There is a walk that I do quite often these days that takes me away. It takes me away from my normal life (if anything could be called normal right now) to something different. As I walked along today listening to the crunch of stones underfoot, I realized that this is the closest thing to wilderness available to me in my life right now. When there, I am away from other people, cars, and the ever present sounds of a suburban existence.
My wilderness is a half-mile long stretch of railroad tracks running between Highway 1 to the west, South Douglas to the east, and just north of Rosecrans Boulevard. It is an unlikely wilderness. There are no trees, no streams, and no wildlife. There are also no people, except for a few scattered homeless encampments. The stretch is dry and dusty. The walking is uneven as I pass from the railroad ties to the stone ballast between, and beside the tracks, with just enough variation to preclude totally mindless walking.
Sometimes the tracks are empty, sometimes there are tanker cars staged outside the the Standard Oil facility. I can step off Sepulveda and, in 30 seconds, the roads and people are left behind. Walking the tracks has a certain zen-like quality to it. My steps are measured by the spacing between the ties, and the few rocks that have escaped the ballast that lie on top of the ties, there to trip up the unwary traveller.
The oil tank cars sit in anticipation of motion. Hulking, black, metallic cylinders, waiting for the world to need the contents that lie within. I have never seen a train engine moving them. They are always just sitting there waiting. Sometimes many, sometimes few. But always black, perhaps with scribbled graffiti. The graffiti falls into three main categories, racist, sexual, or political. The bare black sides providing a canvas for someone to leave their mark.
I always walk west to east. At the eastern end of the wilderness, the tracks extend straight east as if reaching for the sun rising near equinox. I have often wondered what I would see if I followed the tracks towards that sun. I know that it would just be backyards, and industrial buildings, but you never know.
A quick review of the shit-show this presidential administration and his republican lapdogs presents a sad commentary on the current state of our union.
The lying and incompetence of this administration handling of the pandemic has resulted in 10’s of thousands needless deaths, and the impoverishment of our workers, and the failures of countless small businesses.
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, an American icon that led the fight for woman, reproductive, and minority rights, may bring on a reversal of those progressive victories with the confirmation of a 6/3 conservative majority by the Trump/McConnell troglodyte pair.
Climate warming, ignored and ridiculed by Trump and the Republicans, is continuing to be felt in various ways across the country. Weather events with increasing severity are becoming commonplace. Longer, hotter droughts. The greatest number of named hurricanes in one season. And arctic weather conditions across the middle and great lake regions of the country during the winter seasons.
A collective loss in confidence across the nation in the mainstream press. A multi-year vocal attack by this administration and the republican establishment has sent their followers to fringe news-sites to get their information. Bad actors have been willing to feed the news consumers with lies and hate. The number of Q Anon idiots that believe that Hillary Clinton is involved in child kidnapping, torture, and cannibalism is unbelievable. Reason has abandoned us.
The reshuffling of the Supreme court has placed the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy. The millions of people that have taken advantage of this law to gain access to health care are in danger of losing that vital help. Many of these same people are already suffering from financial pain brought on by the mismanagement of the pandemic. A loss here would be the actual nail in the coffin for many people.
These are but a few of the terrible things either happening right now, or at risk of happening in the near future.
Which brings me back to this – VOTE!!. Vote as if your life, the lives of your neighbors, and the security of this nation depends on it. Because it does.
Vote early!! If you can get you mail-in ballot, fill it out as soon as possible, and return it. Don’t wait – there is nothing new to learn about these dangerous idiots.
If Joe Biden isn’t progressive enough for you – this is not the time to send a message. Too much is at risk. Joe may not be your guy – but Trump and McConnell are a danger to your way of life. Vote the Assholes Out. Let’s bring back some normalcy to the nation, then fix what needs to be fixed.
Jeez – I would for anyone but Trump, Just give me someone that doesn’t sound like a first grader reading from a teleprompter.