Saturday, February 23, 2008

Channeling Ayn Rand

This is a little late for the anniversary of her Birthday, which was February 2nd, but by typical SDAI blogging standards it's hardly late at all. Channeling Rand for 2008 seems like a nice change of pace here.

The faces on the city streets were covered with visible tension. The factories were shutting down, and every week brought news of more plants closing, downsizing or moving overseas. The politicians were promising more for all except those who had something, for whom they only promised more looting. It was an election year so the looters were out in force, jockeying for position by promising to redistribute the rewards of others work. Even those who were in the country illegally could find something to cling to in the words and speeches of the looters. There would be some form of "recognition" and "legal status" for those who arrived illegally and it was just a matter of working out the details. The politicians could pander to citizens and non-citizens equally. Any horde that promised to keep them in power or put them in power was not overlooked.

It was a rainy, overcast day in the desert and the clouds moved swiftly through the skies as if they did not want to stay too long in any place. The streets were damp with drizzle, just enough to lift the dirt and dust into a wet layer over everything.

The town was silent in the drizzle, even the wind was peculiarly quiet. I walked to my car and the silence was disquieting. I couldn't place my finger on what it was that had changed. It was as if the pure desert, untainted by man and time, sensed something was wrong with the world and was trying to block it out. I fumbled with my keys and entered. My mind wandered as I drove down the old highway. The ghost towns that had once sprung up over night when men dreamed big, were now just temporary sun shelter and markers for passing illegals. The Fenshaw silver mine was just a few miles to the north of where the Santa Cruz river breaks off to form Fenshaw walsh. Fenshaw dug and clawed through the rocks for twenty years before he struck a vein of silver that made him wealthy and spawned a small town in his name nearly overnight. That was 90 years ago when most men already thought the region was played out. It lasted nearly fifty years, employing hundreds of miners over several generations, a saloon and a small market. Now the town built by hard work and sweat is just a set of decaying shadows for an endless number of looters. The name Fenshaw is all but forgotten, but his silver lives on in the products made by the companies that bought and used Fenshaw's silver for their goods. Products that, like the desert itself, have lasted the test of time, merely tarnished with age.

I turned on the radio. I wanted something to break the quiet.

The radio announcer had a droning quality, just like the politicians. He announced the foreclosures of another 18,000 homeowners in the state over just the past two months. The politicians wanted to make amends for the greed of the lenders and the borrowers by adding a third wrong.

(That's all for today...and for all of you not up on your Ayn Rand...shame on you! Her works are as meaningful today as they were fifty years ago - perhaps more so.)