Carrots can fight back. I remember when my youngest daughter, Ayn pulled out one carrot and it suddenly let go after resisting. Plump, she went right on her bottom, looking surprised. Then she started to laugh, still holding on to that carrot. Then she ate it. It was a long time ago.
Back then I tried to grow all of our food because I knew it was much healthier. Also cheaper. That meant time in the garden with the kids. Those were good times that still make me smile. Such are the moments you treasure, along with the luminescent expression on a child's face when they figure something out. Like how to tie their shoe or get the kite up by themselves. What we remember through a glaze of tears are the things that last.
I can remember when I was little myself. Sitting in the backyard of our house on Colby Avenue in West Los Angeles I would listen with fascination to Mr. Bell, my friend Alan's grandpa, from across the street, tell me about what it was like to be a Pony Express Rider. He remembered the sound of the wind, the feel of his horse, sweating as the sun fried his face even under his hat. He told me the elation he felt when he arrived yet again unscathed. Listening still connects me to him and to the history of the country I love.
Most of us today are hungry for that sense of connection and for more things in our lives that are worth remembering; the things you take with you no matter what else happens. The good news is that we can have them. The bad news, if it is bad, is that we will have to give up on piles of things that we don't remember and on working hard to have nothing much worth the effort.
We need to give up on the idea of being a world power, having our children go off to die in wars that are about corporate profits. And, finally, we need to remember the vision that is still the America we love. That vision drew millions to the promise of what could be when a people were free to live their lives for themselves, in community with others. Close you eyes and see how it was for them. It was never about wealth, it was about hope, security, watching your children grow up strong and free. It was about realizing the best in yourself and showing respect for others. It was and is about community; looking into the eyes of people and finding those connections that last a life time. It is about doing the right thing because you know it matters. Each of these involves a choice. Each of those choices take us back to the freedom that makes human relationships work. When you choose right everything else falls into place.
America is the place where freedom was first recognized as an inherent part of our nature; a gift of God existing before government. Then it was understood that government had no rights, being a simple organizing tool to be changed at our will. That was the real Revolution, the change of ideas. We need to remember that truth.
When you stand on a firm foundation of values, honesty, integrity, community, you do not need to be afraid. Today we are just that, afraid. In this America we have learned to fear things that would have astonished our parents.
Today we worry when we see a police car; we worry about the steady increase of executive orders that ignore the Constitution. We see the direction of an administration that does not even bother to pretend it is acting within the law. We stand at risk, the stark reality of a police state staring us in the face. Shaking out heads we wonder how we arrived at this insanity.
America is now looking at a projected minimum of two million foreclosures in the coming year. We are watching with horror and disbelief as the economy melts down into a sizzling puddle of unidentifiable goo and tent cities spring up to hold the dispossessed. An unsettling rumor is now circulating that in early May the Amero will begin circulating. The Trans Texas Corridor continues to be built, eviscerating our nation, the product of that ugly union of government and corporations. And none of it was an accident. Each step followed the logic of greed, using deceit as its tool and concentrating power as its means.
The steady trend over the last 200 years has been to a centralization of power that allows the extinguishing of the rights of individuals and evasion of accountability for those in power. Each of these changes over time have resulted in the conversion of our institutions to the control of corporations and those who hold power through government.
We are now clear about what does not work. It is time to hit the reboot button.
America began with a Revolution that was organized from the small towns across the colonies. They had reached a common understanding of the rightness of their cause from the Internet of the day. That was the Committees of Correspondence and the letters outlining the issues that were passed from hand to hand among a population that was highly literate and had, for generations, participated in militias that were sponsored by towns, most of these less than a thousand individuals. They were a people who knew each other very personally. Men brought their own guns and ammunition to the Commons. They knew that duty demanded they be ready to act. Community mattered and the tool for decision making was not the vote, it was persuasion and consensus. This ensured that all were heard and all were respected. It built and reinforced strong community values. The solution is a return to community and the values that made America possible.
We can take back America building from the county level and stopping right there. Let the rest wither away as an unwatered weed.
For us the target unit of action should be the county. The sheriff of your local county is the top law enforcement officer, entitled to order out or arrest those who violate the rights of residents. There are men and women who are not afraid to speak the truth and for the Constitution. Sheriff Richard Mack, the proponent for the Mack – Printz Decision that overthrew the Brady Bill and affirmed the wisdom of the Constitution, stood tall when he said NO to the Feds. Other sheriffs can learn to stand tall, too. We can help them understand what their oath means.
With some exceptions most counties in the US are small enough to be reformed, their offices filled, through the concerted efforts of a small group of determined individuals who win election to essential offices. The excess infrastructure of the county should be pruned. During the coming readjustment we will need cutbacks that place the nexus of control firmly in the hands of the people who will handle those services they still deem to be necessary themselves.
It will be a time filled with challenges and changes. We will each of us grow with it.
Food grown locally will ensure it is there to nourish us and lower the need for oil. Locally grown food helps local small farms survive and provides excellent nutrition that builds our ability to flourish. Good nutrition is the too long ignored essential to simple good health and factory food is devoid of essential value. Medical bills will decline. Local food also provides the possibility of new local business as our values shift to those things that last, that are worth remembering.
And Americans will rediscover their ability to innovate. Energy, transportation, our spiritual foundations; each is ready for many changes. Expect surprises that remake the world. We will live differently and better, finding the things that convert hope to reality.
In the end America can emerge from the fire reborn for a freedom that is newly understood and vastly more valued. America is still the unrealized vision, the hope for all our tomorrows.
And a new generation of Ayns will learn to eat carrots that they have watched growing and smile when the carrot pops out of the soil, ready for the eating.