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Get Down to the Sea Somehow

September 23, 2020

I want to go back to the beach. I’ll take any tiny coastal community far, far away where I can pretend the world is not going to hell in a hand basket, which it very much is.

Reading headlines, catching a few first paragraphs, watching just 20 minutes of news, I feel like we are hurtling toward a crisis so profound, perpetrated by the commander in chief himself, that unless we have an outcome that establishes Biden’s victory early in the evening of November 3rd and a map that turns overwhelmingly blue as the night goes on, we’re in big trouble. Anything short of an indisputable landslide… buckle up. If Trump loses, big or small, his loss will unleash mayhem… he’s making sure of that

And if he cheats out a win–which he’s orchestrating from every angle–we’re done. I don’t believe we survive another term under his rule. We won’t recognize the United States in a few years if that happens.

So yeah.. the beach.

~~

Here are a few more shots from Jim’s and my hike out on Tomales Point yesterday:

Stopped so we could pee (public bathrooms are hard to count on these days.. you gotta be like the Swedes: nothing more natural than the need to pee, so just stop when the need arises–whether you’re a bus load of 40 people or a lone driver), and found myself among a gaggle of wild turkeys:

Next on the wildlife checklist was this coyote out for a walk:

The trailhead for the Point Tomales hike was at the former dairy operation fo the Pierce family (ca 1867):

And I took these at the end, but it gives you a sense of the scale of the Ranch and a little about what they did:

A typical stretch of trail:

The trail offered views of magnificent Pacific on one side and the 15-mile long Tomales Bay on the other, with herds of elk in between:

Over the course of 4.7 miles from trailhead to point, the trail goes up and down, mostly modestly; the trail description says you gain and lose 1000′ overall. Here’s a view down to a stand of trees, where we’ll come upon a watering hole, a favorite location for relaxing elk:

After the watering hole, the trail climbs to a long, bushy plateau that then gently descends over about a mile to the rocky point of the long peninsula. The brush is about waist-to-shoulder high and the ground is now pure sand. You meander through the brush, picking a course (many options) through this giant labyrinth of options; all roads lead to the point.

The trail culminates at a small ledge (maybe big enough for 3-4 people to stand safely, as long as nobody gets elbowed), with a great view of the ocean, the bay, Dillon Beach, Bodega to the north, rocky cliffs to the south, crashing waves below. It’s a nice prize after all the sand!

We’d gotten a late start (1:15 or so) so finished late, as well (5:45 or so).. but it was just lovely to be finishing as the sun was getting low in the sky…

While I’m a Sierra hiker at heart, and if made to choose, I’d go for the mountains any day of the week, I also love the coast and appreciated the expansive views, the fresh air, the coolness and breeziness. That air is like nothing else, and the forever view is good for pondering one’s place in the universe.

~~

I just read this. I think it offers a more cogent expression what I tried to say at the beginning of this post. It gives me no comfort, but it does validate my concern. And if Dan Rather thinks we’re in a crisis for our democracy, then we are. It’s not just me being scared. I mean, I’ve been reading it everywhere for a couple of years now.. the threat of this dangerous man has become growingly apparent to anyone paying attention. But interesting to read Rather’s commentary just now, after writing the above.

There is no more time for silence. There is no more time for choosing party over country. There is no more time for weighing the lesser of two evils. All women and men of conscience must speak or they are complicit in America lurching towards a dangerous cliff of autocracy and chaos.

This is a moment of reckoning unlike any I have seen in my lifetime. I have seen this country in deep peril, as the hungry begged for sustenance during the Great Depression, as the Nazis marched across Europe and the Japanese across Asia, as missiles were moved into Cuba, as our political leaders were murdered, as a president ran a criminal conspiracy from the Oval Office, as planes were hijacked into skyscrapers. All of these were scary times, but through it all I never worried about a president actively undermining American democracy and inciting violence to do so – even Nixon, for all of his criminal activity.

What Donald Trump said today are the words of a dictator. To telegraph that he would consider becoming the first president in American history not to accept the peaceful transfer of power is not a throw-away line. It’s not a joke. He doesn’t joke. And it is not prospective. The words are already seeding a threat of violence and illegitimacy into our electoral process.

I suspect he is doing this because he feels he needs to. It is the same reason he sought dirt on Joe Biden, because he is deeply afraid of losing. Losing an election could mean losing in a court of law. It could mean prison time and ruin. But I suspect Trump’s motives are more instinctual. He needs to hold on to power for the sake of power. He cannot lose, even if he has to cheat to win. Even if he has to blow up American democracy. He considers little if any about 200,000 plus deaths from COVID. Why would he care about our Constitution or Bill of Rights?

There is no sugarcoating the dangers and darkness we live in. But I remain heartened that the majority of Americans do not want this. Trump is in danger of losing states that he should be winning handily. Yes, his base is energized and numerous. But so is the opposition. I have seen opposition parties in foreign countries channel the morality of their causes to bring great change. And most of those opposition movements didn’t have the strength, power, and resources of those who stand against Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has himself defined the stakes of the election. This is a battle for American democracy as we’ve known it. We are well past warning shots. Allies across the political spectrum are ringing alarm bells. Right now, all those seeking to defeat Donald Trump know winning a close election may not be enough. The size of a victory will likely matter. Failing that, what happens? I don’t know. But I would say we all should try to remain steady. Try to conserve our energy for the battles ahead. Be committed to your community, your country, and your conscience. If enough Americans of decency and courage come together, the future of this nation can be better, fairer, and more just.

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