Friday, October 14, 2011

Don't Look Back...

"Driving down the road today I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said  "Don't look back, you can never look back." Don Henley; "Boys of Summer" 1984

As I drove to work the other day I saw a Toyota Prius with a sticker on the back that said, "Paul Jr. Designs." I wondered if that bumper sticker seemed as incongruous to anyone else. Paul Teutle, Jr, and the whole Orange County Chopper family seem about the most anti-Prius group I can imagine. 

I hate the term "invasive species." Life as we know it originated in Africa. And invaded from there. We are all invasive species. When one species goes extinct, another one fills its niche. Sometimes an organism moves into a place that has no niche for it, and it drives out its competitors and takes over there niches. That's the law of the jungle, Folks. Kudzu and zebra mussels are only as invasive as their competition allows them to be. It is all about adapting to an environment, or adapting an environment to one's needs. It's not always pretty, it's not often kind, but the cycles go on. 

I've been seeing some disturbing commercials about the EPA and how it is killing jobs with its overarching regulations. I wasn't sure until the other day who was putting this garbage out-I figured it was one of the republican candidates for president-especially Rick Perry. Then I saw the end of the commercial a few days ago, and the sponsor was "The Coalition for Clean Coal." Sure, wasn't it cool when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969. Actually, that river has caught fire thirteen times, but the one that sort-of triggered Earth Day and the current environmental movement was in 1969. Do we really want to go back there? Don't pregnant women get enough warnings about eating fish because of mercury poisoning? Don't enough babies spend time in the emergency room and hundreds of thousands of dollars in health care costs because of air pollution? America, do we really want to elect a bunch of people who think all regulations on industry are bad? They keep telling us that removing regulations will cause job creators to come back to the U.S. to put people back to work. Why not create "quality control" jobs that hire people to see that a company isn't poisoning us? If an industry can't live up to environmental protections, how about the government giving tax breaks or "stimulus funds" to companies that update their factories to improve their environmental impact? So you create jobs and a cleaner environment all at once. Then the "job creators" wouldn't be demonized, and wouldn't have to set aside so much of their income for lobbying. It all seems so simple to me.

Rick Perry stays on my mind a lot, and  I cannot help but comment on the story of how he shot a coyote that menaced his family dog while on a run. Everything about this story rings false. I know that coyotes can be a problem for small dogs or cats left outside unattended. I know that with urban sprawl, coyotes have fewer places to hide and avoid contact with humans. But the governor of Texas, running with a golden retriever, which would outweigh most coyotes by about thirty pounds, and a cadre of security men running with him...well, there is no reason whatsoever that safety was the reason that coyote had to be shot. Coyotes are afraid of people, and unless they are pack hunting, which is a rare event,  and fairly new evolutionary step for them, a solitary coyote would not approach a group like that-certainly not in a menacing way. Perry was trying to show what a tough Texas hombre he is. And from that point forward, no matter if he stopped every war, created a job for every American, paid down the deficit, and stopped all pollution in the world, I could never, ever respect him again. Yes, my reaction here is extreme, and says more about me and my attachment to wild animals and my fervent belief in their right to exist and survive than it does Mr. Perry. But I have also studied canines (all canines) and this is just camp fire talk from someone who thinks he is on a cattle drive from the nineteenth-century. I was born and raised in Texas, and I am familiar with the Texas macho ethos. It is an unnecessary, ugly anachronism. We certainly don't need it in the White House. 

Mitt Romney. Business man, job creator, executive experience. What he actually did is increase the bottom line for shareholders by sending jobs over seas. I can't imagine anyone voting for such a Stepford Candidate. But then, if I were a republican I would be in utter despair right now. But then, I'm not a republican and I'm in despair now anyway over the direction of the country. 

I remember hearing over and over and over about George W. Bush saying "nookyooler." Then I heard many, many smart people, including respected news anchor Bob Schieffer say the word "nuc-lear" the same way. So I've tried not to let that one bother me anymore. But I just don't know if I could ever vote for a candidate who wants to eliminate a "def tax." Not that I  knew we had a special tax on people who can't hear. 

In the meantime, I have a solution to the rich-poor divide. It seems that every single small company is actually owned by some giant corporation. So all that is necessary is to have that one big company-I'm thinking it's probably General Electric or Goldman Sachs, take a minor cut in pay, and cut the shareholder dividend by a tiny percent. Give the people below them a raise in pay, and cover a bit of their benefits. Problem solved. The business will still be profitable, but the salaries of the ninety-nine percenters would be better, they would be happier and we could be the UNITED States of America again. It is sad to me that we are all so angry at each other all the time. 

My husband has been off work with a worker's comp injury since February. He was recently told that when he goes back to work he will have a three-percent raise. Then he got a letter saying that his insurance rates will go up more than ten percent. In the last forty years, the poverty rates in this country have gone up, not down. In the last ten plus years the salaries of the so-called ninety-nine percenters have gone down seven percent. Fuel keeps going up thirty cents, and down two cents at a time. When fuel goes up, everything that is delivered by fuel-driven machinery goes up. So, why are people angry and protesting? I can't imagine. 

As anyone who knows me knows, I am an atheist. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with one of my sisters, who shares my non-theism. She was about to get married to a wonderful man, but was uncomfortable saying to me that she felt "blessed." Is it okay to say one feels blessed if one doesn't believe there is a magic man in the sky dispensing said gifts? I think it is perfectly understandable to feel "blessed " when something unexpected and wonderful comes one's way. I'm still not sure how I would be sworn in if I ever had to go to court. 

Well-I guess maybe we have to look back sometimes. 

"Ahh, these times are so uncertain, there's a yearning undefined and people filled with rage. We all need a little tenderness; how can love survive in such a graceless age?"  Don Henley 1989, song, "Heart of the Matter," album, "End of the Innocence."

***Based upon a 1972 movie, "The Stepford Wives," in which the women of a community are made robotically perfect by husbands who wish to be waited on by beautiful, "perfect" women.


SallyMutant said...

Vonnie, in court, you are supossed to be offered a chance to "affirm" rather than "swear." Last time I ws in a jury-duty pool, they left out that step. When I pointed that out, I was eleminated in the next round. Coincidence?

Vonnie Hix Shallenberger said...

So you just "affirm to tell the tru?" You dont have to do hand on the bible, swear to God? Thank you for that-I've always wondered.