Tag Archives: Politics

Unplugged

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good…oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.
(Not written by, but made tearfully famous by Eric Burden in 1965)

Changes. They’re harder when we get older but are often worth the struggle. I just got back from a week in CT, my home state. A family member I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years called because she needed me. I did not hang up on her, I got on a plane. A highly emotional reconciliation and physically demanding visit followed. It was wonderful. I have been telling people all my life I have no family but now that has changed, and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. She had me ROFL when she said, in all earnestness, “well you know you come from a long line of over-reacters.” Ha ha, like you don’t? I laughed so hard I fell off the couch.

I spent the week ‘unplugged,’ my first since the beginning of the computer age. No email, no google, no Trayvon, no bitter news to keep me in a constant state of agitation. (First thing I read when I got back though was this unholy alliance between Hollywood and Washington. It’s always been there, but this spectacle splashed all over front pages everywhere makes me sick in a whole new way—two professional groups of liars teaming up, a powerful fusing of the sordid with the corrupt. America, running on a currency of lies and coverups is now one big hateful reality show. Incontinent conservatives, please stop! You’re HELPING him!) But my hiatus was freeing, and had begun before I left. Too ashamed to dispense my moody posts, too involved in my own demise to comment on others. I apologize to my friends for neglecting you, but I do not sparkle with wit and humor, I crackle with confrontation and cynicism.  My friend Harry from The Fool Folds his Arms had these wise words:  I sometimes wonder if the Internet was invented to keep people occupied and passive while the powerful continue to chip away at what little they don’t control already. Well put Harry.

When I got home I learned of two shocking deaths here in AZ. The first was an older woman I adored, cancer. It happened fast and I didn’t know and I still can’t believe it.

The second was the untimely death of a young man whom I had struck from my life because of his cruelty toward his animals. I grew to hate him. I will not miss him but I am not glad he is gone. Like wishing for revolution and getting it, then cowering as the new regime inflicts more aggression and brutality than the last, I can’t know what will replace him. His (very nice) family is dumping the house cheap. Is it wrong of me to feel in my heart it’s about to get worse? No, it is merely experience speaking for me—I can’t unknow the past. Does the deletion of a selfish person add balance to the world? Absolutely not. It doesn’t work that way.

Here are a few pictures from around town this week.

I tried to research this bird but could not be sure what it is. Can anyone help? Saw him along the San Pedro River.

We don’t get many bluebirds in my neighborhood so this was a treat. He hung around for a few days and now he’s gone. But the exotic orioles are beginning to arrive, and they too, are just passing through. Time to buy oranges. The swallows are back and rebuilding their porch light nest with great dedication and style.

Funny young pigeon watching me at a customer’s house. I was so flattered how close he let me come to him.

These new solar panels in the historical part of town have got everyone’s panties in a twist. Irate letters to the local papers abound…’the town wouldn’t let me put a carport in because it wasn’t historical!’ and ‘why didn’t you make them put the panels IN BACK OF the inn?’ etc., etc. Now I learn they are selling the power generated from these back to the power company. What do you think?

Look familiar? Although not the exact model as “Christine,” they used several models in the movie and this ’59 Plymouth Savoy was one of them. I love the flag on the antenna. Don’t see many American flags around here.

 

What will Future Generations be Nostalgic for?

No one can agree on the status of Earth in 50 years. Thousands of articles speculate, but “experts” are divided. Some say overpopulation and global warming will cause our destruction, others predict certain populations will decrease or die out. Some envision large scale nuclear war, others urge us to go forth and breed. Some say advances in medicine will wipe out disease, others say we’re all going to die from viruses, AIDS or starvation. Some say we will be communicating through chips imbedded in our bodies.

The commenters are just as virulent as ever, with about three quarters of them attacking people who try to express an opinion in a rational way. No article that I read had intelligent discussion, and almost every comment was nearly unreadable due to ignorance of basic language skills, excessive use of caps, and general internet abuse. It’s impossible to write an article on the future of the world without mentioning race in a scientific way, spawning openly racist comments such as “good, I hope they all die out, the world doesn’t need any more white people.” Many commenters blame the fat, gluttonous, greedy American public for the planet’s demise. Even the civil wars raging in other countries are somehow America’s fault. No one mentions that people have been killing and enslaving each other for 200,000 years, while America has only existed for a little over 200 years. Most Americans don’t leave vicious comments or any comments at all. So nobody hears us.

If you believe that Islam is a peaceful ‘religion’ with just a few fringe factions, why can’t America be granted the same indulgence? What about all the good people here—the animal rescue volunteers, the women’s shelter volunteers, the volunteer fire departments, EMTs, and ambulance drivers…the homeless shelters, food banks, countless charities, and billions in aid we send to countries who hate us? What about the Lions Club who picked up the $1500 tab for the hearing aid I helped an old lady get last year? The men and women who serve and die for our country, are they fat useless pigs too? The compassionate bloggers whose love of nature is evident in every post? The good kids who want to make a difference—the ones who don’t make the news? You don’t hear about them because they don’t commit crimes. Are each of us personally to blame for the ills of the world?

Picture of two deer taken this morning at a house I clean at the bottom of Carr Canyon in Coronado Nat’l Park, which was devastated by the Monument Fire last summer. This old woman puts alfalfa, seed, and water out for the many creatures displaced by the fire. What a GLUTTONOUS WHITE AMERICAN BITCH—WE NEED TO GET RID OF PEOPLE LIKE THIS!

I am nostalgic for the era I grew up in because it was a time of renaissance. Our home lives may have been difficult, but the world was open to us. Jobs were plentiful, travel was cheap, we explored the world through a windshield instead of an LCD screen. We were independent and never expected to be taken care of. We weren’t obese, brainwashed, or babied. We entered the world at a perfect time—we were neither burdened with our parents’ repression nor their economic depression. We left home early, anxious to embark upon adventures of our own. We figured out how to have sex and not get pregnant (thank you Planned Parenthood for keeping me both child-free and abortion-free for 30 years). We got on buses and trains and old clunkers and used maps and asked questions and took back roads. We got into trouble but learned from our mistakes.

Politics were more than a war between socialists and evangelicals. The millions of Americans who aren’t obsessed with abortion or gay marriage are not being represented—we just want our country back. The insanity of our political system and subsequent media slants are a big factor in our reputation as a nation of lunatics, and these overblown issues cause voters to make choices based not on what’s best for America, but on personal beliefs. Left or right, either way we’re all going to have more laws forced on us. Political correctness will worsen, it’s too late to go back now. I finally understand what “silent majority” means. It means us, working a couple jobs, paying our bills, trying to help our communities, and getting by the only way we know how. It’s the people who hardly have time to picket abortion clinics, write vicious comments, or spread their whiny filth through public parks across America.

I’m nostalgic for not having a computer and not being assaulted daily with every act of violence perpetrated in the world. But despite America being the planet’s designated scapegoat, and despite those who actually do fit the stereotype, most people I know would help you if you asked them. Though I witness disturbing activities where I live every day, I would not hesitate to go to any of my neighbors for help. Maybe I don’t want to hang out with them. Likely our politics and culture are a world apart. But who in America would slam the door in the face of a person in need?

We can’t know what will someday evoke nostalgia in the estimated 11,000 babies born each day in the US alone, much less the rest of the world. Will it be simple things like music, dancing, sports, their home town? Will it be grocery stores, libraries, parks? Or will it be something much more sober—sunshine, clean water, open space, fresh food, thinking for themselves, and freedom? Because the world will be different for them, too, and someday they will get old and look back just as we do. They’ll have their own regrets, but I imagine in essence they won’t be much different from ours. The blank vacuous lifestyle of a video game-addicted couch potato may surface later in life as an inability to adapt to the inevitable shifts we will continue to experience. A lack of curiosity about the world leads to stunted life skills no matter what age you live in. The resourceful, creative kids may find the means to survive no matter what is in store for them. In 50 years, each person may be completely on their own, a slave to a warlord, or forced to live under a government created while they weren’t paying attention.

Flexibility, resilience, and adaptability are all we have to keep us from collapsing into an abyss of despair or self-destruction as we reminisce about the past, but those aren’t easy traits to sustain. Most of us are just trying to cope, encumbered with a collective guilt we don’t deserve. But one thing I am certain of—if we choose to see ourselves as victims, we may well be granted that wish.

The New Normal

From the August 11 Sierra Vista Herald, our local paper:

…the shooting is the most recent in a spat [sic: should be "spate"] of violent crimes in and around Sierra Vista, beginning with the arrest of Usef Simmons, 23, after police said he broke into a home and attacked a man with a rock…the next couple days saw the arrest of Nathaniel Jaramillo, 22, after police said he opened fire on a vehicle with two occupants outside a party…on July 24, Theodore Ramos, 17, slashed the throat of a 76-year old man, killing him, after the man answered the door at his home, then proceeded to rape the victim’s 72-year-old wife….two men were killed after being stabbed to death at a party outside of town…citizens should be wary of bears and other wildlife displaced by the Monument fire…law seeks crackdown on bullying but some see the changes too intrusive…cops avoid meth busts because they can no longer afford to clean up toxic waste generated by labs after federal government cancelled programs that provide money to help local agencies dispose of seized labs….

And this is just my little town. The rest of the world? Too depressing to discuss here—but trust me, it’s coming to your town too.

So when people tell me to just be happy, think positive, see the good, meditate, pray—I nod my head and say, uh, OK. I envy those who can zone out for 12 hours in front of a video game or remain oblivious to the future as if it won’t affect them. They are happy and I am not. Someone explained the Facebook game “Farmville” to me the other day and I can’t believe “adults” are playing this, as it sounds like something preschoolers might enjoy. If you want to feed animals so much, why don’t you go volunteer at a shelter? Adopt a cat or dog? I don’t understand how people can not be affected by our world, though I am constantly being told I need to get over it. This is my world too. I can’t become politically correct or stick my head in the sand just because that’s the trend.

Was it only a few years ago I loved thrift shops? Perfume, earrings, makeup, nail polish, shoes? I can’t even remember that last time I went into a Dollar Store, much less a mall, movie theater, or restaurant. My life is focused on keeping the power on and the water running. I never pay anything until I get a shut-off notice. Animal adoptions are way down, practically nonexistent. Hanging onto our homes is our main concern—a million foreclosures in the US last year should be a clear sign how fragile our infrastructure is.

A new word just went into the dictionary I sometimes work on, “swirlie.” A prank that involves dunking someone’s head in a flushing toilet bowl.  A PRANK? Is bullying so commonplace now that we consider this a mere prank? This is the kind of stuff that makes kids jump off bridges. How accepting we have become to violence and abuse. Another day, another war—whether personal or political, it’s the new normal.

If you answer your door without a gun within your reach, then do so at your own risk.

I Get Mail

I received this comment a few days ago from an RVer from Alberta, Canada who claims he knows what’s going on down here (I mistakenly thought he was from New Brunswick, and that too made him mad. Maybe he doesn’t like people from New Brunswick either.)

Author : Peter Harwerth (IP: 142.167.236.24 , stjhnbsu0nw-142167236024.pppoe-dynamic.High-Speed.nb.bellaliant.net)
E-mail : peterharwerth@yahoo.ca
URL :  http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/142.167.236.24

Seems like you are areal COWBOY! For your info I have spend every winter since 2005 5 miles from the Mex.Border. So you can safely say i know whats going on down there. I know about the crime and the hate and I know about the stupid AZ-weapon laws and the political campains from law enforcement agencies, just to get more money on the budget for the next year.You guys have a moron as a governor, whois so far stretched out on the right wing that I would not hesitate to call her a NAZI!!!

Do you know that thunderstorms start fires??? It happens in our country all the time. And I am not from New Brunswick, Canada! But an Alberta town got burned to 40% because of a simple lightning! With the dryness in your part of the world it just takes a spark. O, i almost forgot: a simple piece of a broken bottle thrown away 2 years earlier can also start a fire!!! You guys have absolutely no proof that illegals started the fire from the border!!!. But it was very convenient for that Sheriff to throw around his hate!!

Honestly i feel sorry for you guys!

Okay. I’m responding not so much because he’s rude and insulting, but because he’s wrong.

The Monument fire that burned 30,500 acres of one of the most beautiful refuges in the world and left a path of destruction unfinished until monsoon is over (and then for the next century after that) was definitely human-caused. That was officially announced as early as June 17, five days after the fire began. Fire investigators aren’t stupid, fires are their life. They know exactly where the ignition point was, in an area known as “Smugglers’ Gulch” a corridor directly on the border heavily trafficked by illegals and smugglers entering our country in droves. It wasn’t lightning (there was no lightning) and it sure as hell wasn’t a broken bottle. Again, so the facts are straight, the park was closed four days before the fire began and Smugglers’ Gulch is closed to the public at all times.

http://www.kvoa.com/news/monument-fire-human-caused-near-mexico-border/

Just to be sure, I called the Coronado National Forest Supervisor’s office in Tucson and they confirmed it was human-caused, that it’s under investigation, and that’s all the information they are allowed to release. They completely agree that those of us who live on the border are entitled to answers but we may never get further details.

Every cop, border patrol agent, firefighter, park employee and those of us who live on the border who are left with the mess (both physical and economic) from the thousands of illegals who cross into our state every single day—are painfully aware of “what’s going on down here,” but those in law enforcement and politics have a gag order slapped on them.  Since I live here, and this affects me deeply, I ask questions. What they tell you personally is not what the media will print.

I can’t understand why Mr. Harwerth doesn’t drive his RV five minutes further and go stay in Mexico. He seems to hate everything about Arizona except the illegals. The sheriff he’s speaking about, Sheriff Dever, whose territory includes 80 miles of US/Mexico border, was the only person who had the nut to say (and not retract) that it was likely illegals, and I support him. We aren’t racists here. The Arizona border would be a pretty stupid place to live if one was a racist, as the Mexican culture is very strong here. Would racists allow Latino doctors to perform surgery on them? And as far as Jan Brewer being a “Nazi,” that’s a typical hate-filled word people who don’t have all the facts love to throw around, along with “fascist” and “racist.” If Nazis and Fascists had allowed their citizens to be armed there probably wouldn’t have been Nazis and Fascists.

If you don’t get what the problem is, there’s nothing I can say here that will make you understand. Go read.

 

The Week in My World 7-13-11

It’s been exactly one disturbing month since the Monument Fire began. Monsoon has started and instead of being the joyful respite we all wait for, new horrors have just begun for the people in Hereford Valley as their homes fill with ash and sludge. Everybody’s busy sandbagging their properties and buying flood insurance, which is really expensive.

I’ve received mail from uninformed people calling me all kinds of nasty names, but I write from the perspective of someone who lives here, not a couple thousand miles away. I hate political correctness but I find that many Americans accept it like sheep. It’s a really bad idea to troll blogs and leave aggressive negative comments. Much better to write your opinions on your own blog. If I see a post I don’t agree with, I leave, not start trouble.

But, life goes on. I’ve been highly motivated to clean up my property. I bought this house “as is.” The man who lived here worked in the mines but was completely self-sufficient when it came to taking care of his house and family. Maybe today he would be considered a hoarder. The barn and house were jammed full of every kind of scrap imaginable. We cleared much of it a few years ago, but a lot of it remained exactly where he left it when he died. He saved everything. Literally tons of metal, tires, wood, old refrigerators, half-empty bottles and cans of gooey unknown substances, thousands of parts from obsolete machinery, fencing and rotting hoses for his vegetable gardens. I’ve made countless dump trips and given stuff away. Since I’m scared to death of fires now, I’ve cleared most of the brush. The monsoon will bring new grasses and create new brush, but from now on I’m going to keep up with it. It’s a lot of work but I trust no one.

Something good happened—Gracie, the little tabby I rescued from a foreclosed home, was adopted. I still have the two chihuahua mixes and can’t wait to find a good home for them. I have nine dogs in my little house and it’s too much. People call and make appointments to see them and don’t show up. Other people call and want them for free. Others call with their phone set to “Private” and don’t leave their number. Little kids call. The stupidity, rudeness, and bloody waste of my time is discouraging.

Two confused chihuahuas after returning from the vet to get neutered. Coco and Chico, whose owner died and whose wife dumped the dogs the same day, need good home in southern Arizona. Will deliver.

“WTF? I thought you said we were going to get TUTORED!”

First brood of swallow babies on my front porch light. The parents come back every year and have two broods. I do what I can to keep them safe.

One died in the nest, I don’t know why. The parents couldn’t get it out, so we got a ladder and a pair of tongs and removed it.

If one more person tells me the prickly pears lost in the February freeze will come back, I’m gonna smack ‘em.

The Border Patrol were all at the Monument fire for two weeks, now they’re back. Look at this agent on horseback….HOT. I would have liked to move around him and take better pictures, but they’re kind of busy.

Border Patrol bringing in a group less than 100 ft. from my back door. The concept of the BP being ruthless dicks isn’t true. They save lives every day. They are given fluids, taken to hospitals, then sent back.

Poor old guy at the gas station, empty tank and no money. He asked me for a dollar. I gave him my last five bucks.

Our friend Hogan (see Hoarder of History) finally retires his boots.

Monument Fire + Monsoon = Mudslides

Monsoon started about a week ago and so far it’s a strong one. There are various scientific methods used to predict the strength of an upcoming monsoon, but it turns out to be whatever nature decides.

But one thing is certain, and that is when mountain forests suffer major fire damage, natural waterways are not enough to absorb the heavy rains. The water has no place to go but down. On my way home today from Sierra Vista, mudflow had closed roads and I learned after stopping and asking that once again the people who live at the base of the Huachucas were told to evacuate.

Everybody here knows how the Monument fire started, but it has yet to be made official, and likely never will. I honestly can no longer see myself having a life here.

This is what Rt. 92 looks like all along Coronado National Park where the Monument fire burned for two weeks.

Monsoon rain is not like a normal rainy day. It comes in heavy bursts with high winds that can last for hours, stop, then start again. It's usually the best time of the year.

Miller Canyon Road off Rt. 92 was closed and the homes that firefighters saved will be in danger again for the next two to three months.

With the trees gone, mud comes down the mountains.

Natural waterways, called washes, are unable to contain the flow.

Streets flood with mud and debris.

We live near several prisons and often see "cons" doing various work around town. Today they had them making sandbags. The sandbags are loaded into trucks and placed around houses. I asked a con who helped me at the dump the other day what he was in for—two pounds of pot. What a waste of taxpayer money.

Update 7-12-11. Picture from KGUN 9 News. The mudslide was worse than I knew. It ruined homes and this is just the beginning.

It’s Lonely in the Middle

I can’t begin to understand the machinations of politics, I don’t think anybody can unless you’re one of Them. I can only report what I personally see. And what I see is a division in America unlike anything in my lifetime.

Most people aren’t asking for much. We’d like a decent job, to hang on to our homes, to not be bullied by the government. We would like America to stop intervening in every single Mideast skirmish. We’d like to see some of that war money pumped into our own economy. The person who could lead us to a strong economy would be a hero.

But because of political fanaticism on both sides, this imaginary person doesn’t have a chance. Republicans are mocked and hated where I live. In fact, it is acceptable in our culture to mock them anywhere, from WordPress forums regarding a person they found difficult (what do you expect, she’s a Republican) to Six Word Stories (Cute. Smart. Funny. Nice. Republican. Shit.). The people who mock them support Obama even though he continues to spend billions on foreign wars and aid while 14 million Americans can’t find jobs—and what’s more amazing, they consider themselves anti-war. I try to understand this, so I ask questions.

It always comes down to the same thing: religion. I ask, what do you think of Herman Cain? Religious zealot! What do you think of Michele Bachmann? Evangelist flake! I won’t even print what they think of Sarah Palin.

Conservatives need to consider this, because even if they do win it will simply result in more polarization, more fighting, more division. I lean toward conservatism in immigration, border security, gun laws, and other issues. But I’m going to be forced to make some sacrifices to vote against Obama because so far, our choices are distressingly inadequate.

I don’t want an evangelical Christian for a leader any more than I want an overly-indulgent liberal who is blind to the problems we face. To pull this country together, both sides must make concessions. I don’t want any god forced on me. Planned Parenthood has been taking care of me since I was a teenager—they taught me everything my parents and school didn’t about how to not get pregnant. I love the creativity and friendliness of the gay culture. Why are these issues so important to conservatives, and how do they expect to win allies with such hardline conservatism? Why do they care so much who sleeps with who, or who marries who? And gays, why do you care so much about getting married? Wouldn’t you rather have a job? Jeez, get a will and a power of attorney like I did.

Atheism isn’t a choice any more than belief is, and neither has anything to do with spirituality, compassion, or morality. A religious person isn’t better than me, they just believe in something I don’t. Get it out of politics or lose America for good.