Dancing with the Tar Baby (While Waiting for Santa Claus to Come) Part I

A week ago I sped up a bit on a country two-lane East Texas county road I had travelled for over 3 decades. I was passing another car. There was plenty of room, but you know how it is when you speed up to pass another vehicle, and I did, and after clearing and veering back into my lane, the red and blue lights of an oncoming white vehicle in the distance began flashing. I was busted. The colored lights were hidden inside at the top of the windshield. Clever. “Speeding.” the officer said as he gave me the ticket from a glassy eye and ashen face. He walked disinterestedly away from me back to his car. 

I was furious with myself, you see, for I had been giving myself pep talks and mental warnings about how with all the broken budgets and mammoth debt in local, state, and federal government, they would be out there like Gang-Busters waiting for you with all the empathy of a Cottonmouth.

I had picked up an old friend from high school to show him my new home site on a small lake with Wood Ducks and Lesser Scaups landing in the middle to raft and raise up splashingly and remind us of when we went up the Intracoastal Canal near Port Arthur, Texas and out onto Keith’s Lake to hunt waterfowl and be with the mysteries of the marsh as young men. 50 years had passed, but the feeling was still there. Each time we would go out in those days of our youth, it was like waiting for Santa Claus to come. The great anticipation of what first light would bring as you trudged through the deep cow licked marsh grass, a backload of decoys in your gunny sack, afraid you would step on a grunting alligator, was a priceless adventure. Stars smiled on you, and the faint high-pitched (wing-wing-wing-wing) metallic flight echo of low-fliers, unseen, but just as good as calendar ducks on the refrigerator magnet, made you smile inside.

I digress. I just want to say that before the deputy sheriff encounter, I was up and going home again with an old friend when up jumped the Tar Baby, all dripping black and wanting to dance with me again. “I’ll lead.” his unrelenting demeanor told me. Well this little speeding infraction was my fault. I was projecting, I know, my feelings about life and good and evil onto the officer who was just doing his job catching speeders and taking big money for the county. I should have known better I tell you. It was my own fault and nobody else’s. But I kept thinking and doing a slow burn. Why couldn’t he go catch the criminals who had just stolen copper from 6 houses under construction in my new paradise subdivision with the Cormorants, the Mallards, and the Ospreys? Yes, and hovering Ospreys at that. I hated the Tar Babies and having to dance with them so often, these days.

But wait. Maybe it was my ancient eye, all clouded with logic that seems hardly rational to anyone but me. I began to feel like I was crazy, talking about dancing with Tar Babies and all.   Maybe I need to see a shrink. But how would I know if they are secretly crazy or not before wasting a few grand on their own hidden agenda and craziness? 

Perhaps my disease is one of accumulation. See, each bit of news these days seems so black and gooey with tar to the human senses. Know what I mean? 

Life used to be simple. I cry out for the passion I used to feel from the flower, the Carolina Wrens, the Red Fox, the rooting Armadillos, the Bluebirds, and the Brown Thrashers, thrashing the dark leaves of the forest floor. In my mind I can still hear the other-worldly “galoop,    galoop,       galoop of the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, hiding among the thick high leaves and boughs, flitting about as he flashes his white and black polka-dotted bottom tail feathers, if you are lucky. Where have they gone, these Rain Crows of the forest that made the heart leap? Think maybe Sarah Palin shot them all?

Accumulation. I just heard the news that Tom DeLay was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his criminal conviction of money laundering and breaking a Texas Law about what campaign money was to be used for. And not. The smart money says DeLay will never do any time due to slick lawyers and legal delays. Even though DeLay blew the money on redistricting Texas congressional districts that would change forever the way House members were selected in Texas. And yes, somehow the GOP seemed to have gained at least 6 new seats in Washington, thanks to old Tom.

I was shaken when Valerie Plame, a CIA undercover terrorist agent was likely offed by someone in the White House. Her husband, Joe Wilson, had investigated Bush’s contention that we needed to attack Iraq because Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy Uranium Yellow Cake from Niger. Wilson called bull on Bush and Cheney about the necessity to attack Iraq based upon the bogus intelligence Bush used in his state of the union address to scare Americans with images of mushroom clouds in our very own cities. When special prosecutor Fitzgerald’s investigation and subsequent trial saw Scooter Libby, Cheney’s man Friday, convicted of lying under oath, I felt great exhilaration. Then came the day for sentencing, and President Bush stepped in and commuted Libby’s sentence. “May I have this dance?” asked the Tar Baby.

The nation suffered 8 years of dancing with the Tar Baby under Bush II. The National Debt grew by 4 Trillion Dollars! Bush told us we needed to borrow and spend 4 Trillion Dollars in order to keep Iraq from setting off Weapons of Mass Destruction on our shores. Add that little addition to Ronald Reagan’s borrowing and spending spree of 3 Trillion dollars to bring the Evil Empire (Russia) to its knees, and you have a total of 7 Trillion Dollars of debt. That is HALF the present National Debt! Attributable to just 2 American presidents! Both Republican. So, how ‘bout them big-spending Democrats? Where did they all go? Out dancing with the Tar Baby?

Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin said, after Obama’s state of the union address Tuesday night, that Obama was responsible for the ongoing massive spending and debt facing our children and grandchildren. Say what?!! It is always most noticeable how these rah-rah Republicans never mention all the Bush II borrowing and spending that shoved us over the cliff of National Debt. Neither did talking head and former congressman, (Morning Joe) Scarborough. He said Obama’s speech was tepid and boring. He also lauded Paul Ryan as an up-and-coming force in the GOP. But Joe Scarborough didn’t mention all of Bush’s borrowing and spending to attack and occupy Iraq either, so what is Morning Joe thinking? Did he pass Arithmetic in the 3rd Grade or what? Did he have a memory lapse over Bush II’s massive borrowing and spending? So in my world why do these Tar Babies keep on appearing like ugly genies from a bottle? And how can they lie so eloquently? Golly Gee Whiskers!

For months I felt that good things might be just around the corner for all Americans. It appeared that Congress would pass our first National Health Bill. I was as exuberant as I was on the day of American’s first moon landing. It felt like Santa Claus might be coming after all. The bill passed and Obama signed it into law. But guess what? Before the ink dried good, the new Republican majority in the House voted to repeal the National Health Plan! If it would ever pass the Senate and Obama’s presidential veto, there would be no more coverage for millions of Americans. Pre-existing conditions would be a reason for insurance companies to deny coverage to all Americans once again. We would be right back where we started. Where over 45 million Americans would once again be without insurance coverage.

One of the biggest Tar Babies I ever had to dance with was when I researched many states for a possible business venture idea I had. I have been passionate about building and producing electricity from my own solar farm for years. I studied how to build on and bring it online to produce electricity as real, usable power. I sought to produce many more KW, even MW of electricity to sell back to the electric companies for profit. I researched the laws and regulations of several states, including my own here in Texas. No soap. Texas utility companies did not want to buy back excess electricity you produced even if it were engineered by professionals who specialized in hooking up solar panel systems to the grid. All the baloney we always heard about how the electric company had to pay you back for excess energy your system generated was just that. Bunk. See, the electric companies (Big Brown) want to generate all their own electricity, and they do not want to pay individuals for any excess power they might generate. And the Texas Lege backs Big Brown up. So do most of the other states in the USA. The electric companies have a giant lobby that works well. So basically all the excess power an individual or company generates and routes back to the electric grid is the property of the electric company. Wow, what a Tar Baby to dance with. I spent 2 whole years only to discover that a private businessman could not make a solar farm profitable. Why not? Because you cannot sell (net meter) it back to Big Brown. They want it all. Some land of opportunity, eh?

In Part II we will explore one of the biggest Tar Babies of all, one that will determine the future of the human race. And everyone, every human alive must dance with him. Unless we all suck it up and drive him away.