Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Poor Young Thing

A young gal who works for the Montana Human Rights Network came to our small town last night to see if there was support for more health care reform. She personally would like single-payer ( as would most of the twenty or so people who showed up) but thinks the best bet is to use the Super-waiver to set up a state system like Vermont's. She had lobbied for "progressive values" in the last legislative session and the scars and bruises were still visible. But she still had hope.

This young gal was incredibly bright and I wonder what she thought of us (average age in the audience was sixty) , what she thinks of her own generation, what she thinks of the world in general as she drives back to Helena, looking at the people in their cars.

Montana is not Vermont. We have a governor (for another year) who has expressed support for single payer but the population is generally willing to throw themselves at any corporation which promises jobs(especially insurance) and any demagogue who promises "freedom" from Big Government. In the small crowd were two people who tried to run for state office and were defeated by right-wing knuckleheads spouting the boilerplate lines about taxes and wolves and guns.

It is hard to see the way the whole Obama-care battle sapped the optimism out of the progressives, young and old, yet left them still clinging to their threadbare "democratic capitalism" like a leaky raft on the storm-tossed seas. Their old friend Max Baucus throws them bottles of salt water. They still believe health care is a "right" but can't make the link to food and housing and energy and education and everything else that is theirs to control if they had the courage to step up and take it.

They believe "better candidates" will win in the next election, they believe "common sense" will eventually prevail, they believe the uprising in Wisconsin signalled some profound change and that the Vermont model will provide a light through the tunnel. They believe in the Nation magazine and that capitalism can be reformed. I sat the whole two hours without saying a word.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Turn ,Turn , Turn

Tis the season to get back on the river and away from this screen ( mostly). It's all about the money although being back on the Big Hole is it's own reward. I had a great winter, got some good work done on the books, but now it is time to get out under that Montana sun and greet the Montana mosquitos.

I have once again enjoyed many exchanges on this blog. Ducky and Renegade, Lichanos and the occasional Angry Anarchist, thanks for all the input, throughput, and your own output. Pagan, Beak and the posse, I'm not sure what you get out of this but whatever.

I just got back from a three week road trip to California, Oregon and a little Washington, working along one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Do I love my country? asks a local interlocutor. Sure. Who couldn't love what we got going on. Stupid question for stupid people.

I saw a lot of old chums, folks I shared time with forty, even fifty years ago. One who was in my kindergarten class! They have aged gracefully and found their own unique ways through the years but, in what I consider a sign of the times, they ( with some exceptions) seemed determinedly non-political. This is the post- post-modern vocation, find personal happiness, let the rest slide.

Not this boy, however. The Zootown Zapatistas will soon be publishing it's first issue of the new zine and it should be provocative. Please stay tuned.