(The eventual outcome may not favor us.)
I'm taking this opportunity between my current post series to talk about the anti-dredging crisis in California because things are rapidly reaching critical mass there. Small-scale miners and dredgers in Oregon and other states are also on the hot seat but the once-Golden State is where the main battle is being fought.
Despite the good fight put up (and still being fought) by Dave Mack and the New 49'ers, the Western Mining Alliance (WMA), and Public Lands for the People (PLP) as well as individual miners, things are looking pretty bleak in the greatest sense. At least this is my assessment of the current situation. I hate to say this because I tend to operate from a positive, "can do" framework most of the time, but in this instance I think the forces aligned against us (small-scale miners and dredgers, that is) may pack too big a wallop in the end. You see, the greenies have most of the weasel politicians in hand and you know how that goes...money talks and bull shit walks. Additionally, California has a sizable population of green cult nature boys and girls who are bound and determined that not a single hair of a solitary field mouse gets ruffled by those dirty, filthy, land-raping miners, let alone the horrors visited upon trout and salmon by suction dredges. Despite their benevolent postures as lovers of the earth and its "all one" citizens, these little hypocrites are mini-fascists who think their way is the ONLY way and they're intent on making you and I march to their tin drums. And sooner or later you'll be forced to if they have things their way.
Nuts on a Mission
It seems our main enemy in California is a group of smug, self-serving do gooders called the Sierra Fund. They are headquartered in Nevada City, a town established by gold miners and long known for the gold finds in its immediate environs. I also consider Nevada City as the gateway to the northern Motherlode Region, one of my all-time favorite mining locales, an area where I worked its rivers and creeks to good effect in my heyday as a small-scale miner and errant dredger back in the 1980s. That beautiful land with it streams rich in gold still brings a smile to my face when I think back on those days. But I digress. It's my contention that the Sierra Fund (and their fellow travelers) believes that those very same golden rivers and streams and the steep ridges and forested mountains around them belong to only to the Fund and their like-minded associates, no matter how dazed, confused, and cannabis driven those associates may be. Oh, they won't state this publicly of course. They want to be the valiant warriors of this new "green" age and, subsequently, the harbingers of a new Eden here on earth. These nuts are on a mission and God help all of us if we get in their way.
(Know your enemy.)
From a practical standpoint, the Sierra Fund has worked long and hard to cultivate influence among the lackluster and corrupt liberal politicos who seem to proliferate in California like so many mosquito larvae in stagnant water. It pains me to say things like this because the once-Golden State is where I was born and raised, albeit under the structure of a different generation and a vastly superior set of values (especially compared to what I see around me these days). But I have to give the Sierra Fund credit, all the same. They've been cold, calculating, and absolutely ruthless in pursuing their agenda favoring the interests of the few over the many. I guess they took a page from the current administration in Washington, D.C. Who knows?
(Ahhh...the connection between mosquito larvae and corrupt politicos.)
These are the Depths...
Turnabout is a strange thing. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s the politicians of the day went to great lengths to cultivate "relationships" (i.e., kiss their asses) with mining magnates who had plenty of cash to fill those deep political pockets. Mining was in its glory days back then and to hell with environmental impact statements or any other such hogwash. Was there corruption and influence peddling back in those days? You bet there was. Is there corruption and influence peddling involved with greenie cults like the Sierra Fund? Undoubtedly...just follow the money as they say. Now don't get me wrong here...I despise corruption and corrupt politicians, and often the governments they serve are little better since they're headed up by...yep, you guessed it...corrupt and power hungry politicians. So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if I have to be in bed with corrupt politicos, I'd rather they be for small-scale miners than against them. These are the depths we've all been brought to, whether we like to admit it or not.
("Boss" Tweed symbolized political corruption and pay offs back in the late 1800s.)
As always, I wish each and every one of those miners and the groups they belong to the best of luck in fighting the good fight. They have consistently stood tall for the rest of us and they have good hearts and minds, and very stout backs. Again, I urge you to support them in their struggle against the Sierra Fund in California as well as in other parts of the West. It's the least any of us can do.
But I fear in the end we'll be shoved aside in favor of those who seek to dictate to us how we'll live every aspect of our lives in the future. And what way is that, you ask? Their way, of course.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2015
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