Slouching Toward the Next Election | Around the Cone
by Art Goodtimes
Apr 10, 2008 | 367 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EDUCATED VOTERS? … Jim Stiles, who runs the wildly idiosyncratic and delightfully iconoclastic monthly Zephyr over in Moab, is worried about the Republic. It’s not electronic voting that concerns him as much as the quality of voters in this age of television, Hummers and Wal-Mart parking lots … Here’s excerpts of one of his rants on the kind of people that vote in this country (and then we wonder why things are so messed up) … Who votes? … “I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I told him, ‘The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.’ He responded, ‘Is that Eastern or Pacific time?’ Wanting to end the call quickly, I said, ‘Uh, Pacific.’ He votes! … My colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we overheard one of the administrative assistants talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the shore. She drove down in a convertible, but ‘didn't think she'd get sunburned because the car was moving.’ She also votes! … My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car. It's designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the trunk. My sister also votes! … My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were discounted 10 percent. Since it was a big party, we bought two cases. The cashier multiplied two times 10 percent and gave us a 20 percent discount. He also votes! … I was hanging out with a friend when we saw a woman with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain. My friend said, ‘Wouldn't the chain rip out every time she turned her head?’ I explained that a person's nose and ear remain the same distance apart no matter which way the head is turned. My friend also votes! … I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area. So I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up. She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands. ‘Now,’ she asked me, ‘has your plane arrived yet?’ She also votes! … While working at a Pizza Parlor I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into four pieces or six. He thought about it for some time before responding ‘Just cut it into four pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat six.’ Yep, he votes too.”

PERUVIAN POET … Ken Lassman of the on-line Bioregional Network that I used to belong to once shared with the group this poem written in Quechua by José María Arguedas Altamirano, a Peruvian novelist, poet and anthropologist, born in 1911, who throughout his career explored the clash between white civilization and traditional indigenous life ... This poem is called Huk Dokturkunaman Qayay, or “A Call To Some Doctors” ... “They say that we don't know anything, that we are backwardsness, that they'll exchange our heads for others, better ones ... They say that our heart also does not match the times, that it is full of fear, tears, like the calendar lark; like the heart of a huge, butchered bull; and thus (saying) we are impertinent ... They say that some doctors tell this about us; doctors who multiply in our land, who grow fat here, get golden ... What are my brains made of? O what the flesh of my heart? ... The rivers run roaring in their depth. Gold and night, silver and the fearsome night shape the rocks, the walls of the canyon and the river sounding against them; of that silver and gold night-rock are my mind, my heart, my fingers ...What's there, at river's edge, unknown to you, doctor? ... Take out your binoculars, your best lenses. Look if you can ... Five hundred kinds of flowers of as many kinds of potatoes grow on the balconies unreached by your eyes; they grow in the earth; mixed with night and gold, silver and day. Those five hundred flowers are my brains, my flesh ... Why did the sun stop for an instant, why have the shadows disappeared? Why, doctor? ... Start your helicopter and climb here, if you can. The condor's feathers, those of smaller birds, light up, are now a rainbow ... The hundred flowers of quinua, which I planted at the summit, bubble their colors in the Sun; the black wings of the condor and of the tiny birds are now in flower ... It is noon; I am close to the lord-mountains, the ancestor-peaks; their snow now yellow flecked, now with red patches, is shining in the Sun … Don't run away from me, doctor, come close! Take a good look at me, recognize me. How long must I wait for you? ... Come close to me; lift me to the cabin of your helicopter. I will toast you with a drink of a thousand different flowers, the life of a thousand crops I grew in centuries, from the foot of the snows to the forests of the wild bears ... I will cure your weariness, which clouds you; I will divert you with the light of a hundred quinoa flowers, in the sight of their dance as the winds blow; with the slight heart of the calendar lark which mirrors the whole world; I will refresh you with the singing water which I will draw out of the black canyon's walls ... Did I work for centuries of months and years in order that someone I do not know and does not know me, cut off my head with a small blade? ... No, brother mine. Don't sharpen that blade; come close, let me know you; look at my face, my veins; thin winds blowing from us to you, we all breathe them; the earth on which you count your books, your machines, your flowers, it comes down from mine, improved, no longer angry, a tamed earth ... We know that they want to misshape our face with clay; exhibit us, deformed, before our sons ... We don't know what will happen. Let death walk towards us, let these unknown people come ... We will await them; we are the sons of the father of all the lord mountains; sons of the father of all the rivers.
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