A Hard Rain’s a Gonna’ Fall
As pointed out by the new Nobel Laureate, weather changes can indeed be extreme but sometimes you get a healthy dose of confusion thrown into the mix. Take Guanacaste, mid-November. Officially we’re in the transition to the dry season. The fact of the matter is we seem to be getting these micro transitions from one minute to the next. Blustery offshore winds for a half hour, dark looming clouds out of nowhere and then a sprinkle here, a cloudburst there and no apparent rhyme nor reason in sight. To top it all off, at this writing the National Hurricane Center is keeping close watch on a broad area of low pressure in the Caribbean of Costa Rica that has a good chance of organizing itself into a tropical storm just in time for Thanksgiving.
You don’t need a weatherman to point out that Dylan didn’t get his laurels for expertise in meteorology. What he did accomplish was to put his finger on the pulse and articulate the vital signs of a generation that rose in upheaval to shake off outdated cultural norms, oppose structural injustice on the homefront and build a mass movement that challenged the brutal military misadventures in Southeast Asia. All the same, though Dylan’s Nobel anointment caused quite a stir in the news, a much, much bigger storm was brewing.
To the horrified chagrin of many Americans, a gale force version of Dylan’s “Idiot Wind” swept across the continent coast to coast on the evening of November 8, 2016; more like a seismic event really because the aftershocks have been occurring regularly ever since. The mind boggling quantity of analysis and predictions of what is to come that have flooded both the press and blogosphere would challenge even the most adept speed reader just to keep up, not to mention digest. To this non-voting observer, a few things do stand out.
Not surprisingly, the losing side spent quite a bit of precious time and wasted energy on a new adaptation of an old song: “The Blame Game.” The Democrats even managed to channel the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy, taking a page from the Republican political playbook of yesteryear and hollering about the devious manipulations of that sinister Russian personality, Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, post election breakdown of who voted for what seems to demonstrate that beyond a doubt, a billionaire Republican candidate had surreptitiously managed to tap into the virtual mother lode of previous Democratic support: the wage earning working class, whose fortunes, aspirations and even life expectancy have gone far south as manufacturing jobs went overseas and the economy got turned into a sort of roulette wheel casino capitalism benefitting a diminishing percentage of lucky players. I mean, some of this stuff is like you just can’t make it up. Like Marvin Gaye asked so poignantly a few years ago, “What’s goin’ on?”
And now, to the surprise of almost no one with a functioning frontal lobe, instead of “draining the swamp” of lobbyists, Washington insiders and the corrupt, connected government elite that he constantly maligned during the campaign, Donald Trump seems to merely be siphoning a select number directly out of the ooze and into the upper echelons of the new administration. As to his hopeful–and soon to be disillusioned– supporters, perhaps they should have paid heed to these snippets from the San Francisco based author, Gore Vidal:
“Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won’t be.”
“It makes no difference who you vote for — the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people.”
As if it weren’t sufficient to address legitimate grievances, like those recently outlined in a Fortune magazine piece entitled, “12 Signs America is on the Decline,” candidate Trump apparently decided to add a bit of nitro and jack up the octane of his fiery campaign rhetoric. Given that it’s always easier to blame others and to propose simple solutions to complex historical problems, he fired off salvos of racial epithets against Mexican immigrants and characterized all Muslims as potential terrorists. Ten days after the elections it is crystal clear that he opened the proverbial Pandora’s box, letting loose the demons of racism, intolerance and violence woven like invisible strands into the DNA of American culture. While the surge of incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying that has broken out may have a positive effect on the Guanacaste real estate market, the background theme that comes to mind is straight Buffalo Springfield: “There’s something happening in here, what it is ain’t exactly clear…time to stop children what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down.”
Sadly enough, one of my own musical heroes passed away while I was writing this article. In these times that are a changin’, nothing captures my state of mind more accurately:
“Stop this world, let me off,
There’s just too many pigs at, the same trough.
Too many buzzards, sittin’ on the fence,
Stop this world it’s not, makin’ sense.”
(In memoriam, Mose Allison)
Tom Peifer is an ecological land use consultant with 20 years experience in Guanacaste. 2658-8018. email@example.com El Centro Verde is dedicated to researching and promoting sustainable land use, permaculture and environmentally sound development http://www.elcentroverde.org/