Grasshopper Soup: Want clean air? Fuel a new mechanism | SierraSun.com

Grasshopper Soup: Want clean air? Fuel a new mechanism

Bob Sweigert

A spokeswoman for the Chinese “authorities” said, about the possibilities of air quality disrupting the Olympics, that there are “…mechanisms in place to move it.”

I’m sure she meant move the smog, not the Olympics. Either way, what a brilliant choice of words. With all due respect, she sounded a lot like our government sometimes, and others, talking to the ignorant masses.

Awash in disbelief, I proceeded to laugh out loud (yes kids, that’s how you spell laugh). LOL. I found it so hilarious I heard myself respond, “Yeah, what mechanisms?”

I couldn’t stop laughing. They’ve already tried everything humanly possible to de-stink Beijing, except having all the Chinese people stand strategically around the city and blow as hard as they can and fly a million helicopters around in formation to work the smog out. Maybe what they have in mind is true religious freedom and then expect an act of God, or Buddha, or Al Gore.

Maybe they are hoping for a good wind, or counting on a magical, instantaneous switch from the industrial age to a perfectly “green” utopia. If the latter is true, they aren’t the only ones with such false hopes.

Mechanisms. What? Rubric’s Cube? A rickshaw? I’m all for clearing the smog, so much so I’d be willing to try almost anything, even a broom. Heck, I’d go out and fly a kite if I thought it would clean up the environment. But what made the environmental mess in the first place? You guessed it. Mechanisms.

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I wonder if Chinese schoolchildren are being told by teachers to turn in their parents for smoking, not recycling and other politically incorrect infractions, like children are being instructed by “authorities” to do here.

Environmentalists around here are even going so far to be threatening you to fork over your cash if you don’t change your behavior and conform to their idea of the perfect human, even though they themselves are far from perfect. Isn’t that why some liberals hate conservatives? Or is it the other way around? Which one is the communist country? I’m beginning to have trouble telling them apart.

It’s getting hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. That’s why I have never understood how so many people (possibly half the country) could make up their minds so early who they want their leader to be – Obama, McCain, Miley Cyrus, whoever. It seems sensible to me to take a good long time thinking about it; give each candidate 100 percent of the benefit of the doubt and let them proceed to lower or increase their percentages with at least a year’s supply of their own make ’em or break ’em words and actions.

In Kevin Costner’s award winning movie, “Dances with Wolves,” the Sioux “authorities” are all talking inside a teepee. One of them says to the others, “No man can tell another man what to do.”

But there are times when a man must tell another man what not to do. Otherwise we would have anarchy. I say don’t fight smog with words.

Hopefully, no one running in the Beijing Olympic Marathon will have to say, “Yuck. I’m only a half a mile into the run, and it’s so smoggy I can’t even see the spectators on the side of the road. Stop doing this!”

The smart ones will quit running and head for the baths, and the dumb ones will pick up the pace and run their hearts out for Olympic Glory.

Whatever Beijing’s air quality index reads this weekend, there will remain the worldwide obfuscation of what we can and cannot do in all areas of life. There are mechanisms in place to remove that kind of smog. But it takes smarts, discipline and time to find and make use of them. But no mechanism can give wisdom to the ignorant and make it retroactive to pre-industrialized, smog-free times.

Yes, we have problems more serious than an environment in jeopardy.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years