COWBOYS  [REAL ONES] AND A PERSONAL COMMENT ON BUSH -- THE SO-CALLED    [HUNTER GRAY  MARCH 9, 2003]  FOLLOWING THAT MY VERY CRITICAL 3/11/03 COMMENTS ON THE ACLU OF IDAHO [AN 80% WASHOUT AT LEAST] -- AND THEN COMMENTS OF MINE ON RACE AND RACIAL CLASSIFICATION [3/17/03]  FINALLY, SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ON MARCH 19 [AS WAR BEGINS]

Note by Hunterbear:

I really wish media folks and others would stop referring to Bush as a
"cowboy."  While I know what they mean via American film stereotypes -- the
free-wheeling cavalier [often blood-thirsty] recklessness that allows
viewers vicarious fantasy releases in the safety of their living rooms --
this is really a travesty on bona fide cowboying and a signal disservice to
the Real Cowpuncher.

Among my very top favorite films are Shane and Salt of the Earth.  The
latter, of course, teaches the great importance of  successful on-the-line
Solidarity:  workingclass, inter-ethnic, inter-gender -- against cunningly
vicious and powerful corporate adversaries.  "Salt" is Eternally Real. Shane
depicts a former cowboy and lone gunman who, after voluntarily assisting in
the rallying of frequently frightened homesteaders against a violent
ranching outfit, rides with his gun to a successful and sanguinarily
effective showdown with all of the Enemy [including their own hired gun.]
And Shane, too, is Eternally Real.

George Bush is none of any of those or that.  He's never put himself,
personally and physically, into any kind of  danger anywhere.  Like many who
have never seen Real Violence, he wallows in its rhetoric from the safety of
his Soft Cocoon -- one high up in the Tree, far from the Ground. And that
applies to much of the Et Al. around him as well.

But back to cowboys:

I grew up in Cowboy Country -- and, on my Anglo [mother's side] of  our
Native family, draw in part from Western ranching origins.  All the cowboys
I've known and know [and this includes those in horse ranching as well] are
brave and honorable and courageous guys of many ethnicities -- often working
daybreak to dusk in the roughest and toughest and most cutting edges of the
Natural World.  Much of a cowboy's life is still on horseback and those
buddies can be unpredictable as all hell [I prefer mules, even if they often
try to knock you off via a low hanging limb.]

Utah-born Big Bill Haywood -- Western Federation of Miners and Industrial
Workers of the World -- who spent an important part of his early life among
the Mormons and Indians [all of whom he liked] and also very much as a
cowboy, put it very well in his classic Bill Haywood's Book:  The
Autobiography of William D. Haywood [New York:  International Publishers,
1929 and many subsequent editions]  -- which I recommend to anyone
interested in American radicalism and high-drama struggle as well as the
American West.  Said he, in a long and very knowledgeable discussion of that
always arduous and often grim world: "The cowboy's life is not the joyous,
adventuresome existence shown in the moving pictures, read about in cheap
novels, or to be seen in the World's Exhibitions . . ."  He pointed out that
"the cowboys and the miners of the West often led dreary and lonesome
lives."

And cowboying  is dangerous. It's still the most dangerous occupation in the
United States.  Coal mining is next. Contemporaries of mine in their Teens
who chose that  life-on-the-range frequently had many broken bones by the
time they hit their mid-twenties.

It would be interesting to see George Bush on a horse, chasing a calf -- let
alone a bull -- through the thorn tearing mesquite.

I don't think we ever will.

Hell, he isn't even a W.E.B.  To you all from the Big Cities, that means a
Wise Eastern B. Some of Them can even be OK.

Solidarity -

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]

IDAHO ACLU:  80% WASHOUT [AT LEAST]  HUNTERBEAR 3/11/03

Note by Hunterbear: [widely posted]

Easy has just posted  on the summary pre-dawn arrest a few days
ago at University of Idaho -- at Moscow, 'way up on the northwestern border
of the state -- of an Islamic student [and family man] by a huge number of
Federals.  Not surprisingly, the arrest has been praised by Idaho Gov Dirk
Kempthorne, a Bushie.  Moscow -- which adjoins Pullman, Washington
[Washington State University] is a relatively sophisticated area and it
appears that the student is getting some assistance from appropriate persons
in that setting.

Civil liberties in Idaho have been in sorry shape long before George Bush --
or even the very civil liberties-mangling Bill Clinton --  came along. The
Idaho ACLU affiliate, based at Boise from which its director appears to
travel little, seems to be interested in some drug arrest cases and the free
choice issue with an occasional church/state thing.  When it comes to
tangling with so-called "lawmen" on "political" civil liberties issues, the
Idaho ACLU officialdom certainly appears to dodge those controversies.  We
here in southeastern Idaho have made several direct and formal requests for
assistance to Idaho ACLU without getting so much as an acknowledgement.
[Prior to coming here, I was a member for years of the coordinating
committee of the North Dakota ACLU. Once here, I immediately offered to lend
my volunteer assistance to this Idaho counterpart -- and never heard from
its director again!  The ACLU in my native state of Arizona, founded in an
atmosphere of screaming Red-baiting in 1959 and 1960, and the New Mexico
ACLU affiliate, do genuinely solid jobs.]

As I noted over a year ago, the breakup of the ACLU's Rocky Mountain Office
a decade or so ago -- when its always exemplary director, Dorothy Davidson,
retired -- and its diffusion of ACLU resources into the "small" states
[e.g., the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming etc] has not generally worked out very
well at all  It would be far better from "our" standpoint -- the sparsely
populated and very geographically large Mountain-and-immediate-environs
states --  to have the old more centralized system.  We could always get
help then when we needed it.

Hunter [Hunterbear]

 

COMMENTS OF MINE ON RACE AND RACIAL CLASSIFICATION [HUNTER GRAY  3/17/03]

Re: Race in America: "For Millions of Latinos, Race Is a Flexible Concept"
[and comment]  Article in L.A. Times [3/11/03] 

      Note by Hunterbear:

      The attached is an intriguing article indeed -- but no surprises. This
opening comment of mine is not especially extensive but, regardless of
whether one is on the good side or the bad side of race and racism, that
complex is still always good for discussion in America and a few other
places.  At this historical moment, with human catastrophe looming on
virtually every side, it's probably a momentary relief  area, subject-wise.

      At about every bend in the river, the American kaleidoscopic racial
thing -- despite the circuitous trend toward increasing rationality --   is
very, very strange.  Let's take that once-then-always exaggerated version of
American irrationalities -- Old Mississippi and other hard core Deep South
settings -- as a mirror:

      Forty years or so ago in places like that where race was at the fore
in every socio/cultural/political sector [even though power structure
economic self-serving was still, however masked, always the basic agenda],
there were essentially only two "colors." [And, in those days, even the US
Census often tried to function in that fashion and sometimes succeeded.]
Anyway, in Mississippi and environs, Native Americans  -- especially if they
lived off-reservation -- were frequently called "white" and so were Chicanos
generally and often the Mississippi Chinese.  [However, there was certainly
no "white privilege" accompanying any of  that.]  On the other hand, if a
predominately white person had any known degree of Black ancestry, however
minute, that person was always classed as "Negro."  But, again, on the other
hand, a Southern Indian with some African ancestry [frequently found in all
Southern tribes save the Eastern Cherokee in the North Carolina mountains],
was usually called Indian or white  -- often depending on residency.

      And it wasn't just Mississippi etc, either.  In those times, a friend
of mine, a Minnesota Chippewa [7/8 Indian], and a resident of the White
Earth Reservation, was always classed as "white" when he got an
off-reservation state trapper's license.  He kept those as souvenirs. An
affable soul, he commented that "they may have been trying to be nice."

      Arizona tended to classify almost all Native Americans -- full or
substantially mixed-blood -- as "American Indian."  Black classifications
consistently followed the Southern standard.  "Orientals" -- mostly Chinese
or Japanese -- were classified as Oriental.  There was considerable
classification variance with the  "Spanish" population which included, in
addition to a large number of Chicanos [Mexican-Americans] some "Hispanos"
[ostensibly full-blooded Spanish] and Spanish Basques.  One of the
Southwestern reasons that Chicanos were sometimes classified as "white" or
"Spanish" involved self-serving Anglo efforts to promote anti-Mexican
discrimination in the "criminal justice" system without becoming entangled
in racial discrimination issues and legal challenges.  When this was done,
however, it was never accompanied, of course, by "white privilege." [Cubans
and Puerto Ricans had not yet arrived in Arizona.]

      All things being equal [and I say that somewhat tongue-in-cheek]
racial self-identification -- which some American locales have always pretty
much practiced --  is about the only thing that makes any enduring and
sensible sense as long as we think in any racial fashion other than simply
Human.  In the final analysis, race and racism are conceptually doomed by
that rationality with, at whatever glacial pace, Humanity is increasingly
exhibiting.  Culture, of course, is something altogether different.
Regardless of the many commonalities vis-a-vis the tangible and non-tangible
dimensions of the many, many cultures of the world, there are certainly
significant cultural differences and, although ethnocentrism is slowly
fading in favor of inter-cultural mutual respect and acceptance, culture is
still a very valid identification base, context and perspective.

      And  social class certainly gets 'way 'way down into its own
contextual roots.

      Brings to mind another Mississippi tale -- which was providing a
little humour in that grim and rigidly segregated total segregation complex
when Eldri and I arrived there in the late summer of 1961.  A younger Black
man dressed himself up in  India/Indian clothing and put on a turban and,
going to the Jackson Downtowner Motor Inn restaurant, seated himself --
obviously expecting service.  And he was indeed served.

      Hunter [Hunterbear]

 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT ON MARCH 19 [AS WAR BEGINS]

Note by Hunterbear:

I was very much a kid in the mountains of Northern Arizona when I read John
Dos Passos' great USA -- the huge 1930 trilogy with the three epochal
components:  The 42nd Parallel, Nineteen Nineteen, and The Big Money.  I've
always remembered much of it and certainly the section, "The Camera Eye
[50]," on the massively protested 1927 execution of the two framed-up
anarchists -- Nicolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti -- in Massachusetts.
This is a small and appropriate excerpt for this tragic day and era [The Big
Money, page 413]:

"They have clubbed us off the streets  they are stronger  they are rich
they hire and fire   the politicians   the newspapereditors  the old judges
the small men with reputations  the collegepresidents  the wardheelers
[listen businessmen college presidents judges  America will not forget her
betrayers] they hire the men with guns  the uniforms  the police cars  the
patrol wagons

.  .  .  . they have built the electricchair and hired the executioner to
throw the switch

all right we are two nations."

===============

Out of that hideous tragedy -- the judicial murder of Sacco and Vanzetti --
as with the execution and imprisonment of the Haymarket martyrs -- came much
of the impetus and vision for movements great and massive and good.

As Then, so Now.


Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]



 

 


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