It's 2 in the morning and a shape appears on the northern Indiana road in front of me. At 65 mph there are only a couple of seconds to decipher the image and react. It's quickly realized that there are two raccoon on the road, they are moving around, probably picking at some type of food. It's a mystery what they are doing, but in the next second there is a thud thud as the 80,000 pound semi tractor trailer continues on at 65 mph. It seems that racoon should be more intelligent than this. The next several minutes are followed by a lingering melancholy. I've just taken one, maybe two, lives, and senselessly with no premeditation. I've killed directly before, with a 30/30, but I killed intentionally from a tree stand 20 feet up in a tree. I also ate the meat.
As I drive on through the night and contemplate the death of those raccoon, I'm reminded of some things. I begin to ruminate on America, and why I have also unintentionally killed thousands of people.
17 years ago I was on a U.S. Aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, and planes crashed into the World Trade Centers in N.Y. City. That day changed this country. It changed all of the citizens. It changed me in irrevocable ways, and for different reasons than it changed most. The first Murikan bombs dropped on Afghanistan were from my ship, and I spent a lot of effort directly helping that reality, and I consequently spent even more effort trying to understand why. At the time I was a 21 year old idealist. I should have never enlisted in the military, but I was lost, and wandering, and searching for my own way in the world. I had grown up mostly fatherless, the product of a single mother. That too has gone a long way towards defining who I am now and why I was on that carrier in the first place. Constantly on a quest, searching for something that I defined as the truth. What was the world, and what was I supposed to do with it? I was not interested in money, but money is necessary in society.
I smelled a rat. I smelled a stinkin', no good, putrid, walking dead rat. At the time I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew that it had something to do with my country, and my navy, and my conscience. Cognitive dissonance grew to lighting and thunder in my own mind. It shook me to insanity, and I ran away from any contribution to those bombs. Consequences be damned! I was 21. That decision has also continued to define me. Shortly after the terrorists attacked we were in Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction as the military moved in. There were no WMD's, that was a lie, as was the effort in Afghanistan. A lot of evidence points towards the U.S. , at a bare minimum, being complicit towards the demise of the towers. The government at least allowed it to happen, and then used that tragedy they allowed to happen to accomplish a goal. Why is our military still in Afghanistan and Iraq? Nobody in Murika talks about the fact that Murika is still at war, and has been since 9/11 of 2001. If forced to think about it “keeping Murika safe from terrorism” will likely be regurgitated all patriotic and programmed meme like. Well...it's really not correct to call what Murika is doing "war." It's actually occupation, domination, and usurpation of formerly independent and autonomous nations at drone, bomb, missile, and gunpoint.
Petroleum is the reason we have been at war for 17 years. More specifically gasoline and diesel is the reason. Petroleum is a limited resource, and that is an irrefutable fact of geology. It's an irrefutable scientific fact. Read that again, slowly, and for comprehension, and try to have a clue about what it means. Murikans are professional delusionists. I knew that we are completely dependent on petroleum before I took a job as a long haul flatbed trucker. Now I KNOW it. Everyday I burn somewhere between 50 and 100 gallons of diesel. Do you know how many truck drivers there are in Murika doing the same? It's somewhere around 4 million. It is just about impossible to buy anything with money that has not been on a truck at a minimum of once. It's more likely that the finished product you buy has been on 4 or 5 or 10 trucks (in many cases thousands..this would be your average car) and probably a ship and a train before you spend your money on it. In order to buy something that has not been on a truck it just about has to be made by human hands, locally, and from raw materials that have been harvested locally from nature.
Just before I took this job as a trucker I was busy learning how to do just that with bamboo. In fact you could have bought a basket from me, made by me, out of bamboo that I grew, harvested, cured, treated, split, and wove all by hand. You'd have to pay around 2 to 300 dollars for it because said item would have represented a minimum of 25 hours in direct artisan labor on my part. That's not counting the time it took to care for the groves, to harvest the cane, to process it, and then to cure it. That's just counting the time it took me to treat the cane with fire, and then to split the cane with a traditional Japanese bamboo splitting blade, and then to weave it. Next to nobody will pay 300 dollars for an artisan bamboo basket grown and crafted by artisan hands locally when they can go buy a plastic (petroleum) bucket from Lowes for $5. I also spent a number of years training in permaculture design. I made money with bamboo and permaculture, but not enough money to support myself in this world, much less a wife and two children.
|Split bamboo next to whole canes.|
|A bamboo fence for my wife's garden spot|
I was involved in Permaculture and bamboo, and both because I was following my bliss. That bliss was to live a natural life. That bliss was to use my hands to create beauty, and to be a good steward to the natural landscapes that sustain us as biological creatures. That bliss was to pay homage to the actual reality that is the natural processes that occur in nature to make things such as the air we breath, the water we drink, and the soil we grow our food in. That bliss was to treat the Earth as a living entity that, along with the sun, imbues and blesses us all with life. That bliss was an idealistic lie in this world. Alas, idealism does not pay any bills.
|Weaving a door for the garden spot fence|
|Delusional bliss in action|
|A bamboo door|
So what does roadkill have to do with Murika and petroleum and war and an idealistic hippie playing with bamboo and digging permaculture holes? I realized that America is this truck that I now drive for money, and those raccoon are the rest of the world. That is exactly how Murika treats the rest of the world, as well as the natural environment. It's just “collateral damage” (a term coined by the Murikan Military Industrial Complex to describe innocent civilian deaths in war) that is unfortunately necessary to keep us all up in the manner we have become accustomed. Just about nothing, with the exception of nature (and air brakes combined with engine compression brakes), can stop an 80,0000 pound truck at 65 mph. Anything that's in the way becomes roadkill...thud thud. Worse than that actually, because at least the scavenger birds can pick at the roadkill, and occasionally some crazy ass re-wilder may come along and take the roadkill home to eat it.
Those raccoon may as well be the old me sitting in the road weaving my bamboo basket from bamboo grown in my yard, planting trees, and attempting to make my way in this world as a permaculturists specializing in bamboo. Now I'm at the wheel as well. I'm now a willing participant finally made complicit to the Murikan semi that's making a thud thud out of the rest of the planet...kickin' your brown ass and takin' your brown gas! If only the 21 year old me, getting himself kicked out of the navy on account of his idealism, could see me now! If he could see me he would disown me, or kill me before I could get out of control with complacency, apathy, and what he would see as cowardice while kneeling down before the puppet masters of the system for some pellets of comfortably numb conformity.
Ironically I love this job! I wasn't entirely a product of a single mother. My father was in my life, but minimally. I saw him a couple of times a year when I was a little boy. He was a trucker, but that wasn't why I didn't see him, that's ironically what enabled me to see him. I didn't see him because his second wife hated my mother, and she hated me because I was my mother's son. For a number of years he was under her spell (something he now recognizes), and so I rarely saw him. When I did see him it was to go with him over the road in his semi (and his wife had no idea, hence the afore mentioned irony). Such power fathers have over their children! It's enough power to make them into truck drivers 30 years later on account of a couple of preteen memories! Well, that, and a large helping of genetics.
Deep down I love semi trucks and trailers. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the need I have to be a man, and a father, due to a wife and two of my own boys. My father was a trucker. He was the only template on being a father I've ever had. When I finally spent time with him it was to the sound of a diesel engine, and to the smell of diesel, and with the allure of the passing road. I love driving a semi, I love the power, and I love the mechanical accomplishment they represent. But if I'm completely honest, some part of me feels that I have finally grown to a man, and I am now providing money for my family. Men are supposed to provide, and in our society that means money. Yet the plague of cognitive dissonance continues to haunt me with it's furious sound of hypocrisy.
To be constantly going somewhere new, and to have everything I need with me, and to mostly be left alone...these are all things that I love about being a trucker. It's very peaceful to be left alone while listening to music, and my thoughts, as the landscape changes in front of me, as I fulfill my husbandly and fatherly requirement to get money. I never know where I will end up for the night to catch a shower and some sleep. Mostly I stay at truck stops, which are the places our society have created for the trucks to stop so that their human pilots may shower, do laundry, eat, and get coffee and cigarettes. There's also rest areas, company terminals, and occasionally a Walmart parking lot or the parking lot of a shipper or consignee. I imagine that I'm sailing a ship on the black bitumen sea, and I'm the captain. I'm also making twice as much money as I've ever made in my life doing this. I'm making twice as much as I made working as a medic on an ambulance after 8 years of service.
You see, permaculture and bamboo were not paying any bills. They were not presenting the promise of any type of stability for my wife and children. As much as I wanted to live in a world that did not exist...a world morally superior to the one we all inhabit, and a world that aught to exist, it was all just delusional thinking. Idealism made pernicious by business as usual.
If Murika is the truck that splattered the racoon, than the Corporatocracy is at the wheel, and we're all just unique and individual diesel atoms. Murika is also a delusion, at least as it exist in the minds of most Murikans. The truth is that there are no lines on the map of the world any longer. At least not any lines that matter to the Corporatocracy. All of the inhabitants of this planet, both human and non-human, have no value to the corporate machine beyond the value of their contribution to the continuance of BAU. Business As Usual is business as it always has been. Since the rise of the first civilization the world has been dominated by the hierarchy of man. Man has taken by force using both his mind and his body. For a long time there were proper kingdoms which were ruled by kings. The king ruled by controlling the politics and the military of his kingdom. There were many different kingdoms that existed throughout the world of time and place.
|One of my conventional landscape business clients had this pesky weed food growing, so I harvested it|
|Took it home and fed it to my family. Bamboo shoots have more protein than any other vegetable|
Now, for the first time in the known history of man, there is one kingdom that controls the entirety of the planet, and that is the Corporatocracy which has a capitol in Murika (not to be confused with capital...wait). It has control of the technology we use everyday. It controls the global military as well as the politics that control the global military. It controls all of the people of this world, and those that it does not control it kills wantonly and with no conscience. No one can stop this final rule of the Corporatocracy. The only things that have the potential to stop it are natural disaster and petroleum depletion. This is the reality that greed has formulated. The Corporatocracy's primary objective is profit for the share holders. All of the decisions that are made are made to keep those at the top at the top. They are at the top of a system that works for them, and they will continue perpetuating that system so long as they can because they are greedy and psychopathic.
What about the rest of us? Are we complicit in this unnatural disaster? We all contribute because we all need money to survive. We need money to buy food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare, safety, stability, comfort, security, entertainment, convenience, and the electronic gadgets we need to participate in SwampBook, KnitTwitter, and all of the rest of the anti-social narcissism that currently defines the majority of the sleep walking wake walkers. There is no escaping the global matrix that controls the planet. At least there is no escape where you succeed and are still left breathing and above ground. To escape in reality, and to do so without contributing to BAU, would have to mean doing so without money. How many people do you know that are living without money? If you spend money then you are spending it on goods and services that are only possible due to this diesel powered Murika. This diesel powered Murika is only possible due to our military and the petroleum our military protects and enables. If you aren't contributing than you'll likely be turned roadkill by the semi trucks that make the American way of life possible.
|The last bamboo basket I made before becoming a Trucker|