The Only Place to Get a Decent Meal

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

If we aren’t going to teach the children about our racial past, how can we ever explain the Old West and the settling of the Native American question? George Custer thought he could win the White House after showing those Indians…what for. Buffalo Bill Cody joined the Pony Express after his father was beaten to incapacitation by a pro-slavery mob in Kansas. As settlers (Racist Term, implying ownership was unsettled) gathered in St. Joseph, Missouri where they were inundated by merchants anxious to provision the pioneers. Chief among them were gun salesman. “You’re not going out on the prairie with that old squirrel rifle, are you? Friend your scalp and the scalps of your wives and children are headed for an Indian’s lodge pole.”

The pioneers unsure, unaware loaded up for bear or a Dirty Harry picture, but few saw any Natives. In the early days Native Americans would approach wagon trains to barter and trade. Before long just appearing in silhouette was enough to start an immigrant panic, and ignite a full barrage of lead.  The transcontinental railroad was built to unite a nation. It was built to allow the rapid deployment of troops lest California get any bright ideas about sovereignty. Lincoln was already fighting one Civil War, and he didn’t need another. Especially from a state rich in gold with a large coastline. The mint was built in Denver because the gold might be from California, but it wasn’t staying in California. Sure, we trust you! Send the money.

Mark Twain said, “He never saw a civilized Indian happy or an uncivilized Indian unhappy.” Twain was the first secretary to the first secretary for the territory of Nevada. His brother was the first secretary and Twain had just glommed on for the ride. The ride lasted until the Federal Government refused to pay for anything. They would request money for provisions, and the government would answer, “No.” Twain became disillusioned and left to try his hand as a newspaper writer. Because the news market was so small and news sources so scarce writers were forced to sometimes make up stories out of whole cloth and the rest is (Faux News) history. Twain wrote an amusing little story about a local bad guy, thug/politician. The gentleman found his story so amusing that he offered to ventilate Twain with bullets and give his shadow polka dots. Twain then left Nevada for the safer climate of San Francisco and worldwide acclaim.

I was driving through New Mexico when a billboard offered, “Native American Knives, Dreamcatchers and Souvenirs – Next Exit!” I looked out over the open plains and thought to myself their great grandfathers ruled over all this and now their descendants sell trinkets to tourists along the highway. We not only ignore our history, but we also make it up out of whole cloth. “Stagecoach, Winchester 73, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” What in the light of day was a greedy rapacious genocide is romanticized as those glorious golden days of yesteryear. I just wonder how that would work in other countries. A Nazi wagon train of settlers wiped out by one thousand marauding angry Jews on horseback.

The reason fairy tales all start with “Once upon a time,” is it puts Republicans at ease. They have no fear of someone exposing fact in the middle of their nice comfortable fantasy story. They love the George Washington who could not tell a lie, but never heard of the George Washington advocating genocide of Native Americans because they were in the way. They know all about the Thomas Jefferson and “All men are created equal.” But have no knowledge of the Tom who couldn’t keep his pants on (Like Matt Gaetz except with a clay pipe) who discovered too late in the bedroom at least; all men are not created equal.

But it goes part and parcel with being a Republican. The Party of “Dare” we must educate young people about the dangers of drugs! We mustn’t teach Sex education; it is only a training manual for deviant behavior. If you teach young people about contraception, they will use it! My personal favorite is abstinence education, the belief that you can talk young people out of four billion years of evolution. The explicit goal of a plant or animal life form is to reproduce. Yet in the comfort of their fantasy offer, “I’ll just tell them not to do it!” Oblivious that the central theme from Genisis was God telling Adam and Eve. “I’ll just tell them not to do it!” and we know how that worked out over an apple.

God makes such a convenient scapegoat. “The poor shall always be with you.” Perfect Jesus, can we get that in bold type?” No need to try, you heard it right here what Jesus said. “Johnny where did all those cookies go?” My invisible friend Billy said I could have them. He wrote it down in this book and while it doesn’t specifically mention you or cookies by name, experts believe that is what he was referencing. “Johnny what happened to all the Native Americans?” My invisible friend Billy said it was okay to kill them, cheat them and push them off their land. God approves! Manifest destiny baby!

To teach fantasy is voluntary and willful ignorance. The Ministry of truth and the official truth. An open invitation to repeat the crimes they say never happened in the first place. My ancestor owned a plantation in Virginia, with three hundred slaves. I didn’t do it, but I’m aware of it. He didn’t know any better, I do. It’s painful but it’s progress. The understanding that God didn’t do it, we did. God doesn’t make some people poor and some people rich, we do! The eternal struggle of those seeking truth versus those seeking comfortable excuses and justifications to escape from the truth. Guilty justifications for the things which we know are wrong but benefit from too much to stop. The world is not beyond our reach no matter what the book says.

“I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”
― Groucho Marx

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