Sunday, November 2, 2014
Last Pre-Election Post From Wild Bill
All this past week I've sat at my work station watching the leaves slowly color up against a background of crisp blue October sky. Come Friday night late we got a weird kind of nor'easter which sucked down huge chunks of Canadian air and mixed them with moisture from the Atlantic, which created snow up in the Appalachians and a cold rain here for Saturday. There was no roof-climbing in such conditions, so the leaves continued to pile up and work on the metal beneath them with their acidy residue. Rust never sleeps. It's a theme heading in my label section. I definitely remember all this fall stuff happening a lot earlier in years past. When I used to drive my daughter to grammar school back in the early '80s I can recall scraping frost off the windshield of the old yaller Datsun before October first once or twice. This year mostly the leaves are still on the trees, even after that cold wind of two nights back. We had our first fire in the wood-stove yesterday, and I aim to split up some kindling after a bit. I am blessed with an abundant supply of red cedar, which is as good as gasoline to get a fire going. I never intended to become a master wood-stove operator; I grew up in the city of Raleigh and only observed such doings at gramma's in the country on the regular Sunday visits we'd make when I was a kid. Yet here I am, living pretty close to the same style of life as my grand-parents and my somewhat delusional but delightful Aunt Jenny, who stayed on the old home place until they had to carry her out in her late '80s, and then consciously chose to stop eating and die at the rest home in a couple of weeks. She'd always said she would never leave the old farm house her grandaddy had built five years after the War was over and the Yankees had gone home. She kept her word pretty much. And that's pretty much how I feel. That's family for you.
It's pretty strange that there's even much of a contest in this election. It's a testament to the ability of Republicans to misdirect the voter's attention, and to maintain the voters' commitment to authoritarian leadership--inculcated since childhood in the authoritarian family which I'd guess a large majority of Americans grow up in, generation after generation. The best political event of the past week was that plucky nurse Kaci Hickox's fact-based resistance to the authoritarian nonsense Mr. Christie was determined to spout off as he play-acted his way back to those glory days when he battled the Atlantic Ocean alone in his hip-waders and saved New Jersey from sinking under the foam. (Hint: it was the cones what done it.)
Next best was Mary Landrieu's remark yesterday that one of Mr. Obama's problems in the South was his race. The response from Republicans was remarkable, if also revealing if you cared to read what they said carefully: "Louisiana deserves better than a senator who denigrates her own people..." one state GOP guy retorted. "Own people"? That's race politics right there, and confirms exactly what Ms Landrieu said. Here's the whole post:
This is exactly what the Republicans want, time after time: to turn it into an election about race. And gender. There's us'n, and there's them. But the fact is, them is the white men, mostly men of wealth, who want to hold on to every shred of their privilege and money and power no matter the cost to the rest of us, and indeed, to them as well, if they only understood how privilege rots away the human soul pretty much exactly like wet fall leaves on a 5-V galvanized tin roof. Nobody should be voting for Republicans. Not black people, not Hispanics, not any other ethnic minority, not women, not even men. All the Republicans have to sell is wet leaves on a rusty tin roof. There's absolutely nothing to safely stand on, and when and if they get back in again, the horrible process of decay will just pick up speed again, just like it did under Bush, just like it did when the country was bamboozled into electing a smooth-talking actor who didn't know jack back in 1980.
It shouldn't even be close. The Republicans should be whittled down to what they really are, tiny pockets of pure racism and authoritarian bile eddied up in the dark, spidery corners of the states which still survive on mineral extraction. Eighty or ninety percent of us ought to know better by now. And it's proof of our fatherly Chief Justice Roberts' perverse opinion of record that money is speech that the GOP as it now exists has a good chance of winning the whole legislative apparatus of the United States next week, whereupon they will immediately embark on impeaching the first black President precisely because he is black. What the hell else of an impeachable nature has he done?
At this point we are two days away. I've voted. I hope you will. Until the votes are in, the future holds better possibilities.
Here's a photo I took of what was left in Jenny's house after she departed. She loved John Wayne and Ronald Reagan in equal measure with Robert E. Lee and her vanished farm:
The objects sit on the dining room table where we all had Sunday dinner when I was a child, and the window looked out on a pasture leading to a big barn, where Rhody the mule lived.