Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dig a Pony

March 14, 2017

Waning Gibbous Moon

If, like me, you are interested in what the heck happened to North America in the past few hundred years, one thing you could do is to read The Saga of the Pony Express by Joseph DiCerto (2002). This readable and thoroughly researched book focuses on the brief, but intense, year and a half history of the Pony Express, a grand project created to move mail and news from the then edge of the American frontier to San Francisco and the still "unsettled" West.

You might, like me, be surprised to find that the Pony Express only lasted from April of 1860 to October of 1861. Samuel Morse's invention of the telegraph and some inevitable financial/organizational difficulties eventually lead to the Pony  Express's demise. In the meantime, there were tales of daring do by boys, essentially, young kids speeding cross country on the best horses money could buy. They faced all of the weather and terrain challenges imaginable, as well as sometimes fierce resistance by native people upon whose lands they were trespassing and whose customs they were helping to destroy.

"Orphans preferred."

The Route: St. Joseph. MO to Sacramento, CA, then to San Francisco by boat.

My biggest criticism of this otherwise interesting and possibly accurate saga is that it is almost completely one-sided. It presents the viewpoint of the European immigrants with little to no examination of their basic lawlessness and disregard for the humans they were dispossessing. Why do so many history books fail to address this obvious legal and moral tragedy?

Guilt and shame are pretty useless now. What's done is done. But why cannot the mistakes be acknowledged and some course corrections be initiated? It certainly seems that whatever that force is that fuels conquest and murder and the self-righteous notion that one group of people is entitled to whatever land and resources they desire is still at play. To ignore it is to support it, to feed the monster. The monster appears to be fatter than ever.

Some would call it human nature. or more simply, nature itself. I will take what I want unless you stop me. Like supernovae or colliding black holes or a tectonic plate being subducted beneath another, big violence happens. But the human role in this tug of war is at odds with every religion and civilized doctrine in history. The Golden Rule is taught and recited, but not applied.

We should be better than our history, but we are not. In practice, people, especially those of European descent, have run rampant across the world in the name of their religions. This is not natural. This is simply perverse.

In 1860 there were an estimated 50-100 million pronghorn antelopes, 30 million buffaloes, and 1 billion prairie dogs living in the path of the Pony Express. Oh boy. Not for long. Ever-increasing abuses of ever-expanding technological "advances" all but eliminated them. And more. Today, just 157 years later, there are an estimated 327 million cell phones in the United States of America and a President who regularly tweets incendiary nonsense. SOS. Where are we headed?

Can you hear me now?

Peace and Love from Whence the Skies Were Not Cloudy All Day,

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