Tuesday, October 28, 2014
North Dakota, Jackpot and Early Grieving...
I am back home. That was quite an exciting week. Last Wednesday, I went into the belly of the beast to argue for stricter controls on cannabis gardens. Going on the local Liberal Radio in order to argue a point that has very little support amongst the Herd of Liberals, well, that just isn't a wise thing to do. Nobody wants to hear anything negative about wonder weed. To do so is Liberal Blasphemy.
I was there to support my piece in ChicoSol and also to support Measure A here in Butte County (which severely limits the amount of pot that can be legally grown). My point? Our current method of managing cannabis has led to the environmental and social destruction of the rural areas of California. And in those areas you are seeing a backlash against it. Next month there will be ballot measures for tighter controls of marijuana in Lake County, Shasta County, Nevada County and Butte County. Even the emerald green counties of Humboldt and Mendocino have seen a backlash against cannabis production--with their County Supervisors starting to raise a stink about it. The pro-cannabis people present an image of Jeffersonian Farmers heroically raising a vital product out of unselfish concern for their fellow humans. Greed is never mentioned. Nor the fact that the Pacific fisher is about to be put on the endangered species list because of cannabis farming.
I hope it did some good and got a few people to think. I favor a form of Cannabis Socialism, with the licensing of the production, distribution and sale of legal weed.
And then off I went to Minnesota for a quick visit with my Dad, brother and a grueling, lonely van trip back to California via the long way: through North Dakota.
I spent four days driving back to California. I slept in a compartment of the van (it was full of furniture from my childhood home) just outside of Mordor (Bismarck, North Dakota). The Dakotans are happy with fracking; they are getting rich. And they say the boom will last 35 more years.
Of course, I got caught in the rain/snow traveling through the Rockies and the high desert. My window wiper motor burned out just outside of Jackpot, Nevada---leaving me stranded for a bit until it stopped raining/snowing. Never thought I would spend a night in a trashy casino in Jackpot, Nevada.
It was in Jackpot, sipping on my fourth Bloody Mary (weakly poured) that a waitress from Russia told me she was born in Leningrad.
"Don't you mean, St. Petersburg?", I asked.
"No", she said. "I was born in Leningrad". Then she said something in Russian which I think probably had something to do with a yearning for those heady years of Brezhnev---who, to this day, remains Russia's most popular leader.
There is nothing like a road trip across the American West that will wet your appetite for more travel and adventure in the American West. We are so very lucky to live in a part of the world that still has something wild left in it. Fly over Iowa and look at the domesticated grid like pattern of industrial agriculture and you really start to appreciate just how wonderful it is to have some wilderness left to explore. It is all I can do to not quit my job and pack Joni and the dogs into the van and head on out for a few years. I guess we think of such things when we are in our 50's. We become Kerouacs. Wannabe Beatniks.
I drove by so many places I want to explore. Like the Valley of the Moon Monument in Idaho. What is that about? I want to wander about the battlefield at Little Big Horn. So much to do.
And so now I am home and in my Pre Election/Post Election Depression. I fully expect Measure A to lose; the Growers just have too much money for radio and TV spots and not one television truck has managed to leave the confines of Chico/Oroville to take a look at the huge number of grows that have sprung up out here. Nobody will investigate the allegations of environmental damage. I think they are too scared to venture out here.
I fully expect the Senate to go to the Republicans. And you know damned well we are going to have a few more years of LaMalfa for comic entertainment. Except it isn't funny. It stings all the more knowing that Heidi Hall is such a good fit for the job. It would be progress if her vote takes Butte County. She wins if she comes within 8 points.
So what to do for the next two years? Withdraw. Create my own sanity with my own small tribe of humans and dogs. Take small trips. Hike. Throw out the TV. Escape.
And then, later, go back to work to fight for all those good things we need: wild lands, economic justice, peace and real freedom. But first, a bit of wound licking and some much needed quiet time.