I was out with the Blencathra the day the ban passed, and in Exford at the White Horse that night. Usually busy, the place was almost empty. I spent the next week hunting on Exmoor, talking to people.
The mood was strange, and I tried to understand it. I believe I have, in an odd way.
I was born in fortunate circumstances in the American South, and I am just old enough to remember the end of overt segregation. Raised in a respectful environment, I didn't really begin to understand prejudice and stereotyping until I moved north. There, I found that as soon as I opened my mouth I was ignorant, bigoted, uneducated, and all the other fantasy attributes of the southerner. So I began to "get it" in a direct and personal way.
And I thought I understood the anger and sense of rejection that segregation caused. Talking to black people like Mr. M, who had served through the war with the Third Army, yet couldn't get a non menial job back home, I imagined how it must feel. But I didn't know.
In Exmoor, I saw that a million people had just been made second class citizens in their own country. Parliament told my hunting friends (and me) that we aren't wanted. Our contributions, our efforts, our way of life are all rejected. Our membership in the very society is revoked unless we stop being ourselves and accept our place.
So now I understand a little better. I understand the pilgrims, and I'll do my best to assist any hunting person who wants to come to the U. S. They will make great Americans. (Really, they are already Americans, they just don't live here yet.)
But I don't understand Rosa Parks.
I would have sneaked into the lot late at night, and blown the bus UP.