Jackson, Birthplace of the Republican Party

See those boys in the picture above!? You don’t wanna mess wif em. 🙂

So we’re sittin’ here in the Birthplace of the Republican Party, Jackson, Michigan. Woo-hooo! Hope we see Trent Lott so we can hock a big loogie in his face. Homophobic jackass.

In the last coupla days, we’ve seen a lot of Michigan malls in a lot of Michigan towns, and they all look the same. The roads leading up to them look the same, the same chain stores, the same car washes, the same oil stations, the same drug stores, the same Borders, it’s like you’ve never left when you go into another town.

This is our first journal of the Midwest Trip. Usually we write journals more often, but being that we’ve had so many stops in the last few days we’ve been forced to do a quick Drive-and-Interview-Drive-and–Interview trip style. Exciting, but doesn’t give us much time pause. Once we get to our car to drive somewhere, we just need a rest from typing and talking and can’t stomach typing a journal.

This trip has been everything we’d hoped it would be and more so far. We’re so happy to be able to be finally doing this Midwest Trip. So many things made it hard for us to hit the road again: our memories of being chased in Montana, the fear of more attacks after September 11th, difficulty of saving up enough money to actually do the trip properly, Benjie’s momma was sick and she needed her boys to look after her, and lastly, YGA has become known enough that we’re now featured on a Christian Right website that lists the “Top 10 Most Dangerous Websites Advancing the Gay Agenda.” YESSS!!!! And while it’s an honor to be in such company as GLSEN, OUTPROUD, and NGLTF, who are also on this “Top-10” list, it’s also a bit scary for us since we’re just two guys drivin’ around the country in a little car totally vulnerable to some whacko who might want to.. well…whack us! Fortunately, thanks to your emails urging us to do YGA4, we found the confidence to hit the road again. We love you all.

To get us in the spirit of traveling, while waiting to meet Rachel, Kyle, and Greg in Flint Michigan, we bought three CD’s: Michael Jackson Invincible, Britney Spears Britnney, and Madonna’s greatest hits. Madonna’s greatest hits is like having all your Madonna CD’s onto one. Michael’s CD is pretty damn boring, although we haven’t given it much chance. Britney is definitely a slave 4 us. We admit we bought the album just because we saw the slave 4 u video in Toronto and decided those backup boys should be rewarded with us buying at least one CD. But the best CD so far is the one we got today, Dar Williams’ live CD, which has recordings of her singing at three venues. A must-have for all you folk lovers out there.

Last nite some of the fellas we met in Clare took us out to a club in Lansing known as Paradise. For a Tuesday night, Paradise was the most hoppingest gay bar we’ve ever been to. We all had a blast dancing and being silly. Many thanks out to Nicholas, Joe, Justin, Jesse, Tim, and Josh for showing us a good time! We’re sorry Tommy couldn’t make it, but next time for sure.

It’s remarkable how many people have actual American flags waving off their antennas or hanging off their windows as they go barrelling down the highway. We thought of getting one to put on our car.

There’s a feeling we have that’s kind of hard to explain, that after September 11th, America has grown increasingly patriotic and more unified in its normalcy. It’s funny how it feels like waving an American flag from your car is not just a patriotic act, but also something you do to normalize yourself, to bring yourself into the range of the dominant paradigm. This sort of feeling is echoed when we meet with the gay youth on our trip, who all have terrifying stories to tell of people issuing death threats, of people picking on them, of getting beaten up, or even of a recent story we read in the newspaper about a boy who went home and shot himself in the head after a police officer threatened to tell his parents that he’s gay.

Our conclusion is that America wages its own terrorism, or rather ALLOWS its own terrorism to be waged, upon itself. When we read a sign that says “United We Stand” on the billboard beside Wendy’s, we can’t help but read with a sense of skepticism and cynicism. America is not all so “United.” Or maybe it is, but only as long as you’re considered to be part of the “normal” group. It’s strange when you think of how much U.S. Government money goes to hunting down Bin Laden in the name of saving lives, while our own home-grown anti-gay terrorists endanger the lives of gay kids on a daily basis and there’s no government money (and certainly no army) sent to stop it.

Since this is a theme that we’re sort of hypothesizing at this point, it’s one that we hope we can draw out of the interviews without trying too hard. It seems the prevailing American idiom is to be the bully, whether it’s on individual citizens within the country, or as a nation waging its strength against other nations. Something to be proud of? Not so sure.

Michigan has the most gray days of any state per year. It’s now 3:40 pm. We’ve gone 2824 kilometres. God Bless America.