Monday, October 29, 2007

Delicious coast-to-coastness

One of the best things about my job is that it involves a lot of travel. October took me to Charleston, SC, then Denver, and finally San Francisco. I’m back home in Southernmost Illinois now, and it’s good to be home and watch the leaves turn in all these acres of woods around me.

Some thoughts from my travels...

Charleston was all I expected it to be. I was captivated by its beauty and refinement. Its early architecture was so much more elegant than even Boston’s or Philadelphia’s. My son pointed out wryly, “yeah dad...they had slaves.”

Denver sure has grown up since my last visit about seven years ago. There’s actual vibrant street life downtown, and the arts have exploded. It goes to show what arts can do for a city. It’s also becoming very green, with innovative programs in recycling, reforestation and energy-efficient street lighting. I couldn’t help compare all that to Indiana, where they’re still trying to legally increase the amount of pollution they dump into Lake Michigan.

And of course, San Francisco. More of a gem than ever. Finally, they’ve lifted the constraints on downtown development and skyscrapers are starting to rise higher than the Transamerica pyramid for the first time since the 1970s. They’re dazzling, glassy, ephemeral, just like the city itself. Every time I go there I find myself wishing we had never left. The fourteen years we lived there made it seem like home. But whenever I confront the cost, the hassle, the weather, the frenetic pace of life, I’m glad to get back to Southern Illinois.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Uninspired, betrayed, puzzled

I haven’t posted here for nearly two months. By now, anyone who visited this blog from time to time has probably abandoned it and I don’t blame them.

There was a time I believed reason would prevail and Americans would wake up to how they’re being fucked over by their own “government.” All through the 2006 election I was fired up, and when Democrats took control of the house and senate, I had a momentary sense of elation. How foolish I was.

We’re coming up on a year since the voters showed their disapproval with the status quo. 70% of us want out of the insane nightmare Bush created in Iraq, but our timid and appeasing Democrats have decided to let the madman carry on. This is not why I—and hundreds of others—walked the dreary streets of Cape Girardeau, Missouri on election day to get out the vote for Claire McCaskill. This is not why my fellow patriots from coast to coast threw their money and effort into similar causes.

How did it take me all this time to realize that our political system is merely a diversion? A way to siphon off our anger and energy, into harmless posturing that brings only the same result no matter who wins? War. Exploitation of the poor and middle class. A system that channels money to the obscenely wealthy ruling class faster than they can spend it. I’m over it.

The thought of Hillary Clinton posturing as an agent of change is laughable, pathetic. I’m at a loss for how to channel my anger. Time for a new American revolution.