Saturday, November 04, 2006

Heroes and Legends

This is me in 1869, if I had been around then. Not so deep inside me there is a fella just like this. Sitting in shadow cast by his steed, gazing out over the grazing remuda in the deserts of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, or the Great Central Valley of California.

From my earliest days, my heroes have always been cowboys. Of course, back in 1869, 'cowboy' didn't mean quite the same as today. Cowboys were the bad guys. Not calling themselves such, the good guys, men like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson - shady men in their own right - made the West a livable place fit for decent folk.

When I was a small boy, my family lived on a ranch in Northern California. My father was a farmer from back east - Michigan, where I was born. He moved his family to California and herded turkeys for my Uncle John. I was but two years old then.

The ranch was 10 miles from the Gold Rush town of Auburn, forty miles west of Sacramento. Days were clear and bright; nights were clear and dark. From the kitchen window we could watch herds of deer grazing on the hillside not a thousand yards distant. At night, the yipping of coyotes were a constant cause for alarm for Dad because he had to protect the turkeys, the dumbest bird ever placed on this earth. Bobcats and rattlesnakes were our constant companions, as was our dog, Pepper.

One night, Dad was awakened by the frantic gobbles of turkeys all afright. He jumped from bed, grabbed his lever-action Winchester to which he had taped a flashlight and ran out the backdoor. Flipping on the light, he spotted a pair of eyes in the dark. He fired. There was a yelp. He had shot Pepper right between the eyes. Pepper survived, but he was never the same after that.

It was a frontier paradise to a little boy. I could be seen wearing my six-shooter and green cowboy hat chasing down the ne'er-do-wells that existed only in my mind. Sometimes my older brother would play along, but only because Mom told him to. I would be the Sheriff and he was the bad guy. We'd meet at the side of the house for the showdown, the great shootout as if it were the O.K. Corral. He would stand there all menacing, then we'd draw.

My lightening draw would just begin and I'd hear, " BANG! YOU'RE DEAD!" The law never won in my part of the frontier. So, I'd go back to my imaginary villains who could never best me - the Sheriff packin' the big iron on his hip and green hat on his sunburned head.

Sometimes the 20th Century would make itself known. On a bright blue summer day, indistinguishable from any other bright summer day of my boyhood frontier, a B-52 Bomber flew over our house so slowly we could see the wings of the great silver bird flapping in flight. We could see the pilot and co-pilot. The co-pilot looked out and waved to us and we waved back. It took forever for that monster of unearthly firepower to pass over.

Nighttime would show us the far distant past and the very edge of our place in the galaxy. Almost directly overhead was a grayish white band of galactic dust and billions of stars. We could see the bounds of the Milky Way galaxy - the home of this good earth. My parents always watched the NBC Nightly News. One night in summer, Chet Huntley or David Brinkley announced that Sputnik, the dread Russian satellite would pass over our single-story, three bedroom Ranch-style house with turquoise aluminum siding (not sure they actually announced it that way, though.) At the appointed hour, our family went out into the ink black night and stared into the heavens. There it was. From the south horizon it rose, a tiny white dot moving to the north following the same path as that B-52 toward Beale Airforce Base. If you listened really, really hard you could hear - pi-n-n-n-g-g... pi-n-n-n-g-g...pi-n-n-n-g-g - as that electronic Ruskie ball went sailing overhead. Many months later, our very own galactic sheriff appeared in the night sky - Telstar- and all was right with the world again.

Those were great times for a little boy without a care in world, until the Soviet Union started spying on us from above and America's great warbirds flew low, growling into the wind. The Cold War was delivered unto my door and my world was not so innocent and safe anymore. Like my shootouts with my brother, the bad guys may have won, no one knew. And they might have, they came mighty close many times, but we always had a Wyatt Earp and a Doc Holliday to set things right.

The crude law of the Old West is upon us once again. America's aim must be sure, the draw must be lightning quick, and the bullet's path must be true. When you step into that voting booth on Tuesday, seriously ask yourself what kind of world you want the little boys in green hats to grow-up in. A world in which the good guys are not willing to do what is necessary, though it may be shady and may even be downright illegal, or a world in which the rule of law is strictly followed, giving every opportunity to the bad guys simply because there is no physical proof. Do you want a world in which the standard of reasonable doubt is not reasonable, but absolute as if CSI were on the case. The kids in the green hats and carrying the big irons need to know if they will be supported or will they be turned out to the savages. Savages for whom nearly every crime is a capital offense and, as likely as not, the victim is the executed party.

Like the lawyer, Ransom Stoddard, the Liberals of our nation mean well and are, for the most part, patriots of the highest order. The law must be followed spirit and letter come what may. The fictional town of Shinbone, Arizona was bullied and beat down by the vile Liberty Valance who tormented Stoddard to no end. Liberty Valance feared no man, except Tom Doniphon, a gunfighter who had no use for lawbooks. His gun and his own understanding of right from wrong were all the laws he needed. Events came to a head in a showdown in the streets, just as it happened in my youth next to the house with my brother.

Ransom Stoddard, lacking any experience with firearms went out to meet Valance. Shots rang out and Liberty Valance fell dead in the dirt. But, it wasn't Ransom Stoddard, it wasn't the law, that killed Liberty Valance. It was Tom Doniphon, the gunslinger, a violent man who didn't need a lawbook to know what was right and good. He had fired a rifle from an alley at the moment of gunplay. Ransom Stoddard and the townsfolk believed Ransom had rid the town of evil. Even when Stoddard learned the truth he continued in his fantasy and went on to be elected to the U.S. Senate on the basis of that lie.

Doniphon eventually died and Stoddard came back to Shinbone for the funeral. The town newspaper editor wanted to know why he returned for the funeral of a nobody like Doniphon. Stoddard told him the story and the editor refused to print it saying, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

The facts of the Old West are not always as exciting as the legends. We need those legends now. We need the Wyatt Earps, the Doc Hollidays, and the Tom Doniphons to do the dirty work that even the Liberals know must be done. The men and women in the green hats carrying the big irons are those legendary heroes. They know what must be done. They are willing to do the dirty work to cleanse the evil from our good earth.

Render your decision Tuesday as if your life and the lives of all good people depend on it. Out of the cloistered shadows of the voting booth, yours may be the one vote that really counts.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


atheling2 said...

Damn Indigo, you wax poetic about your boyhood!

My father is from Northern California too. He grew up in Stockton, and his grandparents had a ranch in the San Joaquin Valley. His dad was the best car mechanic in Stockton. He always had work, and they always had food because of the ranch, so they were fortunate during the Great Depression. Photos of my grandfather always show him in a suit. Imagine that. An auto mechanic, always in his Sunday best for a picture.

Ever read Lonesome Dove? It's one of my favorite novels of all time. I read it again and again over the years, savoring the prose and the wonderful stories. There's a great quote in the beginning:

"All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream."

dcat said...

I’m sure the liberals know nothing!!!

And yes my vote will be the one of many REPUBLICANS come Tuesday!

Indigo Red said...

It is difficult for me to read "Lonesome Dove" silently. There is life and magic in the spoken word.

I write of my past from time to time as the spirit strikes and I cannot but write. I am compelled till the end. Like this piece, I have no idea where I am being taken nor how I will get there. I have learned to just go with the flow of words.

Don said...

Wow Indi you have done it again! There just isn't another blog I enjoy as much as yours. I don't comment often but rest assured I always read it. You realize of course that liberals will blanch at the thought of two kids pointing toy guns at each other.

Tom C said...

I have learned to just go with the flow of words.

And now you know why I haven't updated in a while.

mudkitty said...

So wait, all of a sudden you're in favor of "culcha" and "law and order" and "gummint?"

Why I knew you were a pussy cat underneath all that gruff!

lilfeathers2000 said...


Have A God Blessed Week!!!!

Mike's America said...

I didn't know you could herd Turkeys!

Too bad about your dog Pepper. I hope your Dad was a bit more careful with the gun after that.

Indigo Red said...

Thanks, Don. I know you are reading 'cuz you leave behind your fingerprints - mostly all sticky with strawberry jam.

There's a scene, Tom, in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid": Butch sarcastically asks the very silent Sundance Kid why he talks so much. Sundance replies, "Just naturally blabby, I guess."

mudkitty...what can I say - GET A DICTIONARY! All conservatives know it's "CULTURE", "LAWN ORDER", and "GOVERNMENT". Only Carter people pronounce these words as you have written.

Besides, It's not all of a sudden for anything. I have a university BA in ART, that's culture. Many in my family are lawmen and women; I've a cousin who's throat was slit by a prison inmate, in prison only because some damnable liberal judge let the bastard live. And government is, as Garry Wills frames it, a necessary evil. I just don't like what the cardio-leakers have done to this great Republic.

lilfeathers, welcome and thank you for the well wishes. The weekend has gone very well so far.

Herding turkeys, Mike, is a bit like herding cats - or mudkittys. To my recollection, Pepper was a black, white (salt & pepper) Border Collie mix. He had those graish eyes that kinda looked unearthly. The next time Dad used the rifle on a varmint, it was also in the middle of the night. He shot a bobcat which was right in front of the big propane gas tank about 15 feet away from the house and all of his sleeping family. Good thing that whatever Dad pointed that rifle at was not missed.

mudkitty said...

I got my dictionary right here, and the U.S. Constitution right here. Ask me anything.

Indigo Red said...

What kind of government does the United States of America have?

mudkitty said...

A representative democracy. That's was easy. Give me a hard one.


Or that was the government we used to have. Today we're the United States of Saudi America.

Indigo Red said...

I would give you another one, mudkitty, but you have to get first one right.

Representative democracy is incorrect. Try reading that Constitution you said is next to you.

atheling2 said...


mudkitty said...

Got it (the U.S. Constitution) right here. Are you actually saying our form of government is NOT a representitive democracy? Are you really going to stick to that? Do you really, really want to commit to that statement?

A Republic (if that's what you're implying) means is that there's no monarchy or emperor or dictator. That's all it means. It's not a form of governnance. But our U.S. form, and system, of government is a "representative democracy." Meaning we elect representatives to create and vote on legislation. We don't create or vote directly on most legislation. That would be direct democracy. Some states allow for ballot measures, but not all.

You obviously don't have the U.S. Constitution next to you, and you would fail a civics class on this basis alone.

Indigo Red said...

Ok, you've got the US Constitution right there. Now read it. It's not very long, most folks can read it in about 30 minutes.

I am actually saying the form of government the US has is not a representative democracy, because it is not a democracy. The Founders abhorred democracy. Democracy as a governing institution has never worked and the longest one ever lasted was 10 years and ended in the death of Socrates.

No form of government is exclusive of emperor or king (including feminine counterparts), or dictatorship. Any governmental form chosen can and does exist in the presence of monarchies and dictatorships. Just as Communism exists in the presence of Capitalism, witness The People's Republic of China. Ooo, a threefer! The PRC is a Republic, a dictatorship, and Capitalist. You show you have some understanding of what democracy entails. You've earned some points.

It is not obvious at all that I have no Constitution next to me. I actually have two copies. One is printed so tiny that my aging eyes requied amgnifying glass to read it, and the other is a copy that I carry wherever I go. Plus all the on-line Constitution sources. I was the only person in my Civics course to obtain perfect scores on all of the tests and papers. I was also a thorn in theachers side because I often showed that his understanding and knowledge was incorrect. I feat that no other student of his had ever done nor since.

As a PolySci student during the VietNam era, my first PS course was a graduate seminar even though I was only 18 and fresh from high school. From 20 students in that graduate seminar, I was one of two who received straight A's throughout the year.

Please, mudkitty, actually take the half-hour to read the Constitution. I guarantee the answer to the question is there.

What kind of government does the US have? Put another way, the Constitution guarantees the country and the various States what form of government?

If you can't find it this time, I will point it out.

Off topic:
I like the verification word I've been given. It fits the current discussion - rujokr.

mudkitty said...

Go ahead, I've got the Constitution right here...stop playing games, stop playing word games, tell us, aside from a Republic, which we've already covered, what type of non-democracy we are?

Actually, some of our founders did believe in direct democracy, and others didn't. Representative democracy was the compromise.

Indigo Red said...

Article IV, Section 4

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

As defined for the above:

republic n 1 : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and is usually a president; also : a nation or other political unit having such a government 2 : a government in which supreme power is held by the citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives governing according to law; also : a nation or other political unit having such a form of government.

In the context of the United States, both definitions apply."

Keep in mind please, "Republican Government" does and has never referred to government by the Republican Party.

Don said...

Ouch! Indi it isn't nice to torment kitties. LOL

mudkitty said...

Red: I told you that in the first post. And in the following post. It's not a system of governance. A republic is defined by what it is not. Not by what it is. Our system of governance is a representative democracy. Do you deny that?

And anyway, what's your point?

Indigo Red said...

The Constitution guarantees ONE form of government - A REPUBLIC - PERIOD.

No where in the Constitutiion does the word democracy appear. Neither is democracy referenced in the Constitution.

The Costitution not only guarantees a REPUBLIC, it obligates the Federal Government to uphold the gaurantee against all enemies foregn and domestic. The Federal Government is obligated by the Constitution to maintain the one and only constitutional form by force of arms if necessary.

You can deny whatever the fuck you wish. You asked the questions, you led the course. Now you've shown your hand. You are just baiting like we all knew you would. So adios.

Further comments received from you will be deleted.