Rollin‘ Coal

By Erik Dolson

“Watch this,” I said to Dani as we waited for the light to change.

“What?”

“Out your side mirror.”

When the light turned green, I put the accelerator down just enough to put the Prius in the lane next to us about ten feet behind my exhaust pipe. Then I hit the switch and the pushed the accelerator to the floor. A huge black cloud of unburnt diesel blew out of my Ram pickup and wrapped the Prius like a blanket.

He must have hit his brakes, because he was a quarter mile back before I saw him nose out of the soot.

“Ha! Look at that sorry sucker! Buried him!”

“Why’d you do that?” Dani asked, and I knew right then this conversation wasn’t one I wanted to have. That said, I got a right to my opinion, and what with everything that’s been happening, I was ready to stand up for it.

“Because he was a liberal. Didn’t you see the bumper sticker?”

“An American, just like you.”

“Not a very good one.”

“Who made you the judge of that?”

“Okay, look. I was just trying to have a little fun. What’s wrong with that?” I hoped a change of subject would get us back on track. Usually these trips into town are a good time. We did spend a little more money at Costco than we budgeted, though, and the place we usually have lunch that’s a lot better than what we can find between the bluffs three hours out where we live was closed because of the COVID bullshit.

“Pollutes the air.”

“There’s plenty more where that comes from.”

“Until there isn’t. Then what?”

Dani isn’t usually like that, but she does get a little up on her high horse when her sister comes back to town. Sandy’d been at home for almost two weeks, because of Christmas. I’d kinda hoped that she’d stay in Eugene this year, because of the bullshit COVID scare and all.

“Aw, Dani. Look in your mirror. You can’t even see the smoke any more. Much.” I couldn’t help it, I grinned a little. Rolling coal on liberals does that for me. Danielle heard the smile in my voice. She knows me pretty well.

“The atmosphere where most things live is ony three miles thick,” Dani said.

“Oh, yeah, I forgot Sandy’s back in town,” I said, pretty clear about where I thought Dani had gotten her information.

“You don’t think I can have my own opinions?”

“I didn’t say that. Don’t be putting words in my mouth.”

“That was the thought in your head.”

I would have been better off just denying that, or keeping quiet, but Sandy coming home and disrupting things rankles me a bit.

“I just think Sandy doesn’t understand the world as it really is.”

“She’s seen more of it than you have.”

“Partly on my nickel, too.”

Doesn’t matter to me if Sandy was the best student in our high school when she graduated, or that she’s smarter than me, or that she got a full scholarship to college. It’s partly on my money after all, being a state school. But of course, I don’t get any say in how it’s spent, otherwise Sandy would have a very different view of the world, I’ll tell you that.

Dani just started looking out her window. It was going to be a long drive home. In the mirrors I checked the tarp that covered the groceries in back, the ShopVac and supplies I got at Home Depot for the shed that Glen is helping me build. It was all secure, I know how to tie a proper trucker’s knot.

It wasn’t just the Biden/Harris bumper sticker on the Prius, and I didn’t tell Dani the whole truth when I said I rolled the coal just for fun. I listen to the radio when I go out to feed in the morning. This morning some smart-ass from the city was saying that increasing the price of fuel was one way to slow down global warming.

He has no effing idea what that would do to me. It would mean a higher price to run my equipment, it would cost more to drive into town to spend my money that I’d have less of, cost more to drive into the hills for a beautiful sunset, or down to the Crooked River to fish.

This is my life! Doesn’t matter to him, he lives in some city and takes the bus. He doesn’t pay any part of the price. That’s the thing. He don’t pay the price.

Same with that guy driving the Prius, or that Musk who is building all those electric cars. I can’t do my work out of a Tesla. They say people will charge it at home, and that most people don’t drive more than 30 miles a day.

Maybe if you live in the city, but hell, I have to drive 30 miles just to buy the diesel fuel to put in my truck, and if I’m hauling feed or mending fence, I make that trip three times a week and it already costs me more than $100 every time.

That’s why me and a few of the guys went down to Love’s truck stop just outside of town last week, and parked our trucks in the recharging spots saved for those electrics. Then we piled into Fred’s truck and went to the 86 Corral, played some pool and had a few beers.

Man, those Tesla people were just all besides themselves when we got back, it was the funniest thing I’ve seen since high school when we boxed in Fred’s truck with ours so he couldn’t pick up Lynette for their date. Man, he was pissed for two weeks!

When the price of fuel came down, it was good for us, our families. And America went from being at the mercy of those sand dog Arabs to shipping oil everywhere after fracking unleashed the flow. Kept our prices low and made America great. What could be wrong with that?

Besides, global warming is just another hoax, like the damn COVID virus. Well, they’re real and all, but global warming isn’t caused by people. We’ve had warm spells before, then they’re followed by ice ages! And the COVID is just like a cold. My friend Glen, guy helping me with the shed, is a builder. He had three guys out last week and said they were feeling great after two days and would’ve been back at work but have to stay out 14 days because of the quarantine stupidity.

Glen said the price of lumber is up four times, he heard it’s because liberals want to pay guys at the mill not to work!

That’s a hell of a solution. Men who can work miss out, lose out on wages, those who don’t want to work don’t have to, and Glen has to run his own backhoe setting forms for a new foundation.

Besides, it would be a whole lot better if we all just caught the virus and got better, became immune, and it would have been a whole lot less expensive. I bet we’d have a real Christmas this year if we’d all had the virus by the 4th of July.

Don’t even get me started about my guns. They can’t have them, and they’ll make me into a criminal if they say I have to register them. I believe in the Constitution, and I have my rights.

See, that’s really the thing that started this talk with Dani. The Constitution. Those socialist slime balls stole the election. They’ve been planning it for a lot of years, and are using COVID and global warming to weaken America. It’s a plot, and the Russians and the Chines are involved. They took our jobs, and now they’re taking what’s left.

They’re taking away the America that we built and giving it to people in cities who don’t want to work, I won’t say who but you know who I mean, and to Mexicans who just come in to our country to get better health care than where they come from, and send all their babies to our tax-funded schools.

Why is it that what my grandfather and father and me built, our mothers too of course, is being given away to people who don’t deserve it? It’s more than not fair, it’s illegal.

That’s how they stole the election, too. What happened in the cities. The Latinos. Trump had more votes than Obama ever did, more than that bitch Hillary if you just count legal votes, and Trump lost? Explain that to me. They stole it, and have been working on this since Trump was elected in 2016! Socialists and the deep state have been hatching a plan to steal the election, and to cover it up so perfectly that even Trump judges would be forced to go along!

So that’s really why I put that Prius in a cloud of American-made diesel smoke. Because that S.O.B. liberal thinks he won, and it’s my job to show him that this isn’t over, not by a long shot!

At the end of our one-mile driveway, Danielle and I pulled up to the house. We’d gone to Costco last, so groceries were in the far back of the truck so we could unload those before the building supplies.

“Hey, I’m going to help you unload the truck and then head on over to Mom’s,” Danielle said.

“You going to spend the night over there?”

“Yeah, Sandy’s headed back to school pretty soon, and I’d like to spend some time before she leaves.”

“You coming back afterwards?” I hated that I couldn’t help myself from asking. I hated that it took Dani too long to answer, even though she said all the right things.

“Yep. Because you’re you, and for all that, I love you anyways and probably always will. I’ll be back tomorrow sometime after church.”

“It’s just not the same, Dani. It’s not the same as it used to be.”

“No, it’s not. But it never really was.”

She kissed me on the cheek, then slid out her side of the Dodge. We took the groceries into the kitchen together without saying much, and she put them away while I unloaded the rest of the supplies down where I was building the shed.

No longer a Democrat

I was an Independent once, and it’s that time once again — I’ve had it with the Democratic Party.

Democrats lost their base of working Americans not because of Russia or working class ignorance, but because the party is run by coastal elites who don’t understand working Americans nearly as well as a corrupt big-city President Plutocrat.

While arguing over budget deals with Republicans, the Democrat’s stated priority is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It may be laudable to protect 700,000 Hispanics from deportation to countries they’ve never known, but millions of working men and women see Democrats putting the needs of non-citizens over the needs of Americans without jobs.

Why aren’t Demorats making affordable health insurance the one priority they will force Republicans to accept in exchange for a budget compromise?

Advancing their self-assigned role as the party most pure, Dems shoved one of their more effective senators, Al Franken, out the door for boorish behavior. It may be laudable to take an impassioned stand against harassment, assault, and retribution, but American working men and women know the difference between tacky and rape, and they know how to deal with loutish and offensive behavior. They also understand the power of sexuality, and see the current flat spin of sensitivity as just another example of effete elitism.

Why aren’t Dems demanding work for those who can’t find jobs, as bridges crumble and roads lie in ruin?

Russians may have thrown the election, Jerusalem may be erupting, places they’ve never heard of may be descending into chaos, but a baker in Colorado can’t refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple? Many American working men and women could not care less if their sister’s son is straight or gay, but don’t want someone in Washington D.C. telling them they have to do something they feel is wrong. Land of the free!

Racists? Many working men and women voted for Obama and don’t like Trump, but they see Democrats in backrooms focused on demographic calculations that leave out most of the nation’s geography, they see Hillary still whining about being a victim, and they listen to Fox News at least validating their knowledge that something terribly unfair is happeneing and it’s wrong.

What about American working men and women growing old, cold and hungry and alone, while watching their children struggle with addiction to opioids pushed by corporations that will never face criminal prosecution? Banks that gamble with dwindling retirement accounts and slurp up tax dollars to fatten balance sheets while paying bonuses of millions? Oh, what it must be like to be too big to fail!

While Democrats eat their own or insult those they pretend to represent, Republicans inch their way closer to an oligarch’s dream of destroying opportunity for those who would oppose them, selling the primary source of information, Internet, to soulless corporate oligopolies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, and forcing state governments into bankruptcy so Koch Industries can buy highways on-the-cheap and charge the working class a toll to drive on pavement they used to own.

American working men and women know it’s class warfare, that they didn’t start it, they still have no champion and they never had a chance. Yes, I’m leaving the Democratic party, as so many others already have, but perhaps I’m not leaving, perhaps the party left me. By what they’ve done and not done, they’ve declared I’m not a Democrat. I now accept this. They shall not have one more of my dollars, not one more party-line vote.

Self-evident truths

Democrats need to quit pointing out hardships faced by so many ordinary people. They act as if hardship and despair is a byproduct of greed. It’s not. Hardship is itself a goal of the Republican Party, the means to an end.

Oh, I hear the snarls and howls of outrage coming from the right. “Class warfare!” they exhale with feigned shock and dismay. Yes. And they started the war. But for a very good reason.

The GOP believes if they make life frightening, lonely, famished and cold for those not in the top one percent, society will return to a holy, orderly and value-based future. Not values-based, but value. You are what you own.

Since the GOP is the party of the ruling class, it creates laws that protects their ownership.

“But not ALL the people who voted for the half-smart, very cunning, pathological liar and malignant narcissist who occupies the White House is a member of the one percent!” foolish liberals exclaim. True enough. Many of those who voted for President Trumpkin are good, decent, hard working or decent and unemployed Americans who are angry that undeserving people are getting more than their share.

By undeserving, they mean someone who is not them.

Conditioned with fear and outrage by Fox News, the propaganda arm of the Republican Party, those good people often still believe that a serial bankrupt who cheated in business, defrauded those who sought to better themselves, who abused women, who still hides his tax returns and flaunts his horrid ignorance, has their interests at heart. Seriously.

Democrats colluded in this, by the way. As towns and small cities across the country were being hollowed out by the offshoring of industry so Home Depot could sell cheap air conditioners to people losing their jobs, the Democrats were arguing among themselves about how many colors should be in the LGBTSQRXZEP flag.

Yeah, yeah, I know you Democrats think this is important, but that’s because you have a job and live on the Left Coast surrounded by people who agree with you. I think it’s important, too. But please… the house is burning down. Now is not the time to debate into which closet the photo albums should go. Because you’re so passionate about what doesn’t really matter in a time of crisis, you’ve lost so big it will take generations to clean this up.

Shut up. I don’t want to hear it. Go take an Econ 101 course and quit hating other people’s money. When Main Street was forced to bail out Wall Street a decade ago, you failed in your mission to support the working class and lost your moral authority.

The story of how Republicans seized control of the country using poor white people to vote against their interests is one for history books when they are written, if anyone has the education to write them, if anyone has the attention span to read them, if and only if control of the media by the ruling class is not yet absolute.

The Russians are thrilled.

It’s about to get much worse this year as the tax code is rewritten and deficit explodes, ownership of the Internet is handed over to AT&T and Verizon, and health insurance becomes such a heavy burden that everyone below the top 40 percent will have to choose between health care or college for their children.

What’s important to realize is that for the GOP, that’s a good thing! The evils of public education, hardship housing, choice of sexual identity, free flow of information, minimal standards of living, and social security, will be banished not by passing laws, but by freedom of choice!

Hardship will clean up society! Hardship will restore the work ethic, put people back in church pews, reduce crime, keep families together, promote proper values! Because people will be forced by hardship to choose the right thing!

When the economic crisis comes, because it must, from budget deficits so large that cuts will have to be made, taxes won’t go up on the wealthy. The ruling class will have shielded their income in loopholes or offshore accounts where it can’t be touched.

Corporations won’t have to pay because they’ll scream “Job killer! Job killer! Job Killer!” to the unemployed as they turn robots into truck drivers, servers, health care workers, taxi drivers, retail clerks, back hoe operators, doctors, lawyers, writers, musicians and maybe policepersons, too.

Through those corporations, the ruling class will own these robots, by the way. Public services will be privatized because The Free Market shall provide! and the rest of us will have to pay even as those services are cut because our nation can’t afford it! after tax cuts the ruling class will have given themselves in a free kleptocracy.

The Boston Tea Party may have been a protest of taxes to the king, but the tea was owned by the East India Company. We hold these truths to be self-evident…