“Getting It”


Buried under eight feet of snow and six feet of earth, he’s not going anywhere.

That would be my great grandfather and namesake, Peter Cavanaugh, who was born in Ballyoughter, Ireland in 1816 and now rests under a remarkable Celtic cross next to St. Mary’s Church in Fulton, New York — having established permanent residency at such a fine location upon his death in 1892.

Fulton, on the leeward shore of Lake Ontario, averages 179.6 inches of snowfall per season. It is 30 miles northwest of Syracuse, which receives a comparatively puny 115.6 annual inches. It was 72 ever so dry degrees on our back deck in Oakhurst last week as I spoke with my brother in Syracuse, where it was 8 above zero with two feet of freshly fallen snow on the ground from the previous night.

As anyone who watches the Weather Channel or just looks out the window knows, we are being confronted with increasingly strange and potentially ominous environmental conditions in current times, the jet stream dividing us into two separate realities between East and Far West in this latest instance of marked deviance from national norms. We are becoming as temporarily polarized climatologically as we are even more sadly separated in our political persuasions – devolving into a new U.S.A. – The Un-United States of America. Yet, unlike the scientifically undeniable realities of global warming, this social disintegration won’t last long. Formed by the unwavering forces of unstoppable demographic change, a new America awaits us all. I say, let’s get on with it.

Following Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 and a pronounced diminution in the popularity of ultra-conservative candidates by an awakened national electorate, the Republican National Committee undertook several months of serious study into what went wrong and what to do about it. This massive “Growth and Opportunity Project” conducted 36,000 online surveys, initiated 800 conference calls and employed fifty focus groups. Its final recommendations involved increased efforts to clarify messaging with a renewed focus on appeals to minorities — particularly Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, women and youth. Since the results of the exercise were presented for consideration and action last year, the national GOP has moved in exactly the opposite direction.

Last week’s Sierra Star presented a summary of 2013 highlights in Madera County, beginning with “a substantial loss of income for area businesses” due to October’s governmental shutdown, which included a closure of Yosemite National Park for 16 days. Jerry Rankin, who manages Oakhurst’s Comfort Inn, is quoted as saying, “Within the first 4 hours, we had about 15 rooms cancel. That’s $1,500 in lost income.” Similarly, with over an estimated million local dollars vaporized as a direct consequence of the unwarranted slam down, Dan Cunning of the Yosemite Visitor’s Bureau noted, “If there is a silver lining to this cloud, it is that it didn’t happen during our peak season.” Not so fast, Dan. It could happen again this brand new year if our Congressman, Tom McClintock, has anything to say about it.

This Representative has gone on record time and time again in his dedicated efforts against the trumped up specter of “big government” in general and President Barack Obama in particular. McClintock presents himself as a champion of individualism, opposed to such nonsensical collective fantasies as “economic fairness” and “social justice.” What’s wrong with that new Pope? In attempting to tie repudiation and overturning of “ObamaCare” into approval of last fall’s temporary congressional budget deal, McClintock was directly responsible for Yosemite’s closure and this region’s ensuing financial woes, sharing such shame with fellow supporters in the GOP’s hard-right wing.

And where is Tom on Immigration Reform? Infrastructure investment? Job creation? Voter suppression? Tax reform? Unemployment Insurance? Women’s Rights? And yes – where is our Congressman on still another prohibitively expensive government closure?

He’s busy rolling up his 2014 campaign kitty – much of which he’ll not even need to spend – being securely cocooned in a “safe district.”

Tom McClintock is not worried about you – or for you – at all.

He’s got his.

Get your own.

2 Responses to ““Getting It””

  1. Dave Smart Says:

    “temporarily polarized climatologically”…. it may not be so temporary. Most of the long range forecasts I have seen of the world under global warming show northeast USA as becoming wetter than normal; the rest of the country becoming drier – especially California.

    I visited Mono Lake about a week ago, and talked to a current member of the Mono Lake Committee. Even though since 1994 the lake has been getting 3/4 of the water coming down Leevining and Rush Creeks (DWP still gets 1/4), the lake level is still dropping, the result of the present drought. The Committee member thinks SWRCB should be asked for that remaining 1/4 to preserve the lake. The sad reality is that if the drought continues long enough, even all the water will not save Mono Lake.

    As for that dinosaur in Congress from our district, I think the only hope is to organize to the point where our district will not be so “safe”.

  2. Charles Walker Says:

    Well, Peter C, my grandfather,Bartholomew Hopkins, born in Knockatubber, County Mayo lies in St. Mary’s cemetery in the Elmwood section of Syracuse under a very simple tombstone. Needless to say, Syracuse, owner of the “Golden Snowball” award most years is not very different than Fulton except for the scent of chocolate that must have wafted over your grandfather’s grave for many years until decades of tax and spend governance in New York drove Nestle’s away as it has so many other once stalwart Upstate NY employers. My mother’s family, Langans, Earlys and Hopkins were died in the wool Democrats until 1940 when FDR decided to run for a third term. By then many “Lace Curtain” Irish had watched the Democratic party attempt to circumvent the Constitution by packing the Supreme Court that had reigned in his governance by executive fiat. Bartholomew died in 1943, but my grandmother went to her grave believing that FDR was the Anti-Christ.

    So I have lived most of my life in Republican strongholds…first my home, in Syracuse in the 1940s and 50s where not many Dems got elected. The LeMoyne where “Mad Anthony” Bouscaren held sway. As Syracuse descended into the morass of Proglibacracy I moved to the county which remains Rechristican to this day. My lst abode in New York was Madison County where a Democrat hasn’t been elected since the Whigs took power shortly after the French and Indian Wars. Now I live in beautiful bucolic Indian River County, Florida where the Democrats account for a mere 28% of the electorate.

    Life is good.

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