Interesting Days

It is strange how coincidence seems to play into our lives. Even I, a low staffer, an Idahoan, who is of very little importance in the realm of all men who have walked upon the earth have the privilege of meeting such amazing men. There are giants around us and we very seldom realize it. Most of those will never be  recognized or accredited for what they do. However, today I wish to pay tribute to the common man (men and women, you know what I mean…man is not without the woman, and woman not without the man). There are souls around us who affect us so deeply that they forever change our course. Most of them are the every day run of the mill who humbly go about doing their duty. Many men do what they can to get by, others in service to others oblivious and often doing more damage, but then there are those who know what they need to do and do it well. Those who seek to do what they do well, live their lives to the best of their capability who influence the most.This week I met a man by the name of Mehmet Ali Talat. He paid a visit to Senator Smith. He is the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It definitely is not every day that we meet the President of a small country. What is more, one that is a bit more questionable in the eyes of many nations. Besides that, he is a very powerful man. He came with his entourage and sat in the office for a while (the Senator was meeting with the President of Starbucks…how ironic) and then left to visit with the Senator in his office. I do not know the culture, I do not know the man, but he seemed very deliberate and almost unhappy. The whole group seemed almost dire in many ways. While I can boast that I met the man who leads another nation, he left little or no influence upon me.

The same day, I met a man named Bob Livingston. A representative from Louisiana that served in the house for over 20 years. If I remember right, he was even Speaker of the House of the United States for a short time. A powerful man in the United States who served for a third of most people’s lives. (While there are hundreds of people in the U.S. government and I have come to learn it is just another job, it still holds a mystique) He sat with me for a few moments and was so concerned about his blackberry he couldn’t even visit for a whole five minutes. Another man who influenced millions of lives, but in lasting tribute will have little more than name recognition to go with his face in my life. Do we recognize the influence we could have on people, but due to our own concerns and selfishness do not take the opportunity to reach out more often.

If you would not know it, I was giving a tour this week and while explaining the Capitol Ceiling (which is always accompanied with my looking around while explaining rather than peering up a dozen noses) and I recognized a man sitting on one of the benches on the outer parameter. I excused myself from my tour group for a moment to go say hello to the Governor of Idaho, my beloved home state. I walked over, shook the hand of Dirk Kempthorne, and introduced myself. He looked pensive and contemplative. I somewhat regret having visiting with him as he seemed almost melancholy, but I was thrilled with the opportunity. Here was a man who took a few moments to say hello and learn a little about me. He did not brush me off and seemed somewhat interested. This man, while definitely with his own thoughts, took a few moments out to focus on the one. He will have a much more lasting influence than the President of a small nation or Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, many don’t like the Governor, but he seemed much more willing to care about other people than the first two.

In that tour group that I excused myself from was a former Senator of the State of Oregon. Neil and Mary Bryant were a different breed though. They were engaging, willing to share of themselves and learn of others, and even reached out to meet others. They and their friends Neal and Linda Huston were fun to take on the tour as they were so willing to get along and be a part of society. They are good individuals who loved to learn. He tried to stump me on historical facts of the United States of the Pacific Northwest (which my knowledge is not very good, I just got lucky that I knew his answers). They were by far the best people I met that day. While not as impressive in stature of the world, they left an impression that will be much more lasting.

With all that said, I want to recognize some of those who have affected my life the most. Colleen Jonas. Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ. Milo Ross. Sandra Jonas. Amanda Hemsley. Brad Hales. Kathy Duncan. Ted Tateoka. Kevin Orton. Nicole Whitesides. Laurel Hepworth. Marie Lundgreen. Kathryn England. Anna Badger. Chris Horsley. Megan Duncan. Dustin McClellan. James Cazier. Tom Kunzler. Altan Hardcastle. Warren Crane. Gene Hansen. Lorn Duff. I am sure there are more, many more. Thank God for good souls who reach out and connect with people. Who care more for others than they do for themselves. May God forever bless those who have affected my life and may I return the favor to all I come in contact with.

Dear Journal

I don’t know if this is a good thing or not.  In many cases, I think this little blog can remove some of the excess and useless from my hand written journal.  While I have become increasingly slack in hand writing, I find this is much more easy to type on my break at work or to throw out a few ideas from time to time.  Perhaps the time consumption of writing useless ramblings and thought testing in the hard copy can be removed.  I don’t know if the posterity would have appreciated this maintained in the journal or not, but we will have to see.  I could hope, but I don’t think what I am writing now could last through the centuries as perhaps a book could.  But by that time, the day to day concerns and mundane thoughts will not be of value anyhow.  They will probably be so foreign to most that they would find it utterly boring.  Unless of course, they are steeped in the traditions of our day and understand a glimmer of what it was I thought was somewhat important.
We never hear of the concerns or latest political ramblings of Rome.  I have no idea if they ever passed a CAFTA of sorts, something that is taking up mega amounts of time for me here at work.  Idaho does not want CAFTA.  Minnesota does not want CAFTA.  They both have the sugar beet industry to lose.  Florida and Louisiana don’t want it either for it causes blows to their sugar cane industry.  However, I do not think that is enough to stall it in the House.  While there are problems with tribunals in the pact, and other problems, I think it will end up going the way of a passing vote.  It is always so interesting.  I find myself in the midst of a terrible battle.  One that is not just political, but goes further.  It extends to the parts of the soul, and the age old questions of what is good and right.  I know many people say that this is something that really doesn’t matter in the long run, but it does.  There is nothing temporal which is not also spiritual.  Temporal is only an extention of spiritual.  The principle behind these issues is still very real, and one that extends to the dawnings of time.  The question is this.  We are to be independent as far as we possibly can.  In all things.  Hence comes the conservative slant.  We believe in being sustained as much as we can individually, then to help out our families and communities.  After that, it extends to the state, and then to the whole world.  Families are organized together into communities, and communities in this country into counties.  However this order of things has been diminished and is now the state moreso.  States (in the US) combine to form the United States, one large state.  Nation seems to have the wrong definition, something I would apply more to the community or county.  The culmination of all these creates the populace of the world and our interactions.
The market works purely in this form, trade breaks down barriers, and all things are governed according to need and the invisible hand.  You can sense some of my political theory background coming out here.  This would be considered the far right, the purist, and those who are basically libertarian.  Everything is to work from the base up.  The forming of a state, and of these united states are a social compact for the benefit of all.  From my understanding, government is only to do for the people what they grant it power to do for them.  Therefore, government is not to do something that the people are not willing to do for themselves.  I would protect my life.  Government has that capability to do that for me so I don’t have to worry about it.  I would protect my property, those things I can claim as my own.  Therefore government may do that for me as well.  There is always the sticky idea of defining property and regulating who gets what, but I think that was pretty well defined by the market and to some degree still is.  That is the roll of government.  To aid in those things, communication must be preserved, transportation enabled, and forces which would undermine the happy association with my peers.  Everything beyond is out of the scope of government.  I think most of the problems we are facing today deal with the overstepping of those bounds.  That would be the ideal world.  Yep, there would be inequality, but you know, it would be taken care of on the community level.  If it is community wide, the counties or states would reach to help out neighboring and so forth.  I do believe humans are naturally good.  If there is greed, I believe the market would help remove it and if not, they would find themselves destitute and poor.  However, our audacity to believe we understand things better than the laws of eternity have caused us to stick our fingers into the pots and undermine everything.  Now the other side is that humans are not capable of taking care of themselves and need a big brother.  I obviously am throwing the other side of the spectrum out.  It is our job to reach out and make sure each are living their life to the fullest.  It takes a few who are well learned and understanding to say what those things are because they know best.  Therefore all must be told what to do, how to do it, how often, and in all the details.  This is a very centralized theory, while the other is decentralized.  One claims all understanding, the other claims each knows for themselves.  One states that human kind is naturally ignorant, the other that humans have certain innate gifts of understanding.  The poles are great and hard to mix.  These two far opposites battle in the middle for the ground and neither is ever quite winning.
I believe in the conservative, free market, libertarian, decentralized mode of things.  I think free trade is a great thing.  Something to be lauded and heralded to the world.  It will serve more to break down the barriers of culture and religion than anything else I can think of.  Now where government has already become involved we have adapted and don’t like drastic change.  The market does provide constance and change is incremental and small.  The authoritative approach brings drastic and painful changes.  We have relied on government so much that the removal of these barriers will affect broad spectrums of our society.  Where if we had not messed with these things, we would not be facing this issue.  Nobody ever heard the wagon maker union calling for subsidies and high taxes on autos because it was ruining their way of life.  Nobody ever heard the candle and lantern makers posing for special incentives and help of the government.  New inventions, new ways of life, the future was bright and great opportunity awaited them.  The wheel makers moved on to auto wheels or were left destitute.  The market required a continuing education, and did not allow for stagnant individuals.  You had to work or you had none.  If you could not work, then those who could help if it was obvious reached out their hand.  If you had no hope, many took their own lives or pined away in misery.  Those who have faith and hope march forward ever into uncharted territory.  Whether for themselves or for others.  Electricity has revolutionized the world.  Those who were destroyed by electricity either adapted or they were left behind.  Yes, it might be painful, but life itself is painful.  Learn to grab the bull by the horns and wrestle it to your benefit.  Have a classic back yard bar-b-que when you have worked things in your favor.  Yep, that bull might be big, it might be a mean one, but call on family and community.  There is nothing that is too big that concerted effort cannot conquer.
Somehow the bull is always to be slaughtered by the community now.  And when it is not, we cry foul.  We avoid the pain of work and endure the pain of hunger.  The pain of work is much less nagging and can actually be enjoyable, much more than the pains of hunger ever were.  Yet somehow we cry and bring about our pity party.  I did not have the opportunity to have first pick of the last killed calf.
So what about specialization.  That is all great.  I believe if someone else can kill the calf and butcher it better than me is more than allowed to do so.  But to receive of their work and effort, there must be something I can be doing that would be of value to them.  Now I understand money has made this bargain much more easily made, but there is something I can do.  Whether I am good at it or not, maybe it is just something nobody else wants to do.  There is always work to do, and that pain we might as well do.  Whether it be low or high, it needs to be done, so why whine, get to it.  If you are the best darn nose picker in the world and somebody else wants those ores, then you will be rewarded for your job.  Do it well, and the better the reward.
So here we are, back in Idaho.  Free trade will remove the old no longer useful or efficient occupations and require ingenuity for those who would like to work.  In saying all that, I hate to see the complete uprooting of an entire way of life.  Granted, it exists because of government, but it is my life.  It is the way I grew up.  It is how life is.  My allowing CAFTA will destroy all I have ever known and break apart the communities and way of life.  Some of my best friends will be left destitute and without hope of a future, partially because of their own unwillingness to adapt and learn.
If all this rambling on theory is not enough, this is what is worse.  That we have the capability to determine these things.  Our government and we as a people have allowed government to get to this stage.  Yep, you and me.  I suppose much more on our ancestors, but we allow and even perpetuate this way of life.  Not just for ourselves, but in our government.  What ever is to be done?  Must we wait for great grievances or even the failure of our system before we make true amends?  Anyhow my break is well over.  Whatever shall we do.  I am afraid most people don’t care enough to worry about it, so I suppose those who believe we are dumb ride for the day.  While those who believe in the independence of the individual either must be obvious or watch with a degree of terror.  Perhaps we deserve to be ruled by the few and an elitest group, after all, we allowed it.