It’s a great life if you don’t weaken, and is democracy workable?

September 7, 2009

Once when I worked as a newspaper reporter/photographer I was doing a photo-story about an old rancher who still drove his cattle through the mountains between winter and summer ranges decades after nearly everyone else had turned to using trucks.

As the bawling herd of cattle broke out of a stand of trees into a clearing and the dust flew, he came riding right past me, turned his horse toward me and grinned, and said: “it’s a great life if you don’t weaken.”

That was more than 30 years ago, but I finally think I can appreciate what he was saying.

After being laid low by cancer and losing my ability to make a living and now, at least for the time being, being able to go back to work at my occupation of the past decade and more, truck driving, I can say with understanding that it is indeed a great life if you don’t weaken, and it’s a great life if you do weaken but get back your strength.

Related to all of this and the blog I am doing right now, my sister called last night and said she had not been able to get a hold of me (she did not have my cell number, but she did manage to find my wife’s finally) and noted since I no longer was doing my blog she did not know what I was up to.

I reluctantly had to drop my blog postings for the most part for the past several weeks because I have returned to work and have not had the time nor the energy nor the capability to blog each day as I had been doing. As I have noted previously I am trying to get my blogging system mobile so I might be able to resume more regular blogging.

Because the truck I am currently driving does not have an operable radio (the head mechanic tells me he is ordering one) and because newspapers do not seem to be a readily available or even affordable and because of time constraints I have been in a near news blackout for the past few weeks but have caught up a little since returning home for a day or two.

The last time I blogged I addressed the continuing health care debate. I don’t want to say much more about that other than I now think President Obama would do well to just push through a package that would ensure that no one is not covered, and some might argue that such is already the case. I would not argue that, but the issue is so divisive, that I think he would do better to move on and work harder on the economy and resolving just what our strategy should be in Afghanistan.

And I now read that so-called conservative columnist and TV pundit George Will has come out against our continued involvement in Afghanistan (I read his column). Could this be the equivalent of the Walter Cronkite moment in Vietnam? When Uncle Walter went there and suggested it was hopeless that seemed to doom the whole project.

Will uses big and often obscure words and phrases and analogies and seems a little more intellectual than your down-home ordinary reactionary type conservative and not quite as devious as your ordinary neocon who uses his or her education to excite and stir up the more ignorant or not so informed masses, but he is conservative and his position could give the right the tools or ammunition to back out of what might be a losing proposition. And wouldn’t it be weird if the right turned out to be anti-war and the left pro?

Actually, I think that in mainstream or at least Main Street America, except for those who have family members directly involved, the attitude is more one of indifference to the war, except that it is assumed that you either support Team America or you don’t.

And personally, even though I think our wars since WW II, the big one, wrapped up a few years before I was born, have been folly, I do think that if the nation decides to go to war (and we have) then the only object can be to win, and winning means complete defeat of the enemy and unfortunately at least temporary occupation of the conquered lands. If we cannot or do not want to do that, then we should not be engaging in war.

And then the issue of the Obama back-to-school speech where many parents reportedly want to forbid their children from listening and many schools are going along. So we are teaching our children to only listen to things you or your parents agree with. So much for democracy, critical thinking and open debate. And besides, it is my understanding that the president was only going to urge children to study hard and get good grades. And I guess originally he was going to ask the children what they could do to help him. And that seemed political. We need to protect our children from politics.

Sometimes I wonder how practical democracy for the masses is. Maybe that phrase I heard attributed to some college professor years ago was accurate: “the masses of asses”.