Aug 15, 2013

White man speak with forked tongue; Red man, too

If you're visiting Mt. Rushmore from the east or south, and if you enjoy pale blue highways, you could easily wind up in Whiteclay, Nebraska where the population is in danger of seriously declining.

Whiteclay and its 14 citizens exist to sell booze to the Indians, specifically to the Pine Ridge Lakota-Oglala people. Federal law makes the huge South Dakota scrub land dry. Thirsty descendants of the Crazy Horse days must cross the southern border of the reservation (and the South Dakota-Nebraska boundary) for legal fire water.

And do they ever. Is there any other world population center of 14 which sells 13,000 cans of beer a day?   However, if Whiteclay were a corporation, speculators would be selling it short. The Oglala people have just voted the reservation wet, which Washington "gives" them the right to do.

(It's as though the northern forest Indians in 1800 or so had finally decided to distill their own whiskey, sending the beaver-hungry Hudson Bay Company  English and John Jacob Astor scurrying for new trade goods. Astor, in fact, did quite well smuggling opium.)

The contentious election offered not one original idea. The arguments would have been instantly familiar to the white eyes of a century ago: Who should run the country, Carry Nation or the East Boston Kennedys? The undertones were also hoary. "Indians can't handle booze" is no more than an iteration of the19th Century  "Back people can't...".

Even the politics of the Pine Ridge vote owe a nod to the Chicago Machine. Disputed ballots outnumbered the counted vote margin, and when tribal officials reviewed them, they adjudged a sufficient number valid to, ta-da, ...

...Take the booze profits away from those 14 interlopers down in Whiteclay and transfer them to, (again a fanfare) ...

Tribal officials.

That body of politicans promises to use profits from its new and exclusive booze franchise to improve education and perform other notable miracles to make reservation life wonderful at last.

Of course the  Pine Ridge Paradise will be delayed for a few months or so.  After all, it takes a while to appoint new firewater bureaucrats and form up the several fresh official committees to maladminster the transition from lamentable drunkenness in Whiteclay to socially useful intoxication in Pine Ridge.


I accept that this will be construed by a semi-literate few as racist. No personal problem here because I've said for years that when my fantasies aren't urging me to be Henry Morgan, they compel me to be Crazy Horse, himself.

The point addresses political power as a club to enforce someone else's personal morals. It suggests that if scientists placed a random sample of red politicians and white politicians under the most powerful electron microscope, they would be hard-pressed to find one iota of difference, either in hypocritical motivation or in methods.

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