Saturday, March 2, 2013

Political Problems; Hiking the Mountains

had lunch this week with a businessman and local politician. He has written a book. In it  he details his experiences and frustrations in politics. 

His observations are keen. He says money plays the dominant role in who gets elected. "Without money you can't get elected. And money put up against you will defeat you."

Three days later I was hiking in a state park.  I was stilling thinking about what my friend said. 

The tower at Hanging Rock
The other problem is indifference. Except at election time few people pay attention to the issues, he says.

The combination of money and indifference works to  benefit those in power. 

Rockingham County, NC, he believes, is a microcosm for the nation. Political power gets auctioned off. Those with power seek short-term gains at the expense of long-term goals —  fracking; clear-cutting; environment degradation; deficit spending. Our children will suffer

Looking west toward Pilot Mountain
We agree that in these terms the future looks kind of grim. 

But at a certain point we part company. He believes we are wedded to the old way of thinking. I don't.

I've lived in a small world too long not to know the world we live in is what we make it.

You can stop the music at any time and get off.

It is beautiful in the mountains where I an hiking. Low clouds hang over a landscape of soft blue, a quilt of rolling hills, farmland and forest stretching to the horizon. All is quiet.  On the trail I come upon fresh coyote scat. There is wind in the pines and hemlocks. In the distance, geese. It is a place to think.

Pilot Mtn Knob 2.JPG
The monadnock atop
Pilot Mountain 
Across the way is Pilot Mountain, part of the  Sauratown mountain chain named for the Saura Indians who once lived here centuries ago.

The timeless perspective assures me nothing important changes. The rocks, trees and skies remain.  So too the rains, plants and animals. 

Human nature is good even if the system that we function under isn't.

We are on a journey together, you and I. And it's a heck of a lot of fun. We don't have to be part of the grim.

For VW bus fans who have not seen the Oscar winning movie, Argo, check out this VW bus clip.


  1. a great post...i think of this often..this dualistic world...the "real" world, where all the bad news is, and the "real, real" world, where I like to spend my time. In the end, nature wins...if humanity turns out to be a failed experiment, the earth will continue on just fine.

    1. Hi Barry,

      I agree. I think we are part of something much bigger than our individual selves and petty graspings. We feel it when we get back to our roots and nature.

      Thank you for your comment.

  2. I like the way you think.

    Barry articulates the dichotomy well. "Real" or "REAL real"? I think I'll choose my reality instead of letting the "news" do it.

    1. Thank you, G. L. Duck, so much !


  3. I agree. I prefer to live in my world over the world of the national press.

    For example, the Dan River spill in Eden, while unwanted it is not proving as dire as environmentalists or the national press had claimed. Danville, down river from the coal ash breech, pulls its water from the Dan and finds the coal ash so benign that they won't be changing the way the treat their water.

    Via WBDJ

    "Yes, it's safe to drink," said Barry Dunkley, the director of the Danville Utilities Water Treatment Plant. And he says he can prove it.

    He's seen water quality results from Duke Energy but wanted to see results from an independent source.

    He's pleased, and surprised with the results.

    "Thank goodness it worked as it's supposed to work," Dunkley said. "The biggest thing that's showing up is iron and manganese which we can handle, no problem."

    Environmentalists say coal ash is known to contain trace amounts of heavy metals, and dangerous substances like mercury and arsenic. He says all results came back clean. Dunkley says their water treatment routines haven't changed.

    The Watauga Democrat concurs.

    Environmentalists, with their hyperventilating and willing megaphone in the national press are damaging an already fragile economy in Rockingham Co.

    So, yes, I agree that we should not allow ourselves to be mislead by the press.

    But I do not agree that limiting free speech is wise. After all, we all have the choice to become part of a force greater than our single voices by joining a chorus. The Citizens United decision has empowered individuals to assemble and speak as one via incorporation.

    I do not think it is wise to empower ourselves by disempowering others via curbs on free speech which is what you are really grousing about in your references to "money in politics".

  4. Sorry.

    I thought I was reading my feed newest post first. As it is I am reading oldest post first.

    Feel free to disregard my previous comment as it is broken from time.