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Like cargo pants on sheep

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Politics – October 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine


It must be terribly limiting to be a candidate for high office. You’ve got to stick to the same old litany of: I’m for change, the other guys are gonna ruin us, and on and on. You never get to talk about cargo pants, dormer windows, Cadillac tailfins, or all the other little things which add up to wasteful spending of the earth’s resources.

During World War II, my late dad got some sort of commendation from the navy for the simple suggestion that watch pockets were superfluous — since sailors wear their watches on their wrists, not in their slacks. Sixty-five years later, I still wonder how much of the world’s cropland and labor hours get used up in the manufacture of useless stuff like shirt collars and jacket lapels. How many people do you know who use all those cargo pockets, anyway? How many people even stop to look at all the extra cutting, folding and stitching that goes into them and other cool status symbols?

And how many acres of trees, and how many labor hours, does it take to make all the crazy switch-back angles and stylish doodads that are built into most of the new houses we see going up in the neighborhood? Ever think about all the pain which gets sprayed into words like “Sucker Supreme” on the flanks of those over-sized vacation trailers? Not to mention all the extra carbon going up into the stratosphere.

Is there a Presidential candidate who’ll tell us flat out that all this stuff is not our birthright? He or she would get booed off the platform faster than a Pakistani who told his followers they ought to give up their turbans. Or so they must fear, which, we suppose, is why they stick to the “safe” topics, like government spending.

So it’s really up to you and me to communicate our thoughts to the industries which, theoretically, serve us. We don’t have to be sheep, led down the chute to a fancier roof-line or a four-color paint-job. And if the candidates are afraid to approach us as intelligent, perceptive, discerning and caring, if they persist in playing to our fears, and goading the flock left and right, then they shouldn’t get our support.

Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove