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The pickup truck had a Confederate flag license plate on the front bumper and a big “Trump 2020 No More Bullshit" flag flying on a pole in the bed.

(Trump-Confederate imagery is popular in my neck of the far western Kentucky woods. More on that in a minute.)

The driver, a white guy, piled out with a white woman and a kid, presumably his kin, and headed, maskless and socially undistanced, into a video rental store.

Sitting masked and hand-sanitizer at the ready in my car, with the windows rolled up, I thought of Michael Steele and Joy Reid’s recent musings on MSNBC.

The fact that we have to…literally beg people to wear a mask, to save their own dumb ass from getting sick—I’m sorry, to me it is beyond the imagination.

Trump true believers who spurn masks “don’t care," said Steele, a former Republican national committee chair who's an MSNBC regular, on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. “I’ve talked to enough of them over the last few days…At this point, it’s like 'save who you can save, because there’s only so much you can do.'

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“There’s only so much you can say. The fact that we have to…literally beg people to wear a mask, to save their own dumb ass from getting sick—I’m sorry, to me it is beyond the imagination.”

Reid, host of The ReidOut with Joy Reid, was equally exasperated and blunt. “One of the loudest and frankly whiniest rallying cries from Donald Trump’s base is that they’re the victims,” she said, adding that it’s palpable “everywhere in Trump’s America, from the outrage over affirmative action and immigration, and somehow the theft of their jobs, or their status, to now the loss of freedom to a 7-inch piece of cloth.

“That is, of course, the mask—the mask! The lifesaving object that’s supposedly robbing America of its promise of life. liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This belief that mask wearing, really all Covid restrictions, are somehow assaults on our freedom, is being legitimized not just by Donald Trump but also by William Barr [Trump’s attorney general who likened Covid restrictions to slavery].”

A postscript: Trump-Confederate flag combos are sprouting hereabouts like those nasty, noxious fall mushrooms. Some of the faithful keep their Trump banners company with a flag that’s half Stars and Stripes and half Confederate. The flag is a favorite of white nationalist-white supremacist and neo-Confederate groups and right-wing militia outfits.

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Anyway, I heard a Washington Post reporter say on MSNBC that some people--she meant whites--will vote for Trump despite his racism. The tandem Trump-Confederate flags are more proof—as if it were needed—that a lot of white folks dote on The Donald because of his racism.

Berry Craig