The Two Sides

It’s wrong. Eating meat. Eating plants. Living things. Perhaps that is why the first step is fixing it. Cooking it down, quartering, seasoning, sauteing, anything that reduces the item’s resemblance to its original and generative purpose. Who it was. A recipe to change it into what. Eating meat is like presidential wartime powers. Probably something we started doing in dire need and without much hesitation at all, a habit upon returning to peacetime, we found hard to shake. A highly digestible, palatable, abundant protein source, that clearly loudly and often violently tries not to make it on the menu. What makes eating meat wrong is what makes human beings marvelous. Empathy. Witnessing an animal going through a circumstance that would be a crime if done to you. Do people think farmers don’t feel this? Meat packers, butchers, hunters, people who work in slaughterhouses. Someone could scream it at me long as the day they don’t, but I know they know killing is wrong.

Imagine, as an example, a gun set on a compass, aimed outward, able to spin in three hundred and sixty degrees. Perfectly legal. As it starts to turn. Nothing but trees and open distance backdrop. Legal. Forty five degrees. Ninety degrees. Still dusty distance and wide open trees. Legal, One hundred and eighty. Approaching three sixty. When just at the very end of the full circle rotation, there stands a perfectly innocent bystander, in direct line of fire of the weapon. Well shit, see now the whole operation is illegal. It’s wrong. It’s been pointed at a human. So the same perfectly legal life ending device, aimed a particular angle, enacts a new set of laws and legal circumstances and moral implications. What’s wrong here? The gun, the compass, the ammunition, or the angle, the direction, is pointing it without just cause illegal, because that’s really trivial and unlikely to work in any sort of preventative capacity. Is it spinning illegal?

Legalistic structures don’t illustrate moral axioms very well, in the same way that a two sided coin doesn’t make good decisions.

There are three hundred and sixty four degrees of deadly that are perfectly reasonably regulated but legal, and one degree that will cost you your freedom, all your rights, possibly your life, and of course, your memory, and whatever untarnished reputation you might have achieved otherwise.

This is too complex for right or wrong.
For heads or tails. Aces or deuces. For guessing. Gambling. For hope.

Almost all the animals we know are ones that made the team, drew the human eye, and manipulated a little life for themselves out of some form of overbred, hyper domestic, servile, obedient existence. We come to know the world, other animals, farms, gardens, nature, heavily and violently on our own terms, whomsoever made the cut and avoided being cut. Most of these animals are food that we eat. So much so in fact their meat has become synonymous with their names. They have no more life outside of humans, because of how far into the house of socioeconomic interdependency we’ve bred them. Changed them. Taken away all their options, and genetically rearranged them.

Suffice to say, we’ve already consumed them, on a special level, even if you’ve somehow never eaten a bite of meat, or given it up and swear it off for the rest of your time alive enough to grow hungry from living. Modern chicken only exists because of appetite, the many choices and dependencies of our ancestors. Not just mine. Or theirs. But yours. Few things are so universal, as this baseline fact, that all domesticated animals are Frankenstein’s of human fancy and invention.

Point being, no one’s innocent. Not eating meat doesn’t allow you to opt out of having this difficult conversation. It just means you’re full. Which is what makes this so hard. We all are. We’re full. Societally. And we’re saying eating certain food is wrong because we’ve forgotten what all we started doing back when we were hungrier. We may yet be hungry again.

It’s an easy, light coin to toss: wrong or right.
Much heavier, harder, less forgiving
is the dented chunk of metal with the two sides
starve or survive.

The Almighty Dollar

Modern money is idolatry. Its very existence is a social contrivance. Like a lot of human institutions, it is representative, more so than authentic. For our ancestors, one of the stupidest, and most dangerous form of savings, was money. The wealthiest derived that status through land possession, crop stores, timber, chattel. Money was a placeholder, a tool for conversion. Lots of things have been money. Metal. Salt. Beads. And now, green pieces of paper and your hard fought credit score.

It is a relatively recent development. Even just a couple hundred years ago, money didn’t mean nearly what all it means to us now. You could have no money to speak of whatsoever, and live on your land, and eat from it. This idea that taxes just take a percentage of something that already exists is false. Taxation requires any land owner or laborer to convert some of their time or assets into the almighty dollar. And considering one of those trade goods is priceless, invaluable, and rare, and the other is as cheap as you need it to be, we always end up losing out on the conversion. We’re taxed. Even people who can only work a little, and are on food assistance programs, they get taxed. The goal is for all of the economy to pass through this government sanctioned, printed, malleable tender. Even if it is being spat right back up on people left in unsustainable economic conditions. Our government has become a glorified middle man. Our ancestors wouldn’t understand this.

I just wonder, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, why can’t we, as a community, simply take stock of our needs, and the ability of the lands within our regions to produce and meet that need. Instead of taxing our food producers and forcing them to convert their labor intensive products into money, why couldn’t some of those required taxes be rendered in providing food to the community, jobs, housing, even arts, culture and entertainment. I don’t know if you’ve read at all about what farms used to mean for people, but the idea of running a monotonous, one crop operation was almost unheard of. Very rare. Once, farms were cultural and economic institutions. Seasonal jobs to offer, cheap or even free housing for workers, hosting community events and celebrations. Fairs and concerts and markets.

Why would our government not want to send hungry people to this sort of place to get food, and possibly short term employment, or housing? They’re already taxing the farm, why not give a call, and ask, instead of these tens of thousands of dollars we were going to force you to render at peril of keeping your assets and freedom, there are three thousand people in your area on government assistance, what could you do for them?

That’s a good question, why exactly would our government not simply operate as a big picture, national seamstress quilting all the various agricultural regions together to form one solid, cohesive food system that could actually outlast the almighty, yet highly mortal US dollar. Don’t they care about us? Haven’t our leaders seen how currency is prone to inflate, and shrink back. I mean, by design, capitalism, our current form of economy, creates a recession or even a depression every decade. Don’t people lose all their savings even in mild recessions? Could we research what happens to the suicide rate during a recession, or god forbid, depression? People literally, and in more than a million ways, die with the dollar.

So this seems to me an insufficient vehicle to distribute basic resources we all require to maintain the little things, like breath, and open eyes, and a body that works, and a reasonable mind.

I don’t have some inscrutable authority to determine the rightness or wrongness of any issue, but same as you, I do have the ability to say there are some issues that truly effect all of us equally. Such as access to food, water, shelter, healthcare. Products we expire without. And knowing how many of those requirements exist naturally, easily on a farm, I wonder why our government talks about agriculture systems so infrequently.

Not really. I don’t wonder. I’m being ironic. It is because farms are true government. The first government. And that group of men who gathered up on the east coast and claimed to be this country’s new government, were mostly farmers. Problem was, they didn’t want to be any longer. So they became judges and congressmen and senators, and established a system that would allow their children to not to have to be farmers also.

If a farm is run right, and smart, a person could disappear into one like a black hole, and never be seen again, except for at a produce stand, strand of grass hung out from their mouth, while they turn a little bit of their best corn into petty cash, just to have some pocket money.

The base of our economy should be a barter based, agrarian community of farms, connected by foot trails and train tracks and highways like ivy vines all leading back to that rooted base. A productively laid back home place. People should be able to wade into it like a kiddy pool beside the high dive and sixteen foot deep end of the rest of the economy. Mark ups and tax rates are disrespectful and dangerous when they stand between someone and their survival.

Food, water, and shelter are not appropriate commodities for purely monetary economies.

Which, ironically, was the way it always was, even back when America was established. Everybody had a back-home and family farm they could retreat to when their city endeavors were taxed too high, or like we have now, a government that refuses to operate outside of its own self preservation. We literally have a system of government where our leaders can never make an unpopular decision, because they have to be elected again next season. Most of our workers are paid by the hour, so the harder and faster they work, the less they take home.

Why have I never read these ideas before? It’s like every other person who has this realization thinks forward, launches into new systems buried in the ideals of socialism, or the standardization and equality of communism. But I look back, just a few hundred years, and this is exactly the agricultural world our ancestors lived in.

Money was a trifling, mostly seasonal object for them, a vessel for trade, and security, so one could sit back and feel safe, and manifest their own autonomy while they lived off the food, water and shelter almost every piece of land on earth can provide.

But now money is being worshiped. This is beyond the borderline of idolatry.
The whole economy has become its sanctuary. And I really don’t believe in irony.

It’s just that survival is scary.

And money, the almighty dollar,
makes for a great place to hide.

Antiquated memories

I can not bring this self to desire new life.
Not when so much stock has accumulated in the old.

I do not fear the cold.
The winter we step out from under
into open bare treetop spring.

I have no qualm with my ape ancestry.
In fact, it better explains our species.

Our tribal colorisms and regional warfare.
Our instinctive challenge to anything new,
or different, or fundamentally not already ours.
Not our fast talk and plastic cars,
dictionaries and missionaries and doctors
toiling over life and death and credit checks.
Pastors organizing potluck dinner dusting
torture tools turned clean untested symbol.

Simple, for us millennials, to pack up our stuff and run
into new towns, new habitats, new jobs and prospects
and adventures breeding misadventure.

But I can’t do it.
Am I not like my peers?
Do I not share their fears?
Their crippling paralysis in the face
of any form of honestly given criticism.

I run from nothing.
I live where a death framed family lived
farm where they did
rusted old half-broken tools.

I prefer used.

Even wasted. Tedious. Outdated.
My life is not for the new.
Because there has never been such a thing.

Just perception. Since there was ever an us,
there has been one-sided perspective.
It defines our lives.

To the point we started building fences
just to make for greener grass
on the other side.

Everything is better when there are women in the room.

What if this is an issue of equality.
Of feminism.
We are arguing the functionality of purely male-made systems of
government and economy.

Perhaps if there had been at least one woman in the room,
she would have mentioned how unprofitable people still like to eat.

Perhaps she would have brought a scale,
and given a demonstration of the true meaning
of the word equal.

Conservative Wedge. Democratic Hammer.

I am almost ready to express where I am with the recent election. This nation is divided. But not accidentally or happenstance. It is split up like a stump into a pile of firewood. Conservative wedge. Democratic hammer. People forced to, out of unending, choose between two.

Blame, ironically, is also a two party system. There are over three hundred million people in America. And a couple of privately operated, independent entities, convinced us to choose between two of them. What were true blue, lifelong Democrats supposed to do? How about Republicans, when every other option that ran ran off on them, clearing space for the saggy face of unmerited ego.

Blaming anyone for the direction in which they cast their fishing line last week is unfair, it’s misguided, and entirely intentional. Not a single one of us chose this fishing hole. And I can’t help but feel somebody knew it would come with a catch.

The men who founded this country were not enlightened so much as frightened by the prospect of democracy. It was really less a message of power for the people than it was about too much power for a king. They used democracy like a worm on a hook to catch the unending career opportunities offered up by republics. They did not know the celebrity culture that would take hold after just a few short centuries. The system they invented was like a cast put on the leg we busted trying to get out of the Great Britain bear trap. But it has become the clearest path to kingship left in America. And our celebrity culture has evolved into its own isolated form of incestual monarchy. What happened last week was just a sneak peek of what the future holds for elections in this country.

It is getting so difficult to hear arguments for representative solutions to apply to authenticated issues, over the sound of the phone in my pocket screaming how democracy is more possible today than ever before.

But to the people who made governing people into careers, democracy was never the goal. It is their greatest fear.

Government is a fancy term for people-farming. It is not America.

When I was young, I remember learning about the Declaration of Independence, and the constitution, and the handful of men that shaped the birth of this country. Writing words like freedom and liberty with slave owners looking down over their shoulders. It’s laughable. And I wondered, even then, what’s the requirement? What threshold did these men step over to make their average intelligence exceptional, their dry bureaucratic wisdom quote-worthy, or the dull generic details of their lives suddenly inspirational. Thomas Jefferson loved to garden, so the fuck what, it was the nineteenth century, you didn’t eat if you didn’t garden. No one even asked George Washington to stop presidenting after a few years. He just stopped on his own. Something like the first seven presidents were all Virginians. Sixty years later, Virginia secedes from the same country it seeded.

Wouldn’t it be great, I mean wouldn’t it really be something, if America meant any damn thing inherently of its own accord. Germany does, and so does England, the Land of Angles, and so does Russia and France and China. But America means nothing. It’s the last name of a dude who didn’t even actually discover America. From its inception, this has been a nation that can only be held like a pen in your hand, our myths and legends and heroes are all still being written and rewritten. We started off with thirteen stars now we’ve pushed back past fifty. Socialism saved this nation post World War II, right up until Capitalism came back crippling people and selling crutches.

Government is a fancy term for people-farming. It is not America. America is not even America. We are living in the clay country. A shapeless nation. We’re blank-page people, pen in hand, creating our own legacy. No one in America drove by a thousand year old cathedral on the commute to work. We don’t have that sense of time. Our cathedrals are organic cotton fields and deteriorating downtowns and so many headlines, like the headlines today. They mean more to us. You either ran away from home, or were stolen from your home, or had your home stolen from you, in order to be American. You’re one of those three. We all have that in common. We have conflicted relationships with home. It’s part of us. But if you think you’re going to like what it means to be an American without ever holding a pen in your hand, you’re mistaken.

Government is chicken farmers. They want you thinking you were born half a beak and clipped wings and sharing too little space with too many birds. They want you believing that when they shoot you down in the street they take something from you. But I don’t blame the breeze for collecting my last breath. I don’t blame gravity for the fall that claims me. I am not surprised by fear, or that fear wants a gun in its hands, or that fear kills people whenever given the chance. America is not its government. It is Americans. That is the way it began, and that is the way it will always be. If you look around this country and do not like what you see, you had better be busy writing.