November 9, 2001
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
12:30pm. Adam, my oldest brother, is here with John Reynolds, Member of Parliament and the Official Opposition House Leader. Adam thinks John might be the next Prime Minster of Canada.
Passionate and dedicated, Adam and Dad enjoy the intellectual challenge of the political game-- all the strategy and positioning-- like playing chess, except the result of being the best is that you actually get to be king of your country. A political party is like any club in which one's status is raised with participation and competence earning the respect of peers. In conversation with me last fall, while competing for a seat in Parliament, Adam quoted Preston Manning, stating, "Those who do not involve themselves in politics are destined to be governed by those who do." In Canada, every citizen has the right to be involved in the democratic process.
Watching Question Period on TV with John(who's job it is to orchestrate the show with the other House Leaders), it was interesting to hear his comments about different speakers, telling who's bright, and what minister got a cabinet post due to seniority, although dim-witted.
I took the opportunity to ask John a few questions, inquiring about a better way to run the government. It seems like Members of Parliament just argue in shouting matches, only criticizing, when they could be sharing ideas. John said that Members do often work together, and that the criticism is good-- holding the government accountable; it is up to the viewing public to decide who is more right-- who they will vote for in the next election.
1:52pm. This is an email I just received and my response:
Did you ever make it to the Coast of Guayabitos? I was born and raised in a small town South of Compostela, Nayarit named Mazatan (no, not Mazatlan!). Im 28 years old now, fully Americanized and remember a bit of my past growing up in Mazatan and Guayabitos (my father still lives there). I did a Google search and came across your journal. It saddens me that not much has changed in the political arena. For many years now I have tried to convince myself to go back and make a difference. But that large wheel of ignorance that dominates the majority of campesinos and mainly the ignorance of Political thieves is just too large to beat. Even the groups that claim to be looking out for the interest of the common people are just words thrown in the air. I dont believe in violance, but if there ever was a revolution, and i mean a smart one (not like the Zapatistas), i would definately join and lead. Enough is enough.
Anyhow, its about 3:00 a.m. when i first took a visit to solomax.com and am now trying to book a flight to see my aging father in Nayarit...Thanks.
Hola Amigo! Great to hear from you!
I paddled as far as the Nayarit border, not farther. I plan to return this winter and continue paddling down Mexico's Pacific coast.
As for the revolution, I believe it begins with education. Be a teacher. Do things to help the village, so everyone will grow smarter and can help themselves.
My mission is to bring internet access to the people of Palmillas, on the southern border of Sinaloa, and make the Mountain of Death, which is in their back yard, into a park--- creating many opportunities for recreation and employment through tourism. I just need to inspire others to believe in my vision and support it.
Look around the village where your father lives. In many villages I visited, the soil is being contaminated by trash... cuz they don't have any proper collection method. What could make it better... a recycling program... that collects used plastic containers... and redistributes them for other uses... instead of being buried in the ground?
Please keep me up to date on what you're doing. I think it is great that you want to do something. Doing anything helpful is better that saying "the problem's are just too many or too large" and doing nothing-- which is often what happens.
And please add your email address to my mailing list, so I can keep you up to date on my progress, and maybe we can help each other.
10:58pm. A couple weeks ago, Branden, a friend living in the US Northwest, sent out a request to his friends via email asking for letters of character reference. I didn't know why, so I asked, and this was his reply:
Sorry I guess I didn't tell you about what happened. I did not want to put
my story in writing until after my trial was over.
I was convicted of assaulting a police officer. I was riding my bike home
from the Eastside Bar on the night of July 16 with my friend Roberto Saenz.
As we were riding down Driftwood Rd. we were stopped by the campus police.
Roberto was riding up ahead of me so he stopped after I did. One of the
officers walked up to me while the other got in his cruiser to go up to
where Roberto was riding. While I was talking to the officer that
approached me the other officer pulled Roberto over. A second cruiser
arrived. When the officer who approached me and I arrived at the scene
where Roberto was stopped their were two officers there already. They
seemed to be bullying Roberto, asking him questions and not allowing him to
answer. He was asking why he was stopped and they told him to shut up. I
spoke up at this time and they told me to shut up as well. They took our
IDs and went back to the cruiser.
When they came back one of the officers
announced that he was arresting Roberto. I was shocked and disgusted at
this. I felt he was being treated very unfairly and suspected his race may
have been a factor. I threw my bike down in disgust. As I lifted up my
bike one of the officers stepped forward and grabbed the bike as I threw it
and tossed it off towards the center line. Both of the officers standing
next to me charged towards me. I stepped back in shock. I put up my hands
to protect my head, as I expected a blow to my head. They grabbed on to my
arms but I tried to pull them free because I was scared and didn't want to
leave my head vulnerable. They threw me down to the ground. I was lying
face down on the ground while the officer's violently pulled my arms behind
my back. It hurt badly. I tried to adjust my position. I realized that I
could not move so I took a deep breath and relaxed my body. At this time
one of the officers sprayed me with his pepper spray. I began to struggle
again, but at this time I was already handcuffed. They set me up on the
curb and called the EMTs. After the EMTs released me from custody the
police took me to Thurston County Jail where I spent the night. I was
released the following evening. I hope that gives you an idea of what the
situation was and what was going through my mind at the time.
I got this email just now:
Thanks to everyone who sent letters. I think that the judge took all the letters into consideration. He even read one of them aloud in court. He said one of the things he took into consideration was that he did not believe that I would ever break the law again. The letters surely had something to do with this. The judge was as lenient as he could be within the guidelines that he was given. I have to do 232 hours of community service, pay about 600 dollars in court fees and victim's compensation, and will have one year of community custody. After five years (if I don't commit any more crimes) I can have this expunged from my record. So its not the best solution but it could be a lot worse. So thanks again for your thoughts, prayers, advice, letters, and general goodwill.