffy person ahead of you in the 99 Cent Store check out line could be a multi-millionaire!

  • Kris says:

    Trump is proof that Idiocracy wasn’t just a movie starring Luke Wilson…

    • fsethd says:

      The Know Nothing Party, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, President Woodrow Wilson and his attack on “hyphenated Americans” … it’s a strain that’s been around for a long time.

  • Tom Paterson says:

    It’s the Sociopathic vote.

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