Tuesday, July 12, 2011

we must make our garden grow

it's primary day here on the rim. it was scheduled earlier this spring as a recall election for 6 republican senators who voted with governor scott walker and his brouhaha against unions and workers this winter, but the republicans, recognizing the bad taste they've left in people's mouths would likely result in landslide democratic victories, placed trojan candidates--officially they're called "protest candidates"--in each of the races, forcing the races into primaries rather than elections, thereby giving them a 5 month opportunity to help people forget what they've been upset about. it's obvious that it's not something they're really behind--here on the rim I haven't seen a single sign mentioning isaac weix (I even had to look up his name) but many with the name sheila harsdorf, the republican senator up for recall--and if I were 1 of their sacrificial lambs I'd be plenty angry about that.

but it's legal and while it may not be right, politics isn't about "right." short term results show all the protest candidates going down in flames (although as I write this polls have only been closed for an hour so results may vary), but their careers weren't really the point anyway. I drove over to town hall to vote for shelly moore, the "real" democratic candidate as she's been touted, and came home to drink beer and appreciate my backyard.

I've just returned from about a month's vacation and spent the morning and afternoon working on the gardens and lawn. I weeded 2 of the gardens yesterday and the largest 1 this morning, then mowed about a third of the lawns. it was an allday project. the above photo shows the largest garden after weeding (with another garden just visible in the rear). we used to have 6 gardens, including vegetables, but I am naturally lazy and the others dropped away 1 by 1 until only these 3 flower and shrub gardens are left.

I did a pretty diligent job of weeding before leaving and it still took me from 9:30 until 12:30 to make this 3rd garden presentable. it's true of course that weeds are just plants we don't want in our gardens, but it's also true that, as candide puts it, we must cultivate our garden. (this is not, as it was taught to me in the 80s, a panegyric to solipsism, to focusing on the self to the exclusion of others, but a stress on improving things, on bettering life. this is how I taught that lovely little final line in candide for several years until I realized, to my bitterness, that no matter what I did no one was reading candide and I let it go the way of all things.)

now, imagine what it would have looked like if someone during my time away had been actively destroying my garden while I was away under pretense that he was improving it--sowing grass and nettles and boxelder saplings. it would take, naturally, much longer than the 3 hours I toiled at it. yet, to expand this metaphor into politics, this is what barack obama has to deal with: 8 years of willful destruction of the economy and government services by the bush administration. I am not sympathetic to critics lambasting him for not having turned the economy around yet or returning employment and wages to their upright positions of the late clinton years. it will take more than the 2 years he has had, and may frankly take longer than 2 terms, particularly with a republican opposition whose every position is reducible to a single phrase.
it is too grandiose to imagine obama as the contemporary political equivalent of candide but I think I could be forgiven for presenting him as the weeder-in-chief, and it is this activity we have to give support and patience.

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