Grasshopper Soup: Sometimes our perceptions can fool us
TAHOE/TRUCKEE andamp;#8212; Where did Lake Tahoe go? It wasnandamp;#8217;t where it usually is the other day. The reflection on the surface was so perfectly clear, still and calm the lake looked like it wasnandamp;#8217;t there at all. It was very disorienting for a moment; and no, I wasnandamp;#8217;t on drugs or hung over.Perfect clarity is a state of mind few mortals ever experience. But the Supreme Court was perfectly clear last week when they decided unanimously in favor of allowing churches to hire and fire whoever they want, embarrassing Obama, who holds the incorrect opinion.Sometimes our thinking becomes so blurred, politicized, andamp;#8220;worldly-wiseandamp;#8221; and critical that we can only see what lies on the surface. If politics, and pre-conceived notions, is our only context for life, not only does Lake Tahoe have no depth, it isnandamp;#8217;t there at all.Lake Tahoe is so clear and reflective we call it the Lake of the Sky, even though Mark Twain said Tahoe is the Indian word for grasshopper soup. Twain could have had privileged information from the Indians about the definition of Tahoe. My theory is that Indians were extremely reluctant to share the meaning of their words and the names they gave to themselves and to the natural world around them, unless, of course, spilling the beans could finagle for them some material advantage, like guns or liquor. Based on that theory, it is likely that Mark Twain experienced a great deal of difficulty extracting the truth from the Indians, until one afternoon he produced for them a few cases of liquor and expensive Italian wine, and the picnic turned in to an all-nighter, which is where the theory becomes clearly valid.Maybe Twain was so persistent with his interrogation of the Indians about the definition of Tahoe as they guzzled spirits, one of them finally blurted out andamp;#8220;grasshopper soup!andamp;#8221; just to shut him up.Not that Mark Twain ever rubbed anybody the wrong way. …Itandamp;#8217;s fun watching the Republican presidential nominee hopefuls run the rat race through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and wherever else politicians go. I keep waiting for one of them to slip up and say something really bad, like, andamp;#8220;America should be a government of some of the people, by some of the people, for some of the people, by my kind of people.andamp;#8221; Of course, the idea that only a certain kind of people should be governing is nothing new. Everybody believes it. It has an appealing partisan logic all politicians would agree with. They just avoid saying so publicly.Political campaigns, like life, are like playing the horse and camel races at Circus Circus, but not as much fun. You fling your balls up the ramp, aiming for the farthest hole with the highest number. If you handle and release your balls with the right touch, you might get lucky and win a Barbie Doll with perfect hair, like Newt Gingrichandamp;#8217;s wife.Politics is the art of convincing the public that when your opponent cheats, itandamp;#8217;s wrong, but when you cheat, itandamp;#8217;s OK. Whoever controls public perception, or distorts it more, wins!Ben Franklin said, andamp;#8220;Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.andamp;#8221; If that isnandamp;#8217;t a perfectly clear reason for basic constitutional law, and our right to keep and bear arms, nothing is.Itandamp;#8217;s not just volcanic fire engulfing fire, and earth crust colliding with earth crust beneath our feet that is dangerous. We are also caught in a pickle between sound political principles and political expediency, and between perception and reality. What did you think this was, a simple, clear-cut, the-end-justifies-the-means, materialistic, beer-drinking, commercial, consumer-driven, superficial Kardashian world we live in?Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived-at Lake Tahoe for 28 years.