TURKEY DAY … The wild Turkey should have been the American animal totem, if we hadn’t been so enamored of military might that we chose the Eagle instead. But then we are a nation born in revolution. If it hadn’t been for military might, we might not exist as an independent nation. We might have stayed a British colony, part of the English Commonwealth, toasting a queen or king instead of sticking stubbornly to a Constitution that, for all its faults, upholds our Declaration of Independence with its championing of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness … Yes, the Electoral College is an anachronism unworthy of any modern democracy. Yes our winner-take-all elections often leave minorities (and always minor parties) disempowered. Traditions like the Senate’s filibustering allows the few to thwart the many … I love quoting President Obama, “We are an imperfect union.” But our job as citizens, as Jefferson would have admonished us, is to keep advocating for change, and to work towards “a more perfect union,” as Lincoln envisioned … We’ve done that in many ways. Ending slavery. Extending suffrage to women. More recently, legalizing gay marriage in some states. And in Colorado, even legalizing cannabis … These changes have been slow, and yet on the scale of human history amazingly swift. Race equality, like gender equality, isn’t achieved, but we’re working towards it, and we’re getting closer … This Thanksgiving there is a lot to be thankful for. Re-electing Obama may not have seemed so momentous or invigorating or even hopeful as his first campaign for office. But, in my mind, it’s far more important … I’m a Green. I have lots of disagreements with both political parties. But I voted for Obama this election. Yes, Dr. Jill Stein was far closer to what I truly believed. I think her Green New Deal was a far better road map for our future than what any of the other candidates offered, including Obama … But I also understand our clunky electoral system and its imperfect workings. There may have been 17 candidates running for president – but only two counted. And the Romney/Ryan vision of America, with its Reagan/Bush war-mongering foreign policy and its domestic war on the middle class, women, gays and drugs was not a very hopeful vision for my children – from my perspective … As I’ve stated in this column previously, I’ve reserved criticizing Obama until his second term. One-term presidents can’t change much. The next four years will really determine what Obama can do to change and improve this nation. That he won a second term shows me – a long-term thinker – that he got it. He understood that he needed to balance his supporters’ hope for change the first time around, with enough moderation to appeal to independents and allow him a second term. That’s the great secret to being successful in politics – thinking strategically … This term will be the time to criticize and agitate (as Jim Hightower would say) and see if we can move the national conversation towards a Greener vision of America, and the world.
KEN SALAZAR … I know it wasn’t politically correct (threatening to punch out a journalist for ambushing him in a press conference) and it might have soured Ken’s chances for higher office, but maybe I’ve lived in Norwood too long or maybe it’s my deep Italian ancestry. As I’ve written in one of my poems, my neck keeps getting redder, even as I try to hold a green course forward through a blue county … I had to secretly admire Ken for losing his cool. How many times have I wanted to say exactly that after a public meeting? … Ken’s a true Westerner, not just because he continues to wear his cowboy hat in D.C., but because he sometimes lets his emotions get the best of his razor-sharp mind. Personally, I love both those aspects of him (and yes, he did apologize for the inappropriate behavior).
CANNABI-TOURISM … In these hard economic times, I think Telluride and San Miguel County have just been given an amazing economic opportunity (not without its perils but with great potential benefits) … If we can jump on setting up a reasonable licensing system, I could see San Miguel County becoming the Amsterdam of ski areas. Folks could flock from all over the country to come here to enjoy their recreational herb legally, while skiing our slopes and attending our summer season of festivals … San Miguel County was first in the state in percentage of voters approving Amendment 64 that regulates cannabis like alcohol (79 percent) – followed by Pitkin (75 percent), Summit (69 percent), Gunnison (67 percent), Eagle (66.5 percent), Boulder (66 percent), Denver (65.9 percent), San Juan (65 percent) and Saguache (64 percent).
MOSHER EXPOSURE … I don’t know about you, but I’m upset with KOTO for yanking my favorite radio talk show off the air last month. I love Audrey and Erick and their banter. It’s radio with a little meat, some local color, and a great camaraderie … Every radio station has music. But only community radio has local talk show hosts who reflect the quirky, idiosyncratic, oddball humor and lifestyle of a place. It’s what made Telluride a mecca for the downwardly mobile in the Seventies … Have we gotten so upscale these days we can’t allow some diverse opinions and peculiar perspectives? Personally, I relish the show – it’s my kind of mustard on a great hot dog … Let our community station know how you feel. Bring back the Moshers.
THE TALKING GOURD
eating my hafiz of an avocado
you gave me after i
& we watched together
the pre-moon alpenglow on the waiting
peaks of Wilson Mesa’s overflow
that silky spiky cream green
beloved flavor, almost sweet
gift for gift