Friday, March 7, 2008

Why I have no further plans to investigate Nader

Last week, an old Kucinich compadre emailed me to ask me how I felt about Nader. I don't really feel much about him and I'll admit that, in the past, I'd fallen prey to the "Independents/Choose-your-own-parties only exist to take votes from Democrats." This way, I didn't have to spend time learning more about them.

Having been a big Kucinich supporter (and I still believe that the only way we have "hope" for real "change" is through a progressive candidate and none of the current frontrunners are progressive), I decided that it couldn't hurt to investigate Nader.

I really only did some light research before deciding that delving deeper would be a huge waste of time.

I was thoroughly impressed with Nader's record of public service and the sense of justice he seemed to have. Clearly, he has the average American at heart in the things he tries to accomplish, especially economically. I was happy to hear that he reports that, despite his worth, his cost of living is only about $25K annually and he doesn't own a car or real estate. He reminded me of my dear, sweet, long-lost Dennis.

Except there's more to being president than caring about doing justice by the American people. One needs to have policy proposals and plans! He doesn't really have any, at least not that I could find. I couldn't find any record of what his agenda is on social issues that matter to me, like abortion and gay marraige. I couldn't figure out what his policy would be for Iraq. He's certainly very critical of our homeland security and the money we waste, which is a step in the right direction, but what's he going to do about it? I certainly couldn't find any clear answers. If those answers aren't readily available on his website, why should I look any further?

The clincher for my distaste was in his "money situation." His job appears to be his involvement in his many non-profits and he lives off of his investments. While he doesn't own real estate, he lives in rather wealthy quarters deeded to his sister. If she purchased the home with her own money, the fact of the matter is that she doesn't live there. The investments he lives off of are stocks in companies like Halliburton and ExxonMobil (the very lecherous type of company he wants to protect American citizens from.

It just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


My mom lives in a condo across from the lighthouse. The complex consists of four buildings, each two stories. Hers is on the backside, second story and, therefore, the only view of the lake is from her deck (do we call it a deck when it's on a second story?), which is on the south side of the building.

In the spring or summer, the sun is eager to warm the southernmost portion of the deck and it is relaxing to sit there and occasionally catch a glimpse of the freighters through the one spot where trees don't obscure the view of the lake.

The property that is visible from my mom's deck is the Coast Guard's. On it sit the lighthouse, two houses (one of which is the old lighthouse keeper's residence, the other is the old Coast Guard station), a large garage (belonging to the old Coast Guard station), and the new Coast Guard station, completed four years ago. As the new Coast Guard stations is, well, new, it is a very attractive and capable building but does not have the historical appearance of the other buildings and stands out; it doesn't quite flow.

Neither does the fence surrounding the property.

I'm a bit of a nature freak. Just a bit. Nature is a powerful thing; it's the only thing that's ever made me stop and question if there just might be an higher power. The lake, the mountains (recently), etc. have incredible abilities. Still, there is nothing more amazing to me than observing the best of what man can create coupled with nature.

It's why walking down by the river and seeing the bridges above the border of where the river becomes the lake makes me smile. It's why I love to see a massive freighter floating beneath them. It's why I love the skyline of a big city.

Unfortunately, for every grand thing that can be accomplished by the best of man, a sin against it is committed by the worst.

That's why we need fences.

Homeowners put up privacy fences and then paint them or stain them to make them look more attractive. It's almost become a status symbol: a big privacy fence surrounding the backyard of a home situated on a well-manicured lawn. To me, the very act of making the privacy fence more attractive is a rarely pondered admission that the landscape it obscures is finer.

Along with our privacy fences are the unwritten rules of governance that imply who is allowed the privledge of viewing our landscape (which is interrupted by the even less attractive backside of the fence). There are very valid reasons to erect a privacy fence, of course. It's too bad we should have to.

Chain link fences, like the one protecting the Coast Guard property, are the worst. They can't be disguised as an effort to keep up with the Jones'. At least they're honest.

Every fence I've ever encountered has a gate. Unless it's chained and locked, like the one protecting the Coast Guard property, the fence isn't much of a deterrent. Small children can still be seduced to cross the boundary once they learn how to operate it and the worst of man can still be seduced in when the need arises.

Really, most fences do nothing but create the illusion of protection. We protect ourselves or set boundaries for our possessions.

And they fuck up the landscape.