Discipline, discipline…

I am finding myself working hard on a major writing project, which is evolving into a book about Chico’s wonderful Bidwell Park, a very large space that includes both developed and wild places. It is a complicated and fascinating story that dives into a lot of issues about how people see nature and relate to the land around them. My own bias (no surprise, I am sure) is very much towards preservation of nature, but I know I will need to talk to people coming from other places and presenting them as fairly as I can.


So I find myself writing and lacking the energy for blogging but I need to get past that. Blogging is a kind of journal, a way to record the many thoughts that flash through me. One theme sticks with me. Kate and I recently spent 5 days camping in Plumas County, a region in the Northern Sierras east of Chico. It is a wonderful area, full of mountains, waterfalls, lakes, forests, full of summer wildflowers and butterflies. It is bear country, of course, but we didn’t encounter any furry friends other than seeing scat and places where they had ripped logs apart searching for grubs.


As much as we like living in Chico, it was a shock to come back. We had avoided hearing news for most of the trip, and we returned to the peak of the crisis around Trump’s policies about immigration – not that this has receeded but it isn’t getting quite as much press as a week ago. We both wanted to return to the lakes and waterfalls, a place that really did seem separate and pure – that is an illusion, of course, a topic for another day. But the spots we visited were wonderful and we miss them.

So here we are back in the midst of political chaos. The right wing blogger Alex Jones put out something  about how liberals and progressives were going to start a civil war on July 4. This shows he knows nothing about us – for example, why would people (like me) who dislike guns and know nothing about them ever dream we could go up against forces like the NRA?  Besides that, why would we dream that something as self destructive as a civil war would accomplish anything positive instead of sending everything into a faster tailspin than it is tumbling into already?

No, the liberal/left is not looking at starting a civil war, and that didn’t happen – that said, the liberal/left is a mess. The level of irrational screaming and shouting is reaching a peak, and many people are saying that it is time to stop being polite and to aggressively put out our positions. This amounts to personal attacks, shouting people down irrationally, breaking all ties with people from different political perspectives, etc. etc. etc. What is the point of all this?

I am not a la-de-da dreamer who thinks we can all sit down and reason together and all will be groovy, I’ve been a few places. I do think that the strategy  of insulting people, assigning blame where it is not deserved, and coming off like self righteous jerks is counter productive. I understand frustration and rage, but I would say that we need to deal with these feelings privately, screaming into a pillow is one idea, and then try to present ideas calmly, creatively and rationally, meeting people where they are coming from but challenging them.

This is hard and I have to be honest and say I am not doing it. My organizing days were in other lifetimes, I see myself as a writer/educator now. But I know there are others out there who understand that behaving like jerks will not get us past the crisis we are in and help put out a progressive agenda. Somehow I hope we can all come together and share thoughts.

Those are my thoughts for today. Now I want to go back to the mountains.


About pelicanguy6

I'm an environmental educator and writer currently based in Oakland, California. I plan to include a hiking/nature journal on this blog, along with articles on environmental education, travel articles, poetry, and spontaneous thoughts. I am a passionate hiker and camper and a world traveler. I really enjoy cooking vegetarian feasts, and specialize in veggie German meals for Oktoberfest.
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7 Responses to Discipline, discipline…

  1. timokytta says:

    OK, that screaming/shouting then seems to confirm a comment that I heard in one twitter discussion from a Finn living in US – he said that it’s mainly Trump opponents who are making more problems. I suppose that because the result was what it was, the losing majority feels quite annoyed. Too bad that some lower to that level as it takes away the morally better position that opposing Trump’s lies / environment acts etc gave them.

    Now that #Trumputin 🙂 (a popular hastag in Finland as it sounds in Finnish something funny, not a real word though…) happens in Helsinki the Library society got a video published about it: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/learn-about-democracy-why-a-library-is-better-venue-for-trump-putin-summit

    • pelicanguy6 says:

      Thanks, Timo. The Trump forces are doing a lot of shouting and making ridiculous statements, it is true. But sadly, many on the liberal/progressive side have decided they are fed up with politeness and are also screaming rhetoric that makes little sense, blocking freeways as a way of expressing anger, insulting people. Kate and I, as a couple of quiet thoughtul types who oppose Trump’s agendas find ourselves feeling uncomfortable in this situation, to put it mildly. Strong opposition is one thing, being obnoxious is another. I know there are many who agree with this, I hope we can all find each other.

  2. timokytta says:

    So let’s hope that aggressive people get to their senses (at least on Democrat Party). Finland had a similar surprise win (compared to Trump) in 2011 when previously a 6-person populistic & racistic party got 39 seats (out of 200) and got to be the second biggest party. Those happen when a big portion of people are tired of nothing changing and finally get a politically non-correct option that promises everything. Too bad that Bernie didn’t get to your finals, he would be there now.

    And sorry about Brett Kavanaugh…

  3. pelicanguy6 says:

    We hear so little about what is happening in Europe, I had no idea that there was a racist group that had gained ground in Finland. You are much more on top of what is happening here, as is a lot of the rest of the world! There is a lot of discussion in the U.S. that Trump is not so much a fascist as a natural outgrowth of our own racist and aggressive past, although there are certainly fascist groups that support him. I also have good hearted relatives who support him blindly. Nobody really knows what to expect next, as the Chinese curse says, may you live in interesting times.

    • timokytta says:

      (a bit slow answering, but here we go again 🙂
      That mentioned group in Finland is not officially alt-right, but just the groups that are, support them. Also nowadays the head of the party is strongly against immigration etc. and has gotten a criminal conviction of hate-speech. Fortunately, due to that guy raising to the chairman position last year, the party split to two parts and hopefully in the 2019 election that lowers their vote gain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finns_Party

      I would have guessed that GOP would have tossed Trump away from the position already last winter due to his negative effect for them in oncoming elections, but he’s still there, with no need to pardon himself :-D, so maybe he’s considered useful by gathering all the attention while the party is building handmaid’s tale -society with nobody noticing (= an ironic and hopefully wrong silly theory ^_^ )

      • pelicanguy6 says:

        What are people in Finland saying about Trump’s growing bromance with Putin? People here are pretty stunned and angry, even parts of the GOP are mad, and parts (not all) of Fox news. Where this will go is anyone’s guess. As I just posted, we will be traveling in America, it will be an interesting time for it. I am sure I will post observations here…
        you are somewhere interesting now, right?

      • timokytta says:

        The news here has just mostly been reporting reactions in the USA, that now even the own side has criticised him. I think that most journalists here are critical towards Trump, some of those conservatives support him. I suppose the result depends on how fast something else comes or if there’s time to escalate this issue too big to tolerate for GOP. But then Pence doesn’t sound a very good alternative for Trump either – more normal, but maybe more dangerous as he’s very religious…

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