Change we cant believe in
How do Rocky Mountain stoics define change?We change tires studded-snows for all-terrains in the winter and spring. We change our oil and keep chains handy for winters barometric bounces. Highway 82 commuters change cracked windshields, and Aspen politicians change parking regulations.These are the changes we can count on.Aspenites change from clarets to sauternes to suit their cooks menus. They exchange furs for halter-tops, skis for mountain bikes, and fitness trainers for pilates instructors depending on whether theyre reaching for ski poles or beach thongs. They change from mountain mansions to beach mansions, in accordance with school schedules and au pair care.Apart from the dreary political harangues about climate change, and the fact that its May and still snowing hard in Aspen we should examine the changes that happen after politicians win elective office. In my experience, politicians rarely deliver on their promises of positive change: They change nothing, or they change things for the worse.The Republican Congress promised change, but delivered bloated government and ballooning budgets. They gave us a president who promised educational reform No Child Left Behind but who spoke English like a second language. Bush was too busy playing whack-a-mole with al-Qaida to take on teachers unions and deliver a voucher system that would make school choice affordable for inner-city kids.Mission Accomplished! turned out to be Emission Akomplished. Government schools are worse than ever; weve made no progress toward energy independence; and President of Iraq Jalal Talabanis democratically elected Baghdad government makes spring break in Fort Lauderdale look like a sober assembly.In his first inaugural address, Bush promised Americans that freedom and democracy would be, a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations. He delivered daisy cutters and Rumsfeld arrogance: Policy bombs that sowed fear and mistrust in many nations.Worst of all, since toppling Saddam, Bush has been either hiding under his bed, or trying to buy his way back into the publics good graces with obscene spending schemes that enriched the wealthiest demographic, seniors, at the expense of younger Americans struggling to support families. Free prescription drugs has moved us closer to socialized medicine and closer to bankruptcy.Democrats took control of Congress, promising to end earmarks, drain the swamp of GOP corruption, and banish partisan bickering. Instead, theyve delivered endless hearings in pursuit of the lamest of lame-duck president more earmarks, unprecedented judicial vacancies, gubernatorial prostitution, partisanship, pandering to illegal immigrants and the lowest congressional approval ratings in history.Our valley politicians promised change, too: Mick rode into town on his 10-speed and promised to end development. He did private development.There are still plenty of dump trucks belching soot into the air, but the trucks are now contracted to Pitkin County and the city of Aspen. If anything, theres more development. The change? Taxpayers are footing the bill for Micks new cityscape.Are Obamas attractive and articulate speeches about change something we can believe in, or are they the Christ-weeping-blood cadences of a traveling tent show?I think his well-studied routine is a crock: If youre a Democrat who believes that Obama the darling of the Daily Kos and tittering, hothouse San Franciscans represents a post-racial unifying force for America, then youre as deluded as the Republican who believes Jeb Bush represents the antidote for George Bush.George Bush is not a compassionate conservative, (or any flavor of conservative, for that matter) and Obama despite the well-rehearsed cadences is not Martin Luther King.Whenever Democrats rhapsodize about fairness and security, Im reminded of PBS production, Into The Abyss, and its footage of Viperfish and other depth-dwelling predators. Viperfish are the fanged creatures of childhood nightmares. They swim in the perfect blackness of ocean trenches, and they mesmerize their prey with a glowing dorsal lure, then devour it whole. Thats perfect security, natures way.For the past six months, Clinton and Obama have struggled to wrest the change banner from each other like two emaciated runway models fighting over a rice cake. George Soros has refereed the mud wrestling through his crazy web surrogates, with the Daily Kos moving farther and farther out on its lunatic limb. It has now become so besotted with Obama that it imagines conspiratorial alliances between Clinton and Rupert Murdoch.Apart from making OReilly purr like a declawed kitten and making Obama look like the frightened, absentee pretender he really is Clintons Fox News interview showed her to be a resolute, tough-minded, and adroit fighter, while exposing her blog-maggot detractors as maniacal manipulators who are furious because theyve lost control of this election.The truth is, the only person whos benefited from Obamas celebrity, so far, is his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright. After assailing white Americans, Jews, and the government for decades, hes moving on up to an all-white, gated community and a house thats bigger than the proposed Grace Church development in Emma.Wright is an expert on the grievance game in inner-city America: Play your cards right, and you can ditch the clerical robes for Izod shirts, and the taxis for Mercedes. The days of pointing heavenward and declaiming about the evils of white America have been replaced by waving to his white devil neighbors on the way to the golf course.Last Tuesday after an embarrassing Pennsylvania loss to Clinton that featured a stampede of white voters for the exits Barack smacked the ejection handle and punched Reverend Wright into the slipstream.So much for Obamas, I could no more disown him [Wright] than my white grandmother Pack your bags, Grandma: Loyalties change faster than dirty underwear in politics.That above all else is change you can believe in.Addison Gardner’s column will appear every other Tuesday inThe Aspen Times.
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While Kobey Park may not live up to a child’s understanding of a park, its haunting beauty is best experienced in quiet serenity.