Friday, June 6, 2008

Artichokes and Cavalcades

When the shooting stopped and ragtag veterans straggled home, the politicians took over, cementing in history before a gelatinous future, the Western States of America. There comes a time when institutions previously considered unassailable must bow to change, when in the course of human events, holding truths self-evident and all that shit. The fact is we were tired of getting kicked around, tired of having people far away tell us what we could and couldn’t do, tired of them taking our money and spending it on things we didn’t want it spent on, like killing people.

The formerly united states of America will survive, as England has. Natural borders exist for a reason, rivers and mountain ranges signify more than arbitrary lines on a map. Western Americans are different, we exist in a different space, we share a different history. Aleutians and Russians, Snohomish and Asa’s girls, Utes and Mormons, the Hopi, Anasazi, Mexicans fighting French, Richard Henry Dana and California Dollars, Baja to Bear Flags, Whales, Great Whites, Orcas, Mammoths gone and the Giants live on, refusing to bend to the will of the distant weak. Those feeble in spirit, poor souls gathering riches once too often, gone to the well over and over without so much as a how do you do. Screw your electorate, we’ve got the college majority so we’ve got the authority to do whatever we like with what we steal from you. Tommy Paine was pissed.

Extended tours, army in disarray, economy shattered by banking scandals and Asian governments calling in chits, the field was ripe, revolution wasn’t a vacuous ad slogan anymore, we took to the streets then the hills. No one knows the back alleys and backwoods better than locals and if our forefathers and the Lakers, our Mesopotamian and Algerian and Vietnamese friends taught us anything it was home court advantage counts big time.

Not to diminish the lives lost, bodies shattered, families forever torn apart, but it was surprisingly easy. Take a navy base and a few missile silos and people start to pay attention. Foreign diplomacy, Benji Franks in Paris, no beaver cap, no; a Reyn Spooner and flipflops and we were California Dreamin’ in Tokyo, though. Sole Superpower the biggest poppy to lop and the community of nations stood in line to take their swipe. Hell, this wasn’t Kosovo we were talking about, this was the sixth largest economy in the world.

That’s how it came about, that’s how I found myself standing astride bots dots on a shut down Highway 1, the glistening Pacific on my right, the artichoke fields of Watsonville on my left, the cavalcade of conquering heroes marching slowly in the distance fresh from the battles of LA coming home to Santa Cruz and Gilroy, Milpitas, fucking Bolinas. Not even bothering with cars or trains, taking their sweet goddamn time reveling with the locals night after night as the roving party rolled north, dropping off fellows in their hometowns, kissing newfound friends and long-suffering warrior kin goodbye for now. There was tomorrow, oh yes, as Scarlett said, there's always tomorrow, we’d fought for it and tomorrow is ours forever.

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