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Welcome to the new normal
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When I speak to friends of mine from other parts of the country, they always make digs about how California is this liberal bastion where everybody eats vegan and nobody owns guns and saying something remotely controversial is punishable by jail time.
And I get it – I understand why there’s that misconception because the way that we do things in California as opposed to, say, Texas, is starkly different.
But on Monday two students at Modesto Junior College were attacked by a man for nothing other, authorities suspect, than the fact that they were Hispanic.
That same day, somebody glued racist posters urging people to “secure a future for the white race” to one of the school’s classroom buildings.
And whether people are willing to admit it or not, this has unfortunately become the new normal in Donald Trump’s America.
No, I’m not saying that the President-elect is racist. But for reasons that are painstakingly obvious, not the least of which was the fact that I was on campus Monday when both of these things happened, the rhetoric that he used to get elected to the highest office in the land is emboldening those who are racist to act out in accordance with their vile ideology.
I realize that some may say – “that’s like trying to blame a gun when it was used by a crazy person to kill people – crazy people are going to do what they’re going to do regardless.” And while the logic is full of holes, it deserves to be pointed out that somebody who makes incendiary comments that they know are going to be interpreted a certain way by a certain group of people, but make them anyway, bear at least some responsibility for the actions carried out by those who were fueled by their words.
Let us not mince words here – racism is real, and for the first time in recent memory there is an entire group of people who feel that their hateful world outlook is substantiated.
While the good racists over at American Vanguard have a right to post whatever it is that they want under the First Amendment, the same amendment also allows the rest of us to tell them that we don’t want it around and their vitriol isn’t welcome.
I’m afraid this is the new normal in America as the most marginalized of all suddenly feel that they have a voice. I realize that’s exactly what we want in American society, but refusing to note that these movements are more than just the hateful screams of a few has had dastardly consequences in the past.

The road to state runs
through Menlo-Atherton
So, my guess last week that Manteca would go up against Cardinal Newman turned out to be wrong.
But in a strange twist, nobody could have expected that the Menlo-Atherton Bears would have been the team that Manteca will face in its second Nor Cal bowl game in the last four years.
All of the prep sports gurus didn’t even have Menlo-Atherton – who played at a D1 level last year – anywhere on the radar for a team like Manteca who smashed through the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs like they were tuning up for their first game of the season.
And if you haven’t had the chance to see them play this year, this might be your last best shot unless you have plans on heading to Southern California if they get through tonight.
Whoever wins this game will play the winner of Paraclete of Lancaster and Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista – and given the capacity issues at Guss Schmiedt Field and the storm that expected to pound Northern California for the better part of the next week, a trip down south will more than likely be in the cards.
But then again, I was wrong last week with my prediction.
Maybe watching the Division 3-A State Championship in the confines of The Family City would be the best Christmas present of all.

This is the season for stealing
Sometimes I wonder whether crime was always as prevalent as it seems and we’re just now finding out about it because of social media accessibility.
Because everywhere I turn this week, all that I’m seeing are pictures and videos of people stealing Christmas presents off the porches of those who purchased them – some even going so far as dressing up as delivery men and acting like there was a mix-up in the packages.
One guy even left a box in the place of the one he stole to sell.
And naturally these stories make me think of what happened to me last year – when a guy pointed a loaded shotgun at me for trying to get a package that had been shipped to our old address so that the kids could have it on Christmas morning.
Now in hindsight the gift that I ended up almost getting shot over turned out to be worth dying for – a fully-operational BB-8 Astromech Droid that was given to the family by my father-in-law. It gave us hours of enjoyment, and seeing the look on the face of the kids – who had just seen The Force Awakens – was priceless.
What happened was my father-in-law sent it to the wrong house, and when we never got it he called the company and had them send another. That one never arrived either, so on Christmas Eve I went over to ask if it had arrived, and found the box sitting on the front porch. The homeowner didn’t like it when I asked about the other one that had arrived earlier – telling me that he had taken it to the post office – so when I went back up to the door to ask which one, he pointed a loaded shotgun at me and told me in no uncertain terms to get off his property.
That was kind of ironic because it was our property not long before it was his, and I didn’t think my line of questioning was worth nearly being shot over.
So, if you’re ordering things off the Internet this year and don’t want them stolen – and you don’t want to nearly be shot – make sure your address is updated with family members and try to be home when you’re expecting the packages to be delivered.
Because this is the season for stealing, whether we like it or not.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.