First, for my own shameless commerce update: you can still purchase some nifty stickers, or Packrafting the Crown of the Continent, at the store. Sticker purchases have proven highly subject to direct exposure here; whenever I put up a notice like this one sales spike. Guidebook sales have been steady since the launch in early May, and the feedback has been gratifying. I’ve been collecting suggestions for additions and updates for the final version, which will launch this coming spring. Water levels in the Bob are hanging in there, but a warm end of spring zapped the snowpack, and now is the time to go. The South Fork of the Flathead should be low like usual by mid-August, and is in prime condition right now.
Any purchases will not ship until next week, as we will be at the Packraft Roundup!
Second, it is worth taking time on the cusp of America’s most significant holiday to ponder our countries place in the world, and what we are likely to see in the next few decades. It is likely, at least I hope, that our current President will be written into history as both the worst president since James Buchanan and a significant expeditor of the US revaluing it’s place in the world. Our superpower status lasted just long enough to have built itself firmly into the national consciousness, and we are naturally having a hard time letting that go and an even more difficult time figuring out what sort of country we want to be next. This will be eased, somewhat, as the generation birthed by the second world war passes along, and with it a good deal of the conceit and phallogocentrism it has in no small part sustained.
Though the election of President Trump in the first place is all the evidence one needs that the more anachronistic, problematic parts of our national personhood is well ingrained across demographics.
One piece of evidence that change for the better is not only possible, but inevitable, is the current debate over “replacing” the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). As with all pieces of progressive social legislation, from the New Deal through the Voting Rights Act to the ESEA, it was both vehemently protested and did not take long to become a part of the national consciousness. The Republican party is finding it difficult to formulate a coherent argument against it because health care as a right and social obligation is most of the way to being something a plurality of Americans assume without forethought. It will be tinkered with, and hopefully improved, in the next decade, but it is almost inconceivable that the base assumptions will ever be done away with.
This is how social change happens, and we can only hope that the puerile, hypermasculine, domineering attitude with which Trump has thus far governed will serve to highlight for many people just how untenable many of America’s underlying myths have always been. Hopefully we will continue to see better that bravado is however attractive a poor substitute for contemplation, that purely national self-interest is with every day ever more oxymoronic, that the welfare state must be considered as a multi-generational entity (a concept as dear to the estate tax as is to medicaid), and that the undeveloped land of the United States remains it’s greatest asset. As TR said in 1916;