Deja Vu or Total Surprise?

I thought this might be interesting for those of you who don’t recognize the times we’re living in:

 

Imagine that, huh? Yes, we have been here before.

The thing is, the revolution is being televised but very few know what they’re seeing. The longer it goes unseen the more bad decisions will be made.

Just overheard in a restaurant:

Real Mexicans… Hispanics… don’t eat spicy food. That’s only in restaurants.

A Damn Good Start

It was just about 30 years ago on one of my many temporary escapes from the madness that is human society that I encountered a young man who’d just made his own escape from a “youth camp” in the San Gabriel Mountains. I’d known about that camp for years and had even considered when I was about that young man’s age that I might soon enough end up in residence there. It was where the state sent young males it wasn’t quite ready to give up on yet. That it was in the forest didn’t make it any less a prison — the views from Alcatraz are quite nice, too.

I knew as soon as I saw the kid where he’d started his morning. There was just nothing else that might send a young man in street clothes that far into those mountains at that time of year carrying only a few filched snacks in his pocket and an empty plastic drink bottle in his hand. I was more surprised to see him than he was to see me — I was there because it was a place where only a few cross-country skiers go in winter, it was rare to see even them, and they didn’t hang around long because the days are short and the trailhead far away. When I saw him I chose to forget that I knew he could only be some variety of fugitive from the system. As far as I’m concerned, all such fugitives from that particular system are by definition good people who deserve a fair break they’re unlikely ever to get.

I’d just finished washing my breakfast dishes and was enjoying a cup of coffee when the young man came into the camp looking like he wasn’t sure whether relief or fear was the appropriate response. He hesitantly asked if there was somewhere about where he could fill his bottle with water, so I fed him breakfast and coffee before answering. A kid who didn’t know where to find water surely didn’t know where he was going to find his next hot meal, so it was important to me to make sure that he got one. He wanted to tell me his story, but I convinced him to save it. I didn’t need to know that I was contributing breakfast and information to the delinquency of a fugitive minor, and neither did anyone else he might encounter who might help him along his way. After he finished his breakfast and a last cup of coffee, I hurried him on his way by walking him over to the spring where he filled his bottle, and then to the gap in the summit ridge to show him the way down the mountain. I told him to stay in the footprints I’d made on the way up the day before because either side of my trail was where disaster was waiting — most of that route was a series of avalanches just waiting to happen and being cautious increased your chances of survival but didn’t in any way guarantee that you’d be alive when you reached the base of the slope. Then I warned him that he should not stick out his thumb on the side of any road in that mountain range, gave him a box of waterproof matches and told him that if he got into trouble on the way down he should hole up near the trail and stay warm until I made my way down the mountain the next day. His eyes got wide like he’d not considered that he might enter treacherous country on his quest.

The next day I found that he’d made it out safely, at least as far as the campground beyond the trailhead where our paths diverged. His tracks turned toward the road where mine continued to where my car was parked, and having no answers I didn’t want any questions so I neither followed his tracks nor asked any question of those who may have seen him pass. The only way to find a reason to believe someone had helped the kid in some way was to climb that mountain behind me, and any who’d done so from the other side (as the young man had) were still up there so I wanted to be gone before they radioed down to get someone to record license plate numbers in the area.

I hope he made it, and has been living life since on his own terms. I’m pretty certain that he didn’t even know that he was leaving much of his childhood on that mountain until long after the fact, but that’s what he was doing. He left it in those tracks that later washed down the mountain with the snow, and I can think of no better place for it. It took genuine courage for that kid to start out that morning, and he got down off of the mountain alone. It would be a tragedy for someone to have taken that away from him, be it “for his own good” or just to keep the system funded by proving that it remained capable of ruining lives.

That kid would be right around 45 years old now, I suppose. I’m really very curious to know his version of it — it’s a helluva story even if it ended in heartbreak. The most likely outcome is that he blundered back into the world he’d known before the system got its claws into him, the system found him there, and then locked him in a different cage with no forest around it. My hope, though, is that he made it and was able to make good use of the things he learned about himself on that day on that snowy mountain. A single experience like that one doesn’t make a man of you, but it’s a damn good start.

 

 

Huck Fillary, Bill Doewanna.

It seems that Brother Bernie has got all those folks who profited handsomely from this bullshit model we call Reaganomics thinking that it’s time to overdrive the propaganda machine into overload.

Ain’t it just a mite curious that we’ve got politricksters and pundits trying to tell us that Americans are not a people with innate revolutionary instincts and that all great social progress has come to us by way of incremental concessions won by politicians? It’s as if they’re telling us to forget our history.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not an incremental thing. It was divisive, and it wasn’t politically feasible. The civil rights movement made so much noise that the media couldn’t ignore it any more, and when the nation got a look at what was going on they forced the politicians to act. Hillary Clinton knows this. Every American who was alive then knows this.

The New Deal was not really an incremental thing. It was an ongoing project, to be sure, but that First 100 Days was a busy time for FDR’s administration. He had to steamroll over the obstructionist Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress with the weight of the populist movement that elected him, and then had to stare down the Supreme Court in what could have become a constitutional crisis. Everyone who’s graduated from high school since knows this, too, so surely Hillary Clinton knows it.

I could go on, but if the point’s not made then I’m incapable of making it.

If you lived as an American while those things were happening or were educated in America after they happened, you already know that everything I just wrote about the New Deal and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is true. You might not know of the extreme violence the capitalist industrialists and the governments they’d corrupted used to suppress the labor movement for several decades before the New Deal, but surely Hillary Clinton does. That violence used to suppress the movements for labor and civil rights was the establishment response to just plain old everyday people standing squarely over their own two feet and saying enough is enough, we will be abused and exploited no longer. And the violence did not deter those courageous people, who fought on and eventually won.

Hillary Clinton knows that we are a people of innate revolutionary urges and that we can be counted upon to get uppity when it’s well past time to get uppity. We’ve got a long history of it. Her problem is that her wealth and power come from a system we don’t like very much right now, and her wealthy benefactors who control that system are getting very nervous. So Hillary doesn’t want us getting uppity.

Which is just another way of saying that she wants to keep us down. That seems reason enough to wait a while longer before electing our first female president.

A Somewhat Different Perspective

I watched the last Democratic Party debate with some interest, as you might imagine a freak like me would. What struck me most about the whole thing was just how united O’Malley and Clinton were against Bernie in delivering the message that only incremental change is possible and pissing the wrong people off is quite costly. The message to the voter, delivered very clearly, was to be very afraid because the masters will take everything back if the masses get uppity.

Though it was the same attack when it came to Wall Street, I’ll just look at the health care side of it because it’s more easily grasped by my old and stoned mind.

Two human beings claiming at every opportunity to be compassionate people got up on a stage in front of the whole world and said that political obstacles are so great and important that we, the public they ostensibly represent, must continue suffering and dying rather than standing up to say that universal access to health care is a moral issue and our continued inability to address it as such is unconscionable. We aren’t supposed to think about the matter in those terms, which is why the establishment politicians threatened that if we acted out of compassion for the 29 million of our neighbors who have no health insurance and the millions more who can’t afford to use their Affordable Care Act coverage they would take our own health insurance away.

The implication was that it wouldn’t be they themselves who would take our health insurance away, it would be the common enemy who hates us for our freedoms and wants to destroy our way of life. We fall for that shit every time. So far.

It was curious to me that when the topic was health care or free tuition the attack was “how ya gonna pay for that?”, but when the topic was bombing little brown people in faraway lands no one asked that question. Money for slaughter we got, money for our own poor and sick and disadvantaged we ain’t got. I just don’t see how anyone with a modicum of common human compassion could defend such a thing, but I just watched two ostensibly liberal establishment politicians tell us all that we should vote for that as the best possible outcome.

Ya know, I’m fixin’ to get either real proud of or real disgusted by America.

The Deer May Have Survived!

I went back to the scene of the fright today during daylight, and all signs indicate that the deer we clobbered last night got up and walked away, and wasn’t even limping. There’s maybe a half teaspoon of blood on the snow, I’m guessing from a wound she would have got from the bumper trim that came loose in the impact.

If she lived she’s sore as hell right now, but my great hope is that all she is is sore and smarter than she was yesterday.

A Lousy Night For A Motoring Adventure

Tonight was not quite so glorious a night for a winter drive. The roads have been slick since yesterday and the deer are out in full force to take advantage of feeding time between storms — but when they’d rather not be, due to the darkness of the night with the sliver of a crescent moon hidden behind clouds. And when I’d rather they weren’t out and about, too, because the darker the night the more easily dazzled by the headlights the critters will be. All in all tonight was a very good night for staying home.

Our first deer encounter came before we even got out of town. I was paying attention to a pickup truck in the suicide left turn lane traveling the same direction we were with its left turn signal on but drifting dangerously to the right. As in right into the side of our truck if I’d not reacted. Just as we got safely clear of that hazard, Amethyst called out, “Deer! In the middle of the road coming from the left in front of us!”. It was the first time she’d seen a critter on the road before I did, and I congratulated her once the deer was safely off the road and behind us. I was impressed that she got all of the important information conveyed, too. “Deer!” by itself conveys almost nothing — it can mean anything from oh joy I’ve seen a precious Bambi to oh my fucking god two monster bucks are about to crash through the windshield.

It seemed kind of a big thing that Amethyst saw the deer before I did. Right after luring her to my mountain lair I took her out on a tour of the place and lucked into seeing a herd of antelope not terribly far from the road and near a safe parking place, too. I pulled in and parked, guessed that the nearest members of the herd were only about sixty yards straight out through the windshield (which is unusually close for antelope), and then Amethyst asked, “Why did you stop?”. I answered that I didn’t know if she’d ever seen antelope so close before, and after looking around a bit she asked, “What antelope?”. It took her about two minutes to see them, and I’ve not let her live it down. She may be getting close to it, though, having spotted that one before I did tonight AND telling me right where to look for it. Amethyst, friends and neighbors, is a very high quality co-pilot!

With the world being slick and the deer being on the move, Amethyst stayed on lookout as we moseyed along the highway at no more than 40 miles per hour. Being pretty good at this driving around in the Rockies thing, I had my really super good high beam headlights on and my instrument panel and cell phone both dimmed to almost dark — and despite our vigilance neither I nor Amethyst saw the next doe we encountered until it was too late. I braked, covered but didn’t sound the horn (because we were too close for it to be wise), and for just an instant she gave me hope by pausing. But it was just for an instant before bolting and angling across our path in front of us. It would have been the right decision to run away at an angle across our path and then make a fast turn toward the direction of attack had we been a mountain lion bearing down on her at an angle from her rear, but while mountain lions can’t turn as fast as mule deer a mule deer can’t run as fast as a Dodge Ram.

It was the instinctive so expected but wrong decision, so I opened up the (startlingly loud) horn to alert any other drivers in the area that something bad was happening as I angled the truck as close to parallel to her heading as I could safely manage. The deer was surely a goner no matter what I did but Amethyst and I would fare better if the truck weren’t disabled alongside a very dark and soon to be icy highway. The right front corner of the truck hit the doe just a behind her left front shoulder and the whiplash broke her neck.

We both feel really shitty about it. Road kills are disrespectful as hell.

The truck got off easy, with just a headlight knocked loose and a bit more tweak of an already slightly tweaked bit of plastic bumper trim. We were both very, very surprised to see so little damage — it’s practically unheard of here in the land of intimidating truck bumpers. And I say only that it’s practically unheard of because there’s a guy who works at the truck dealership who’s heard of everything that ever happened and a whole lot more that ain’t.

I’ve been wanting new headlights anyway to take better advantage of the other headlight system upgrades I’ve already done and which have proven their value many times in the past by way of avoided animal strikes. I was thinking before Amethyst said that they’re what got me enough reaction time to be able to minimize the damage/maximize our safety tonight, so the broken headlight makes the point that updating the headlights is a task now due.

I figure I owe the world that much. And I figure it’d be downright shitty of me to not try to be more careful in the future after I’ve accidentally killed something that had every right to be who and what and where it was and do what it did. I had the same right, but as the survivor I get the survivor’s guilt.

And those new headlights I’ve been wanting.