Readying For Iowa

23 01 2016

One week before Iowa. I have worked a lifetime for this chapter. A U.S. Presidential election in full swing and the first votes to be cast.

“Do you really want to be disappointed?,” I remember Rich distinctly saying.

Rich was a red bus driver at Glacier National Park. He was a bizarre man in that he was almost child-like in his behaviors. He gave me the impression that he had never grown up. We shared the same room at Lake McDonald in one of the nicest dorms in all of the park — quite a long way from Grand Canyon’s shabby Victor (aka Victim) Hall. Yes sirre, at LMD, Rich and I were not roughing it.

Rich had worked some 30 years at Glacier, driving red buses and putting on an act for the tourists. There were times, though, when Rich would — how do I put this nicely — over act in dramatic scenes.

Despite his quirks, Rich was full of local knowledge and knew the hiking trails inside Glacier well. It was on one of our many hikes into the backcountry that Rich began to needle me about my politics. Rich, you see, was staunchly libertarian and believed very strongly that the government was watching his every move.

At night, in between episodes of The Simpsons and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Rich would usually find some sort of conspiracy video to play and then launch into a vocal position of how wars and crises are usually inside jobs. This was his line of attack as we hiked to Hidden Lake that day with fresh snow melt, mountain goats and marmots all around.

Hiking with Rich

Hiking with Rich

“You know Obama is former CIA, right,” he said. “He’s just like all the rest.”

I had mentioned to Rich I would like to cover the next presidential campaign which had triggered a sour response and Rich’s questioning me if I was prepared for what he viewed as certain disappointment. Rich’s first instinct was to always reject my first proposal. It was the essence of our labor/management dynamic that I was oddly enough placed into that summer. In hindsight, I should have moved out of that room early on, but the entire ordeal at Lake McDonald was about proving to the masses that no matter how tough it got, I wasn’t going anywhere. Not even a few steps into a different room down the hall with a less antagonistic roommate.

So fast forward a year and here I am getting ready to head to Iowa and thinking about Rich and as weird as this sounds that asshole might just be right.

I’ve followed all the candidates closely up to this point and scoured their backgrounds like a fine tooth comb. I’ve paid attention to the electorate and trends across this great nation and concluded both parties are full of shit. In Florida, particularly, the bullshit runs knee-deep.

Maybe it has already been decided. Perhaps, as Rich believes, big brother is controlling every move in a pre-destined way that leaves only Mother Nature to chance. Maybe that’s why Rich loves Glacier so much and keeps coming back year after year to drive those antique red buses. He’s clinging to a past and a special place that is quickly vanishing from this planet.

I’ll soon find out the mood of America’s political power on the ground in the heart of the midwest, a region I am none too familiar with. It will be another adventure into the great unknown — that is if we are to believe our nation’s election results are a true reflection of the will of the people.

Are you ready to hit the ground…running?

If you are interested in helping me in this independent effort, please make a small donation to my GoFundMe account here: https://www.gofundme.com/6sd4nbjg

 

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