Thursday, June 18, 2020

Racism in my lifetime

When I was born, 1948 was the distant past to me, even though it was just barely over a decade earlier. The problems in the South seemed solved to me and the world seemed to be getting better. 1968 was the "Summer of Love" after all. It took a long time for me to realize that me and others like me were ignoring all the hate going on.

That era must seem like an even more distant past to those starting to understand the news now, so I can see why they want to blame Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for the problems we face today. But looking back, what I see is; enough of the people who have the power and the money will find and support people in doing horrible things to good people so they can keep their power. That power might be young or old and comes in all colors. In America, it's mostly white now because that color divide has been the one that has worked to maintain the power structure.

Here is a brief highlight of the timeline of how we got here. I believe, if you spend about 10 hours or so looking up these names and events, you'll have a good understanding of what's happening in the streets.

1948, Strom Thurmond ran for President. He was openly racist. This was normal. He was a senator for 48 years.

1964, Civil Rights Act signed, so people had to shift from being openly racist to doing it without getting caught.
Reagan continued this with his “welfare queen” stories.
Democrats were losing power, so they compromised and “reformed” welfare and got tough on crime.
9/11 made it all a lot easier. Grants were made from Homeland Security and local police forces were militarized.
School shootings and general fear led to more police in schools. They didn’t have much to do, so they treated children like criminals.
What was once called “white flight” is now just normal. It’s hard to find a diverse zip code anywhere. Seeing a snuff film on the nightly news is just unusual enough so you can believe it won’t happen to your kid, but normal enough that we have become numb to it and make excuses for the murderers and for own lack of action.
We almost came together when Obama won his second term. Check out this Frontline:
Frontline: America’s Great Divide. It shows how the Tea Party and then Breitbart handed the Republican Party to Trump. The establishment Republicans were ready to compromise. They knew they were losing the millennial vote. Pick it up around the middle, after the Trayvon Martin killing, then Romney lost the election (1 hr, 4 min). Then Trump comes along, and Nunberg teaches him to repeat “build that wall”. There’s a transcript too, if you don’t have 4 hours.
Here's a quote:
And even people like Sean Hannity went on the air and said, “We need to rethink our position on immigration. I was wrong to take such a hard line on immigration.”
60 million people voted for the guy who said Mexico was full of bad hombres. Reasonable conversation about immigration reform became no only difficult but impossible. Policies of keeping people from certain countries out of America were floated and struck down by Justices. The problem of how to handle the children of people crossing our borders illegally was solved by just putting them in cages and building more cages and keeping them in those cages for longer than any had done President ever. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Superior Hiking Trail Magney/Snively

Previous section

Well, the “shelter in place” orders have given me plenty of time to do things like take an afternoon hike.  It was a beautiful June day in Duluth, with a good breeze to keep the bugs down, perfect for this section of the Superior Hiking Trail. We again did the two car system and although this is near a busy area with factories and trains, there are no roads crossing this 4 or 5 mile stretch. Well, there is one, but it is normally closed from November to May, and this year, it has stayed closed. I think they were planning to do some work on it, but that has been delayed.

So, getting there is the first challenge. You can see this wilderness area from the interstate or from the less travelled, but scenic, highway 23. If you look back to the last section, we ended at Becks Rd. Becks continues south from Midway Rd, which is an exit off the interstate. We’ll start there, but first, getting that car to the ending trailhead. It’s in the middle of Magney/Snively State Park. This park has hiking, XC skiing and one parking lot and not much else. To get to it, follow the signs to Spirit Mountain Ski Area and then keep going. You’ll pass some really nice houses, then the road gets kind of rough, then there is a really cool bridge, then you’re there.

Alright, back to Beck’s road. For a half mile or so, you get a paved path. This is to get you over the train tracks safely. Watch for signs and start heading uphill. Get used to the rock climbing. It smoothes out and there is a path to the left. If you want to see an old railroad tunnel, take it, then a right when it forks. It’s a 5 minute diversion that’s worth it. Back on the main trail, more rock climbing. There were signs this year, but don’t count on them. There are many spur trails if you want to go up Ely’s peak. If you don’t like one of them, turn around and there will be another. Otherwise, watch for the blue markers on trees and on the rocks to stay on the main trail.

When you pass all of those spur trails up the peak, the vista will open up. To the south, St. Louis River, factories, forest, bridges, Lake Superior off in the distance. To the north; a ridge that is about as high as Ely’s peak. There is a way to do this as a loop, so you’ll pass that on your left. After that, you’ll see a lot less people for a while.
Map on the trail

The forest gets fairly dense, but not brushy. It’s a good single lane trail. There are several scenic overlooks but the signs can be small. There are only a few times that the trail opens up for a view. This is pretty typical of the Superior Hiking Trail. The forest is maple, ash, aspen, occasional birch, a wide variety flowers and berries. The best is when you are on the elevated parts and you go out to a vista and realize you up where the birds are soaring.

When you’re in to Magney/Snively there will be even more crossing trails, some for cross country skiing, some for horses. We took a couple wrong turns. So even though you are close to civilization, keep your navigation skills sharp. You could easily end up down a ravine where no one goes. As you near the trailhead, it will begin to look like a Disney theme park. The trail is wide and clean, the signs are nice, the hills have steps built in and the bridges are decent. The forest canopy gets a lot higher and fewer trees are growing underneath. It’s kind of magical.

You can’t see the parking lot from the trail, but that sign is solid and should be maintained as long as we have some form of government that is still functioning.
Magney/Snively trailhead w/sign: "There is no such thing as the poop fairy. Pick up after your dog."