Monday, September 27, 2010
More Americana: Bryce Canyon, Proposition 8 and a truck stop
Right now I'm off driving around Utah. And in Park City yesterday, I went to a branch office of the Mormon family heritage center and they helped me trace my ancestors back to North Carolina, back from before the Trail of Tears. Wow. The center even printed me out a copy of an original 1900 Oklahoma census tract. It actually had my great-grandmother Mary's name on it -- and the names of her ten children as well.
And I was recently telling someone in Salt Lake City about how much I liked Utah. "You sound surprised," he replied. And I was. My only experience with Mormons (aside from my cute high school boyfriend) came from the time that they poured millions of dollars into a California election in a clear effort to dictate to us how we should think and and how we should vote -- subtly instructing us that we were supposed to hate gay people.
After visiting SLC, I was off to Bryce Canyon -- which is really amazing. You should go there sometime. I think you might be as amazed as I was. And on the way there, I pulled over at a truck stop to get something to eat -- and was amazed at that too. There was aisle after aisle, filled to overflowing, with stuff that was bad for you. You name it, they had it -- starting with Twinkies and chips and working their way up. I took photos. I'm going to put an exhibit up on Facebook. "The Way America Eats".
Next I crossed the Utah-Arizona border and one of the first things I saw there was a store's billboard that read, "Lotto, Ammo, Guns and Beer". Welcome to Arizona.
Some Homeland Security bureaucrat has recently stated that Arizona's draconian immigration laws are "a desperate cry for help." So here's some help for you, guys. GET RID OF NAFTA! And also John McCain.
In addition, I would also recommend that we stop worrying about closing our borders to Mexico and start worrying about closing our borders to China! "Why is that?" you might ask. Because most of America's jobs are being sent overseas -- to China and elsewhere. And who knows? Someday we too may be forced to become undocumented aliens, sneaking over the border from Hong Kong as we too follow the jobs.
However, there's gonna be one big problem with that one. Think how easy it will be for the Chinese government to "racially profile" us!
PS: Right before I left Berkeley in search of the Great American Experience, I heard someone make a very interesting statement: "I'll NEVER work retail again!"
"Sorry, dude," I should have said, "you're plum out of luck on that one. Most of America is employed in the service industry these days. It's retail or else!"
All over The West, I have seen this again and again -- people employed in the service industry, mostly tourism. But guess what? The service industry, in the end, is NOT economically viable. People can take turns being providers and customers all they want and pretend for days, weeks, months, years that this [circular illusion] is producing a healthy economy -- but it is not.
Unfortunately, America's true economic reality has already immigrated to the steel mills and manufacturing plants of China and the sweatshops of Asia.
Further, according to Tim Lange at the Daily Kos, America's infrastructure is also falling apart -- but China's isn't. "Europe...puts 5 percent of its gross domestic product into infrastructure spending and China 9 percent. In the United States, it's only 2.4 percent. Nearly two years ago, the ASCE estimated the five-year investment needed for infrastructure at $2.2 trillion."
So if I want to continue my road trip in style, I may have to go over and drive around in China.
PPS: The next stop on my trip will be the Grand Canyon!