Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Random Thoughts from a Couple of Weeks in the Life

A fellow lives in a big city surrounded by tens of thousands of houses with expressways nearby and jet planes flying overhead.  He retreats into his backyard amidst the noise and congestion and makes a selfbow and a set of arrows from a piece of elm and a bundle of river cane.  In an even bigger city on the other side of the country another fellow lives in an apartment encircled by more apartments and houses and tall buildings and dingy factories.  He sits in his living room watching television shows about survival as so-called “experts” go off into the wilds to battle the elements…replete with film crews and nearby helicopters just in case their skills fall short.  Midway in between the two great cities a man makes YouTube videos about “sustainable living.”  In the background one hears 18-wheeler trucks rumbling past on that great highway connecting the two megalopolises.

I recall a line from the old movie, Red Dawn, where the character playing the downed pilot says about war, “It’s here every day.”  Like that stretch of highway between San Antonio and Dallas or maybe between San Diego and San Francisco or Allentown and New York or Gary and Chicago.  Millions of cars and trucks race north or south or east and west.  You can stand ten miles away on either side of those freeways and hear the howling of all those vehicles.  If you happen to live near an international airport like DFW between Dallas and Fort Worth you no longer know what it’s like to live in quiet.

A few weeks ago I was in Galveston, Texas and as I skirted that place called Houston I came under the flight path of airliners queued into the distance making their approaches.  Twenty-four hours a day those planes land and on the other side they take off.  Does the mind become immune to the constant noise, I wonder?  Or does it work its way into the brain via channels that cannot be closed and then festers in places like the heart and lungs and even the bones?

I stayed at a motel in Dallas the other day and like every other motel in Texas saw that the people who keep it operating come from other places.  Cleaning the rooms and mowing the grass they speak no English.  Saw road crews manned by these same people.  Saw houses being built by the same crowd.  I see farms run by their kin and in fact I know of a nearby “farm” that were it not for those laborers there would be no food produced, no eggs gathered, no fields tended.  They are the bosses and if anyone thinks otherwise then they are simply fools!  Without them the entire system collapses within hours.

People struggle to make ends meet.  The masses often live from paycheck to paycheck.  They exist powerless: mere pawns and minions agreeably tethered ideologically, religiously and politically to their masters.  They turn on their radios or television sets and listen to people who tell them how and what to think.  They vote as instructed with nary a thought as to whether they have just acted outside their own interests.

I heard a lady say the other day she wanted to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines because she wanted to “save lives.”  So I proposed a solution.  You say it’s all about saving lives, I said.  Okay, so let’s ban all assault rifles and high capacity magazines and make it illegal to possess them.  But at the same time you must ban abortion.  There was a moment of quiet and I asked: You want to save lives right?  The lady nodded but I could tell she wasn’t pleased with my plan.  So I said: How is it that you were so worked up about the killing of twenty innocent five-year-old children but then walk those same children back a few years (four, three, two, one and then a few months) and it’s perfectly okay to kill them in the womb?  If it’s really about saving lives then let’s save lives, I said.  But the lady countered with, “We don’t want women seeking abortions in unsafe places where they might die.”

There were one-million two-hundred thousand abortions (1.2 million) in the United States in 2011.  There were about 32,000 gun related deaths (most of them suicides) in 2011.  Now let’s do the math.  It would take 37.5 years of gun related deaths (at the 2011 rate) to equal one year of abortions in the USA at that same 2011 rate.  It would take 60,000 Newtown, Connecticut shootings to equal one year of abortions.  What happened in Newtown was beyond horrific.  For a man whose life is his children the thought of what those families are going through is impossible to comprehend.  Many of those parents went to Washington DC and pleaded with Congress to pass some sort of gun legislation.  But did you notice that not one (Not One Single Parent!) of the 1.2 million aborted children went to Washington DC to plead for any sort of anti-abortion bill?

I saw where one group is all lathered up because the IRS apparently targeted right-wing groups for scrutiny.  But that same group says nothing about the fact that the IRS did the exact same thing against left-leaning groups during the previous administration.  So maybe the real scandal is in allowing the tax exempt status of organizations (right or left) that are politically motivated while pretending to be socially focused?  Maybe that’s the cancer we need to excise?

A group of rose-breasted grosbeaks and blue grosbeaks came to visit and we watched them munching on suet and bird seed.  And last night the coyotes took to singing an old song I hadn’t heard in ages.  It was the one by Roy Orbison called, Crying over you.

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