Sad Scary

by Todd Walton, June 15, 2016

“Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?” —Maurice Freehill

Now that the people of California have spoken at the polls and assured the nomination of the poster girl for Monsanto, fracking, endless war, tax breaks for the wealthy, the continuing ruination of the lower eighty per cent of Americans, and the destruction of the biosphere, I feel sad. Where were all the Bernie Sanders supporters? The vote wasn’t even close, not that very many people voted.

Yes, I know. The Hillary machine colluded with Associated Press to crown her the nominee the day before the New Jersey and California primaries in order to suppress voter turnout. So does that mean Bernie’s supporters believed such evil nonsense? No. I think Bernie supporters are just more visible and demonstrative and passionate than Hillary supporters, but not more plentiful.

And why would so many people support a person who has dedicated her life to serving the wealthy and screwing everybody else? Her record is there for everyone to see. Her disgraceful tenure as Secretary of State, her shameful career as a United States Senator, her votes against bills that would help people and protect the environment, and her zealous advocacy of fracking and ruinous trade agreements and free government money for the big banks are not secrets. Why would people vote for her?

The only plausible answer I can come up with is that most people do not respond to facts, but to feelings, and for some reason those who voted for Hillary feel more comfortable with the idea of her as President than the idea of a person suggesting enormous changes in how we interface with the world and each other being President. Change can be scary.

“One has to fear everything—or nothing.” — Jean Giraudoux

Speaking of scary, I’ve been following the news about Lake Mead and what that news portends for tens of millions of Californians in the very near future. Lost in the maelstrom of meaningless blather about Trump and Clinton is the news that Lake Mead, heretofore the largest fresh water reservoir in America, is no longer the largest such reservoir because the massive lake has shrunk to its lowest level since engineers began filling the lake (behind Hoover Dam) in 1937.

Eighteen years of drought in the southwest combined with the not-so-slow death of the Colorado River watershed largely because of Hoover Dam, has caused this disastrous decline in the amount of water in Lake Mead, which, by the way, supplies almost all the water used by Las Vegas and roughly half the water used by…wait for it…southern California.

In fact, the level is so low and so swiftly falling, that this year Arizona and Colorado and Nevada have to take less than their usual allotments of Lake Mead Water, and if the level drops to where it is expected to drop next year, California will have to take much less Lake Mead water, too. And a few years hence there will be very little water for anyone to take from Lake Mead, at which point we hope they remove Hoover Dam so that after humans have mostly vanished from the earth, the Colorado River basin might become a living ecosystem again.

This means, of course, that most of the twenty million people in southern California will have to move. Soon. Where will they go? Scary.

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” — Swedish Proverb

I do, actually, conflate the exhaustion of Lake Mead with people voting for Hillary instead of Bernie Sanders. Call me silly, but that’s how my mind works. Thousands of shortsighted decisions made by people afraid of change have brought us to a time in our individual and collective lives where the earth we depend on for life is being ravaged by forces set loose through our shortsightedness.

We cannot say we didn’t have sufficient information to make better long-term decisions. We cannot say we didn’t have the means to make fruitful substantive changes. We can say that greed, which is the child of fear, is the most obvious engine of planetary and societal destruction.

We can also say that everything happening today in the larger world is a technologically advanced version of how humans have behaved for tens of thousands of years. One might even say that humans are genetically hardwired to act as we are acting today in the face of the accelerating global climatic and environmental disasters. The difference today is that we have no new places to migrate to, there are too many of us, and we have developed sufficient force, as a species, to destroy the entire biosphere and not just localized areas where we have tarried too long.

“To the sea? To the sky? To the world? Who knows? The stars descend, as usual to the river, carried by the breezes… the nightingale meditates… sorrow grows more lovely. And high above sadness a smile bursts into bloom.” –Juan Ramon Jimenez

So on we go. Bernie will not be the next President of the United States, but we have his example to emulate, which is to be kind, open, curious, generous, daring, compassionate, and forgiving. We’re only human, and maybe we humans have done as well, collectively, as we could ever have hoped to do on this little gem of a planet floating in the vastness of space.

I think we could have done better, could still do better, but that’s just me thinking. And when those millions of people from southern California drive north looking for places to live where there is still, for now, water, how kind and open and compassionate and forgiving will I be?

Scary. Sad. Here they come.

(Todd Walton’s web site is UnderTheTableBooks.com.)

14 Responses to Sad Scary

  1. Keith Bramstedt Reply

    June 15, 2016 at 9:54 am

    It probably wasn’t realistic for a candidate who calls himself a “socialist” to win the nomination of one of the two major parties, both of which seem basically controlled by corporations. Maybe it would be better for Bernie or his followers to try to start a third party.

  2. Jim Updegraff Reply

    June 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Lake Mead: most people will continue to keep their heads buried in the sand until all of suddenly no water to drink, Lots of denial about climate change.

  3. Diane Pool Reply

    June 15, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    It may not have seemed realistic to call himself a socialist, even if mitigating it with ‘Democratic’ but it was honest. And, paired with consistency, made Bernie not only a threat to those who are not, but irresistible to those of us who believe Quixotic dreams are viable.

  4. Susie de Castro Reply

    June 15, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    ‘Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish’ Euripides

  5. Delmar Bolshie Reply

    June 16, 2016 at 9:11 am

    the people have, according to both Jimmy Carter and a Yale study (if memory serves) zero political power. zero. the “election is an investment in iconic faith, an exercise in participatory propaganda, not political power. the anointed august person, if any, that emerges will be cloaked in the rubric of “election”, but will represent another group entirely. I am not complaining about this – history has no regrets…

    and neither does climate…

    withal, to draw on old Robert Graves’ epic – let all the poisons that lurk in the mud – hatch out!

    we shall have, some say, a postponed “election”
    we shall have, some say, a fascist sociopath
    we shall have a traitorous murderer…

    The world’s a freak show, Carlin said, and if you live in the US you get a front-row seat!

    • Susie de Castro Reply

      June 16, 2016 at 10:03 am

      The problem is REPRESENTATIVE governnent. When Democracy was invented in Greece, people were obligated to participate in their own government on a daily basis. To them politics was their life. Remember Socrates? Today, the Swiss have the closest to a Direct Democracy, possible. I, personally felt the urgent need to work in that direction by establishing a Charter County for starters and by participating in civic classes at the Community College and in civic interest groups in my neighborhood in people’s homes. You can read all about how our efforts to create a Charter County were debunked right here at the AVA. The other efforts were debunked by people so blind to their own position, they couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

    • LouisBedrock Reply

      June 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      “history has no regrets…
      and neither does climate…”

      “The stars are dead. The animals will not look.
      We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and
      History to the defeated
      May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon.”

      W.H. Auden

  6. Rick Weddle Reply

    June 18, 2016 at 7:27 am

    re: restrooms for transSubstantiation…

    There’s an ample supply of ones willing to ‘educate’ us on How Things Work, What’s Going To Happen, and so on. We’re happy to have them, for what they’re worth. Like muzak soundtrack for ‘progress.’ However, Everyone (i.e., everybody) gets a Big Surprise when and where Things Actually Really Happen. Science, like the Continents, gets its turn at flipping like a flapjack. There’s so much more going on…maybe there are one or two things which have escaped our damned-near-omnipotent notice? The macrocosmos offers hints: ‘There’s WAY more to this Matter/Energy Deal than meets the eye!’ I keep hearing pundits of various persuasions say, ‘People have no Power.’ If we accept Smoke and Explosions and Mirrors as the only reliable signatures of Power, maybe so. This requires ceasing to recognize Power anywhere else. This would install ‘permanent’ risks (grave, grave, grave,…and so on), kind of like now.

    I’m more of the opinion that People have precisely the Power they exhibit, the same amount they manifest. We’ve shown supernova skills and arts, already, lo, these many centuries. I’ve seen democracy demonstrated on the hoof, As Constituted. Peacefully and otherwise. We’ve even exhibited clear tendencies to tolerance, compassion, justice,…all those ‘intangibles’ we’re so firmly attached to. And accommodated the full destructive weight of War-Making in the way-unbalanced process, thank you.

  7. KimT Reply

    June 24, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Californians DID vote en masse for Bernie. Election Fraud made him lose and you all need to stand up for justice and not just moan about it.

    • Rick Weddle Reply

      June 25, 2016 at 7:49 am

      Agreed. We keep still, we’ve bought it. Nobody should have to endure the embarrassment, the in-your-face corruption, the sheer horror of such an ‘election cycle,’…especially somebody as Special as the Land of the Free and the Home of the goddamn Brave!

      • Rick Weddle Reply

        June 25, 2016 at 8:03 am

        I mean…it’s almost like we’d been taking democracy lessons from the CIA and those ‘black ops’ guys that’ve been operating in our name, under our flag, on our dime, over most of the Planet, for decades (too bleeding long!!)

    • Susie de Castro Reply

      June 25, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Why Hillary won the Primaries

      AP Definitive Source | AP statement on Hillary Clinton
      https://blog.ap.org/announcements/ap-statement-on-hillary-clinton

    • Susie de Castro Reply

      June 25, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Bernie Sanders: I will vote for Hillary Clinton – to stop Donald Trump | US news | The Guardian
      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/24/bernie-sanders-vote-hillary-clinton-election

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