Years with 8s in them have proven pretty memorable for me. About all I know about 1968 was I was born that year, although I understand that there were some pretty big riots that year in the USA as well, I don't think the two were connected. 1978 is memorable because my dad built his machine shed that year, and New Years Eve of '78 is when the snow began that ushered in the most severe winter of my lifetime, the plowed snow along the roads was 8 feet high, we missed so much school we had to go on some Saturdays when spring finally came to make it up. Since I was only 10 and my brother 6, we thought the entire winter was pretty neat, no school for days on end and snow deep enough in our front yard to make an impressive complex of tunnels and fortresses, dad and granddad didn't enjoy that winter nearly as much as we did. 1980 was the most severe drouth we have had in my lifetime, 55 days in a row over 100F, and about 4 inches of rain from April to October. 1988 I bought my first land, and voted in my first Presidential election where the first Bush defeated Michael Dukakis. 1998 I suffered through 8 cent a pound butcher hogs, and the biggest rain of my life on Halloween night, 14 inches. 2008 will be memorable as well, first for the entire year being wet, the wettest I remember, with no real breaks. This started about a year ago, right after Thanksgiving and has gone on and on, we fought mud all winter feeding stock, we fought mud planting our spring crops, we fought mud cutting wheat, we fought rain haying, and now on average we have 2 days every 8 that we can combine or do any field work at all, rain this afternoon put us out and the TV screen is scrolling the severe weather warnings that have been with us all spring and summer, 200 miles away in western Kansas a solid line of severe storms marches our way, hopefully much of the punch will gone when they get here, probably about 3 or 4 am. We have barely dented harvest, and with just 60 acres of wheat planted the odds of us getting anymore in look slim. Halloween is my goal to be done harvesting, no way will this be possible this year, I will be very happy if we can combine 3 or 4 days between now and Halloween, that doesn't even look probable, from the forecast we are out until Sunday, of course the approaching storms could harvest much of what is left, that would be a very fitting end to this growing season.
Aside from the farming, but impacting it, will be this election, historic no matter how you cut it. More than likely we are about to have our very first non-white President, and perhaps our most liberal President ever. We have seemingly been in this cycle forever, what you can't see across the pond is not only do we listen to an endless stream of propaganda about McCain and Obama, we are also electing all Representatives both state and national, and in the case of my area one US Senator, one state Senator, a myriad of judges, county commissioners, county prosecutor, township officers, and our county Sheriff. The hottest race in our county aside from the President, is that of county Sheriff. The current Sheriff was installed in 2005 immediately after the election, due to the fact the old Sheriff was shot and killed at a meth lab. Several deputies applied for the job, as the old Sheriff was a Republican the county GOP committee appointed the new Sheriff who is ex highway patrol. Even though his parents live here, the feeling at the time was he was an outsider, and this has dogged him ever since. There have been some particularly nasty allegations during this election for Sheriff, and the division is as pronounced as that between the Obamaites and McCainians, just more up close, personal and nasty. I support the current Sheriff, although I feel not enough is being done to stamp out meth in the area, I think most of us felt after the murder of our former Sheriff law enforcement would declare all out war on drugs in the county, this simply has not happened, and coming up on 4 years after the event, things are no better and maybe worse, the only thing resolved is that the murderer now sits on death row.
My name is on the ballot for township treasurer, as in the previous 3 or 4 elections, I am unopposed. I was somewhat shocked in 2004 to receive a phone call election night from a friend asking if I had won....."no one ran against me, I am sure I did" I replied, I had not even thought to call and find out. I went on to tell the friend if indeed I had lost in a race where no one ran against me, I more than likely was not fit to serve anyway.
The 2008 election goes beyond normal though, there is a feeling I believe throughout this nation that we are seeing a fundamental shift in our fortunes as a people, if in fact we can still be referred to as "a people". Our nation is fractured, split, at odds with itself. The disgust with our government is real, and deep. There is depression, some fear, anger and in some cases downright hatred coming to the surface.
I caught the hour BBC America world news just now. Stories of course about our election, the Brazilian economy, and a windfarm near Skegness, Lincolnshire were the headlines. Matt Frei, who has a very irritating manner about him, gives an interesting spin on things in the USA from the perspective of a foreigner.
Yes, 2008 is going to be most memorable. Wild weather, wild swings in prices, political anxiety on every level, and what perhaps will be looked back upon as the beginning of a real Depression. We are pretty tough folks here in the states, we will survive this. We may have some pain along the way, especially these next few years, but all those around the world hoping we are about to implode are going to have a rude awakening. We may fight amongst ourselves, but at the heart of it all we are Americans, we love our country, and we will persevere.