Two things happened today that caused me some political thought. Pardon me while I create an actual blog entry.
First, I read an item on the San Francisco Chronicle about the state park closings due to their budget crisis. (Yes, I read many news sources from far right to far left and lots in between.) All of the comments were arguments about the various failings of their government with discussion of whether it was the Republicans’ or Democrats’ faults. Nobody suggested that there might be a non-governmental solution.
So, I proposed one. I suggested that perhaps they could set up a ‘pack-it-in, pack-it-out’ approach to garbage, set up some volunteer ‘friends of the parks’ groups to keep the places tidy, and maybe some ‘park watch’ groups to just make sure some parks don’t get overrun with pimps and drug dealers.
Judging by the comments, as expected, that went over like a lead (Pb) balloon. Nobody in the San Francisco area seems to think that they have any personal power or responsibility in the matter. It’s all up to the government.
Which lead me to a reinforcement of a deep suspicion I’ve had for some time. That Americans in general, and maybe Californians even more so, just want their government to take care of everything. No personal responsibility, no personal power, no personal actualization.
Then the second thing happened. Being Saturday and a day off, I decided I’d take my camera and visit some back roads here in Arizona. I went for a cruise through the Tohono O’Odham reservation. For those who don’t know, that’s the second largest reservation in America, about the size of the state of Connecticut. And it was gorgeous, with mountains covered with saguaro cactus sticking out of the desert and 200-mile visibility.
So I was returning to Phoenix. I passed through the obligatory border patrol checkpoint with no problem. This area is a hot point for illegal crossing, so there are these checkpoints. Then, as I was about to leave the reservation, I was chased down and pulled over by a border patrol SUV, lights and siren.
I was informed that I was traveling on roads that I am prohibited from using. ‘What?’ There’s no signage to that effect, it’s just a highway, Indian highway 42. He says it’s ‘tribal lands’ and that I’m not permitted on them.
The officer explained that he’d pulled me over because I have Phoenix license plates and that is suspicious. ‘What?’ I’m 33 miles south of the city of Phoenix, a metro area of nearly 4 million people. Phoenix plates are ‘suspicious’??
The border patrol agent wanted to search my Toyota Camry, and I let him. Finding no illegal aliens hiding in the back seat or trunk, he let me go.
As I drove those remaining 33 miles home a few thoughts occurred to me. First, hasn’t this paranoia about illegals peaked yet? Apparently not.
Next, darned, if I’m not allowed to drive on Indian highways what gives? I paid form ’em with my federal tax dollars through the BIA. Not the Indians. They don’t pay taxes. And they won’t let me drive on ’em?
Last, what about reciprocal privileges? We residents of Phoenix and Arizona don’t tell the residents of the Tohono O’Odham that they can’t drive on our highways and streets.
I’m thinking that the various tribes that concoct these local laws might want to sharpen their pencils. My tax dollars might go to better use than highways that I’m barred from traveling. And our highways and streets could become off limits to those who refuse access to theirs.
So, it was an interesting day.