Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lone Cone Country v. 1 # 2

LONE WHAT? … The Cone is a cinder plug that floated to the top of the magma heap like a big cork & over the millennia has shed its mantle of surface rubble to reveal the basement rock from deep within the paleocore – above timberline steep scree slopes of fractured igneous, often wreathed in clouds around the storms that buffet its mother mountain peak … As graceful a Grand Teton as Mother Earth provides, but up close a shattered skeleton of slippery stones … I live on Wright’s Mesa, looking south to Lone Cone, as one of my wives used to say.

IRREGULAR? … Was hoping to make this more regular than it’s been (just one column back in November). But still recovering from my father passing, and the campaign hullabaloo. Happily, Obama won in D.C., and I won a fourth term in San Miguel County … Hoping to share my three-dot style of journalism a wee bit more often than once a quarter.

YOUTH VOTE … For the past seven years the Southwest Colorado Chapter of the Green Party in Montezuma County has been sponsoring a candidate forum at the Montezuma-Cortez High School. This year they asked me to moderate, which meant guiding students through a morning civics class in American democracy … I did an intro, and got to do a short summation on the importance and responsibility of voting at the end. But most of the two-hour special program for civics class students from MCHS, Dolores High School and SouthWest Open School got taken up with a roundtable give-and-take directly among students and candidates. Each candidate took a seat at one of eight tables, and the 100 or so kids were parceled out in small clusters of a dozen or so. Candidates included 58th Colo. House District candidates Noelle Hagan of Montrose and hometown favorite Scott Tipton of Cortez; Montezuma County Commissioner candidates Fred Blackburn and Alfred Hughes (incumbent Larrie Rule called in sick and candidate Paul Young was a no-show); 22nd District Attorney candidates, incumbent James Wilson and challenger Mac Myers; and members of the League of Women Voters talking about the many bond issues. Students spent a half-hour with one candidate, and then moved to a second table for the second half-hour … Since I know Commissioner Rule and have attended meetings with him, I took his table, and tried to explain his political philosophy, as best I could, although he is a very conservative Republican. That was an interesting exercise, but soon the kids were more interested in getting my reactions to their questions --- “Do you believe in gun control?”, “Should schools be run democratically?” and a long discussion led by one young woman about Amendment 48 and how making zygotes persons could lead to far more teen pregnancies … It was gritty stuff. Good stuff to be discussed. And I spoke at the end of how democracy only works if we get involved, informed. How voting was a responsibility of a citizen, and how important and precious it was to be able to make our choices known, and to have our choice be honored to represent us … The more I reflected on the afternoon, the more sense it made to offer this kind of program for our young people. And the prouder I was of the Southwestern Colorado chapter of the Colorado Green Party. What better way to further the key value of grassroots democracy than by hosting a forum for youth about to be given the franchise of voting?

NORWOOD … Okay, the t-shirt logo “NorwoodStock” may have been over the top, but the Norwood Arts & Music Festival back in October was one helluva party, with kickass bands and wild women & wild men, dancing & partying. Plus, there were great booths, private parties and the kind of mingling that you don’t see up in Telluride as much anymore – Rastafarians & bikers right up along side ranchers & framers … ‘Course, my fav performance was hearing the illustrious Joan McKinney tinkling the ivories in the old Log Cabin. What a gifted pianist, and she doesn’t read music, does it all from ear. She had many of us, old and young (a category that’s becoming increasingly fuzzy for this paleohippie), entranced or moved to sing along … The first annual NAMF put Norwood on the map as heavy on the happening and short on the once-familiar snores. It was a rock-em sock-em Saturday night along the Gurley Ditch and out back beside the fire station … Huge kudos to everyone connected to this marvelous first timer, but I want to single out Jim and Steve Dabal, Margie Huebner, Pirate Rob, Anatasia Turner and Kristina Stellhorn for all the work they did in getting the event off the ground … It was nice to have the entire Lower Basin community involved – Nucla to Norwood Hill. There may be imaginary county boundaries separating the San Miguel Basin, but it’s all one watershed on the ground … Two Candles and the Livery are GREAT venues, and the Log Cabin is about as historical as it gets beyond Telluride’s mining camp Victorians … So, forget the old nickname, Snorewood. Things are changing on Wright’s Mesa, and Grand Avenue is a happening place at last.

MONTHLY QUOTA … "Republicans believe in socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor." –John Kenneth Galbraith … You know, as a political progressive, passionately interested in social justice since I left the Catholic seminary 40 years ago, it’s embarrassingly ironic to watch a Republican administration propose a bailout, which is really a buy-out, which is really the state taking control of private financial institutions. A textbook case of socialist policy – nationalizing the means of production … It’s hard for me to understand how anyone with the Republicans could claim to be a conservative (no matter how much lipstick you put on the pig) when their highest elected official has chosen socialism (not the free market) to deal with our current financial crisis … No wonder I’m a Green.


-for Bill Hickey

Too damned old & leonine?
No, I’m bolder & wiser,

Hold bedrock values
in spite of the rainbows I wear.
Share citizens’ trust.

Truth is, this job makes you
change your mind
like teens change clothes.

Learn from whatever
you bump up against & can’t move.
Yes I sometimes roar.

Get passionate
about the People’s work.
Parse a certainty

for the lie it may be.
Sniff the wolves in sheepskin.
Know maybe

the best can be done
puts band-aids
on bleeding arteries.

Like Vincent St. John knew.
Like Harvey Milk knew.
And dared to do.
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