SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 306: “Our Problems Are Not The Mayan Calendar”

“I don’t want to depress you…” Jerry responds to my inviting his comment to 365… “My words might not be that popular.”

“You can say whatever you like Jerry…” I assure “…what is important is that you express your opinion. That is what my 365 project is all about; letting people know how other people feel: Good, bad or indifferent.”

Jerry joins us, “We need to straighten this country up… we need to lock down our boarders… export everybody who is not here legally… it’s not looking good.”

Now… I am a British immigrant. Came here, with my family, way back in the sixties. I have many close and dear friends from Mexico, South America, Asia and many other parts of the world. Some arrived by the book, and others under the radar. But in all, hard-working people who are doing all that they can to establish a better life for themselves, and for their families. You can’t know anybody for that!

Yet, one thing runs common to all of these courageous people, who in face of great financial and cultural struggles, came to the United States with the intention of citizenship; and, all of who have paid their full load of taxes and fees in order to reside in America.

Jerry says, “It’s not looking good.” He elaborates. “It’s not that I am against anyone, or that I judge any culture. This county was built at a time when everybody here was a foreigner. It’s not that I don’t want people to come here… they just need to do it legally. Too many come into this country illegally and it gives them everything. While the citizens struggle for healthcare and to just make a living. It just does not make any sense.”

We shift to an economic discussion when I ask Jerry about his perspective on the import / export of good and services. Sort of dangling a carrot to get a better picture of Jerry’s openness to the world around us. His answer gives a deeper look into his understanding of fellow-man.

“The world needs a strong import / export trade… doesn’t matter where it’s coming from… or who is making it… as long as it is not being made by children. People need things.

Yea, we need more export… but that is a problem we have created, we don’t even ship our cars overseas. Other countries won’t accept them. Look what Kennedy did back in the seventies. They said if you are not going to build a better quality car, we are not going to buy it.”

Jerry is an advocate for the environment and has no love for the auto industry.

“We don’t have a future… It’s a bonus… bud. Look at the planet. We’re sucking billions of gallons of blood out of the planet and replacing it with water. What is the earth going to have to live on… and that is what the world lives on… oil. WE should not be living on oil… that is put there for the planet itself.”

Being the hopeless optimist that I am and have to ask, “Jerry, what should we do on an individual level?”

Jerry stays on course, “Get rid of cars… there is no reason for us to own one. They are creating air pollution and are tearing the earth apart. We don’t need automobiles.

“I’ve seen the Yucon… it’s unreal, there are just oils well everywhere!” Jerry pleas.

I do a Google search, “Negative environmental impact of oil wells in the Yukon.”

I won’t say that I have been turning blind eye to the problem. Always considered myself somewhat informed. But the shear count of references where astronomical; 569,000… the number of links that came up. Far too many for me to research, but in scanning them, it is evident that Jerry is right on the money in his expressed fears.

“People are spending millions of gallons a day just waiting at stop lights and other forms of idling… Millions at gallons wasted! (I looked up this one reference, and Jerry is very correct), That is why I don’t stop at red lights,” he soulfully jests.

“There are other alternatives other than cycling or walking. Instead of the government spending all those billions of dollars on the auto industry, we should build real public transportation. Not Amtrak, that’s just another eighty million dollars a year for the government to spend money on. It’s not thought out right.”

Jerry decline to allow his portrait to be taken, ‘There are too many people that have something against me,” he again smiles as he allows me to snap an iconic photo of his lower torso and bike.

“Any last thoughts Jerry?” I ask in giving Jerry opportunity for a personal sign off.

He thinks for a moment… “Yea… I’ve got one… Our problems are not the Mayan calendar… They are about our society.”