It is starting to look a little like spring could come after all this year on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have had my doubts, I confess. It is raining now, but, I had a small window this morning of dishwater sunshine, so I made use of it to clean out some perennial beds. The peonies are poking their heads up, tulips too. I filled ten big plastic garbage cans full of garden refuse and acquired my usual blister from the scissors. It’s a tradition.
Gardening is a primary avenue of meditation for me. I talk to myself and this morning I had a lot of things to talk about and a lot of questions that needed answers. I made the mistake of watching TV earlier this morning. The talking heads were on about how unions were killing America and the Governor of Wisconsin has become the golden boy of conservative thinkers for trying to break the unions of the teachers and public workers of his state. According to him it’s their fault his state is broke. They are just greedy. He encourages us all to despise them for their greed and I thought about that while I cut ornamental grass stems and raked clear some daylily beds.
Don’t ask me why, but, that got me thinking about Ralphy Lipschitz from the Bronx. I admire Ralph. I completely understand why he changed his name from Lipschitz to Lauren. I think I would have done the same thing. What troubled me this morning, as I cut back my crape myrtles, was how it was admirable of Ralphy to get people to pay $65 for a T-shirt and $89 for a bathing suit? That got me thinking about NIKE sneakers. I read the other day that the manufacturing cost of the most expensive pair of those babies, including the boat ride all the way from China, was $5… but, they retail for $150. NIKE is a very admirable company, I’m sure you must agree.
As I sat there cutting back last years leaves of my “red-hot-pokers” I remembered a quote from an interesting character named Eric Hobsbawm. He has written extensively on many subjects and is considered one of Britain’s most prominent historians. He was born in 1917 to Leopold Percy Obstbaum and Nelly Grün. A clerical error at birth altered his surname from Obstbaum to Hobsbawm. He knows everything there is to know about Marxism and unlike Ralphy Lipschitz he kept the hand he was dealt. Anyway, he said this…
“Marxism is about leisure, not labour. It is a project that should be eagerly supported by all those who dislike having to work. It holds that the most precious activities are those done simply for the hell of it, and that art is in this sense the paradigm of authentic human activity. It also holds that the material resources that would make such a society possible already exist in principle, but are generated in a way that compels the great majority to work as hard as our Neolithic ancestors did. We have thus made astounding progress, and no progress at all.”
It was as I was pulling up the six foot brown stems of last years zinnias that I had the epiphany. As I folded them to fit in the garbage can it occurred to me that I was a “stinking commie”. If there was any truth to what Eric Hobsbawm wrote I had no choice! I don’t like to work if the definition of work is doing something you don’t really like to do, but HAVE TO, to put food on the table and a roof over your head. If I have dedicated my life to anything it’s farting around, gardening, art and NOT doing things I don’t really want to do. Is that wrong? I have never thought so.
All at once something that I have been wondering about for weeks began to make sense. Occasionally, just to see how the other half lives, I tune in to FOX News. Whenever I do there is always a lot of talk going on about Socialism and Communism. It seems, according to them, Democrats, Progressives and anyone who isn’t a Conservative Republican, like them, is really nothing but a stinking commie. President Obama, besides not being an American, is a stinking commie too. As a matter of fact almost anyone who isn’t a Republican voting Christian, proud to work in a non-union job and not the least bit envious of people who inherited millions or billions of dollars is… when you get right down to it… a highly suspicious character.
I never understood it before. Now, it makes all the sense in the world. I was foolishly under the impression that Communism was a dead duck. I never knew any! I thought Old Ronnie Reagan put the kay-bosh on what was left of Communism when he said… “Mr. Gorbachev, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL”… and down it came. I thought even Red China was seeing the proverbial light and becoming more and more capitalist every day. But, now I’m thinking I was wrong.
Glenn Beck is right! Well, not “right” but he sure is getting the right message out there if you are a fat cat, a millionaire or a billionaire. The unions have to be busted! It must be a heinous sin to envy the wealth of another! It must forever be a grievous mistake to ever think that there is more than enough in this world for all of us to share. Government IS the problem if it gives ANYBODY the idea that that Sermon on the Mount baloney was anything but stinking commie propaganda.
I’m here to tell you, if food ever gets scarce and the gas stops flowing freely, what that Eric Hobsbawm guy has to say is going to start making sense to a whole lot of people. The only thing I can’t yet figure out is why Republicans want EVERYBODY to have lots of guns and lots of ammo. I’m still working on that. Lucky for me, I have lots more flower beds to clean out, but, so far, I’m thinking that could be just a mistake.