Saturday, November 1, 2008

Election 2008, My Political Quest to Florida

Thursday, October 24th.

I had first planned to go to Pontiac, Michigan, the land of my birth. Because, I've heard that STUPID, CORRUPT, AND RACIST whites in the midwest and southern USA will not vote for a Black Man to be President. Then McCain quit on MI, and I got the offer to go to Miami, FL, someplace I've never been, and I figured I'd see if I could learn something about the people of these United States.

My trip to Florida was sponsored by a Democratic Party Member, who gave up 50,000 Airline miles to transport me, but I had to get to LAX, and that meant a bus ride, a trolly ride, a train ride, another bus ride and then a flight to San Francisco to connect to a flight to Miami. All this travel time, on public transit, across this country, gave me time to think about the issues we face. Strange how it all comes into focus. Unsustainable.

On October 14th, I had knee surgery, so I'm traveling as a little disabled, they put me on little electric cars designed for those who can not walk by themselves, and made me check my luggage, as I was difficult to carry. This made me think about how many people in our society are legitimately disabled, and need access to public services like transportation, and how the issue of healthcare effects our citizen's opportunities.Unsustainable.

After struggling with our public transit system, I finally got on the Surfliner, a train that runs up the coast all the way to Santa Barbara. It was a comfortable and relaxing trip, but it brought up many issues as it moved me. First the cost was $29 one way to Union Station, which didn't seem too expensive, considering how much trains cost, the railroad is heavily subsidized, but what shocked me was the fact that they actually had separate FIRST CLASS / BUSINESS CLASS and Coach Cars. Talk about a society that needs its social stratification, you gotta be treated special while riding the TRAIN! Unsustainable.

On the train I was joined by three 22 year old college students from various schools around San Diego, all on their way home to Los Angeles or beyond, to see their family for the weekend. I listened to them talk, they were strangers, yet shared so much in common, all minority, all female, all young, all single. There conversation ranged over the spectrum of their lives, from sex, and family, to ambitions and carriers, their work/school lives, their hopes for the future, their majors, they spoke freely about everything, and I was the proverbial fly on the wall. It makes me think about all the undereducated kids I meet each summer, most have graduated from high-school, even college, and are still uneducated, illiterate, and naive. Unsustainable. I was both shocked and scared to hear how naive they were about the world, yet how worldly they were about relationships. It seemed they were dialed-in on matters of personal/emotional life, yet unfortunately ignorant about history, politics, money, and their position in the world, but their conversation gave me clues about the reality of their demographics, a reality I was blissfully unaware of before. The danger is that this next generation of Americans, with their dual identity as the children of immigrants and former slaves will believe that their lives will continue to get better, because they have gone to college, yet will not realize the low quality of their education, and that their future has already been mortgaged by the mistakes of the current administration. Without realizing it, they have been set up to be wage slaves, to be cogs in the machine, paying taxes, creating wealth, without any real understanding that their potential has been limited, and they will spend their lives trying to survive at levels their parents took for granted. Unsustainable.

As you go north on the rail, you pass many costal lagoons and wildlife refuges. Each is unique, but they all have various appeal. There aren't many wild places left for the birds to land, and few places where children can still see unspoiled land, sans development. Unsustainable.

The Energy problem came to mind as I passed both the Encinitias Hydrocarbon and San Onofre Nuclear Power Plants. We need more power, and these technologies are limited in there usefulness, both have unnecessary risks. We need new technologies, new leadership, to give us a sustainable energy plan. This will take great minds, government regulation, and special motivation, if we are going to save the future for the kids. Unsustainable.

At the mouth of the brackish marsh where the train crosses next to the Encinitas Power station, I can see the lines of oyster farms in the water. The power-plant heats the sea water and creates a dead zone as the hot water flows into the sea. The warm water is great for winter surfing, but it kills the natural environment. Now we plan to use the same lagoon for water to go to a huge desalination plant, that will ad to the salinity, and use HUGE amounts of energy just to keep giving us water for our lawns. Unsustainable.

If you know about the various projects that have been done along the San Diego coast to study the water run-off and the flood plain, so as to justify the local development of our wetlands, then you understand the dilemma. Costal Land is extremely valuable, and any developer will tell you that the profit on such land can be almost unlimited. It's just too bad if your kids will never be able to afford to park near the beach. Unsustainable.

As I passed Tressels, north of Camp Penelton, it made me think no only of the War in Iraq, and all its problems; PTSD, Brain Injuries, Raped Women Soldiers, Mercenary Military Contractors, War Profiteers, Increased Global Instability, Millions of Dead Iraq Citizens, Decreased Homeland Security, Iran, Syria, ect., but it also reminded me of the public battle over the new Toll Road that they want to put through this area, and the courts that will decide if some corporation can ruin our natural environment to privatize our public transit? Unsustainable.

One of the best kept secrets in Surfing are the perfect waves of San Juan Capistrano. If there is a perfect place to be a kid, these affluent Orange County Beaches are the best. I can't imagine a world where people will be locked out of paradise because they can't afford to live there. Unsustainable.

Then the Surfliner cuts inland across Anaheim, and 26 lanes of Interstate Highway-5, the largest, busiest highway in the world. Unsustainable. Past Angles Stadium, which reminds me of Baseball and all the problems with Developers trying to con the public into building new stadiums for teams like "The Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim". Then we proceed past the broken down backyards of a few million people, who try to exist in this dry desert river-bed, all covered with razor wire and urban graffiti. Then past strip malls, and business parks, car yards, and industrial complexes, factories, and finally into Union Station in Down Town LA.

Union Station, an old school public space, with public art, a mecca for those who can not afford the plane or the car, real travelers. I see a man, a boy really, smoking. He sits on a green military ruck-sack, behind a pillar, sharing cigarettes with strangers. I worry again about PTSD, and all the problems of war. Who really fights the wars we choose? Unsustainable.

Why do people smoke? Why should we pay for their healthcare if they do?

I get on another bus, manned by working class stiffs. These are the bus drivers, ticket takers, baggage handlers. They are overweight, underpaid, depressed. I ride with students, and business people, most don't speak english. This is the real American people, every race, religion, and nationality. Unsustainable.

We move through heavy LA traffic. Dirty, no trees, no life, just mile after mile of concrete. Unsustainable.

The line at the ticket counter is full of American Senior Citizens. What will happen to them now that the Stock Market has crashed and their pensions are gone. What about my parents, and the demographic bubble of Baby Boomers that are all reaching retirement NOW! Unsustainable.

We come to Los Angeles International Airport, LAX, and we see its under construction again. Expanding to handle the crowds and air freight. Square Miles of flat, open concrete, with giant jet-planes crossing in every direction. Unsustainable.

At the airport I miss my plane, but my ticket allows me to fly standby on a latter flight to San Francisco. While I wait, I go eat at Bradley International Terminal, where I watch a hundred thousand people from around the world come and go, speaking a thousand languages. I sit next to an Irish couple, who just completed a two week tour of the South West United States. They are in total AWE of the USA. They are worried about the money, the banks are failing. I tell them I'm going to campaign in Florida. They remind me how what the USA does effects the rest of the world.

Bradley Terminal is named after Tom Bradley, LA's first Black Mayor, who was in charge while I was a kid in Riverside, CA. He ran for Governor of California once in the 1970's, I think. In the days that follow I will learn about the "BRADLEY EFFECT" that is the tendency for STUPID, CORRUPT, and RACIST whites to say they will vote for a Black Candidate, like Barack Obama, then go to the Polls and be unable to choose a person with pigment in their skin. I'm left with the question; "Do these people really deserve someone like Barack Obama?" We get what we deserve. Unsustainable.

Never Forget

Building 7 WTC 2001

Events - The San Diego County Community Coalition