Tom Clyde: Thanksgiving karma
Thanksgiving come and gone, ski season getting off to a slow start, and Christmas looming out there. Time marches on. The world doesn’t seem quite right. Politics is all sideways and not making a lot of sense. The President has endorsed a child molester for the Senate in Alabama on the grounds that a Republican child molester is better than a non-pervert Democrat. That’s because they are trying to cram a tax plan through before the end of the year to meet an entirely artificial deadline, and the plan is so obnoxious that they know not a single Democrat will vote for it. Better to have a child molester in the Congress than consider bi-partisan tax reform.
OK, so the child molester hasn’t actually been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court. So technically he’s just an accused child molester. It’s not the quality of evidence to put him in prison, but it’s good enough to think he doesn’t belong in the United States Senate. Unless, of course, you are pushing a hyper-partisan agenda and don’t have a vote to spare. It really shouldn’t be that hard to get a few Democrats on board with the tax bill. They are beholden to the same corporate interests as the Republicans. A few tweaks, maybe a couple of hearings, and they could have a bipartisan bill. But somehow, in the warped politics of the last 10 years that would be seen as weakness by both sides.
So we’ll see where things end up. Alabama might elect the child molester, and the tax plan may fall apart anyway because they couldn’t get health care or anything else through.
I came of age during the tumult of the late 1960’s and early 70’s. There were riots in the streets, cities on fire, and assassinations. Johnson and Nixon were both basically run out of town on a rail. Maybe it’s the passage of time, or a sense that the rage was more or less focused in the right directions back then – civil rights, the end of the Vietnam war – but in hindsight, it feels like it worked out. Johnson’s lies about the war caught up to him; Nixon was removed from office. Stuff got done.
The cities aren’t on fire now, but I wonder if that’s because the odds are so overwhelmingly against finding enough people who agree on anything to put a riot together. There’s still a lot to be thankful for, including a firm belief that this, too, shall pass. The Senate is packed with octogenarians from both parties. They can’t last forever, and not all of their replacements will be child molesters. Hope springs eternal.
Earlier in the week, I drove into town to the grocery store. On the way in, traffic was backed up terribly, which in my neighborhood means there were a couple of cars in view. A flock of wild turkeys was standing in the middle of the highway, and not about to move. People got out of their cars to watch them. Nobody was in a hurry – turkeys or people. On the way home, in the same spot, there was a car pulled off to the side of the road. I assumed they were on turkey watch, but as I drove by, I could see that they had the trunk emptied out and were fixing a flat.
I turned around and went back to see if they were OK. There were two women there, both older than me. They had the car on the jack, but were struggling with the lug wrench. I was able to get the tire off, but discovered their spare was also flat. So I drove that home and blew it up. They were from Hanna, and were on the way to Heber to buy groceries for Thanksgiving dinner. There is a grocery store in Duchesne, but to pull off a proper Thanksgiving, they needed to go to the big city. Heber.
The older woman reminded me of my long-gone aunts on Dad’s side of the family. They were ranch wives who were equally comfortable baking pies or pulling the starter motor out of a truck. I commented that it was surprising that I had been able to get the tire off without cussing. She said they had already thoroughly warmed it up before I got there.
It was a completely random encounter, filled with pleasant conversation and laughter. They had the situation under control and, other than the spare needing to be inflated, there wasn’t much I contributed. They offered me $20 when I got the job done. I turned that down and said the karma was worth far more. We wished each other a happy Thanksgiving and parted ways. It’s unlikely we will ever see each other again.
But I left feeling hopeful. Maybe we can reclaim our democracy one pleasant, random, interaction at a time.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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