The expression “all politics are local” captures both the source and depth of our national ignorance. For example:
The Willamette valley, which is where I live, is one of the most fertile places on earth. 100 years ago, it supplied over 99% of the food consumed by the population living within it.
Today, that figure is less than one tenth of one percent. The thousands of acres that once produced bumper crops of vegetables, fruits and nuts…and provided seemingly endless pasturage for dairy, fiber (wool) and meat production…are almost exclusively used now for production of grass seed. Edible, I suppose, but not terribly nutritious.In other words, with very rare exceptions, everything now found in the grocery stores comes from far away. If there were a hiccup in the supply chain, the store shelves would be empty in a matter of days…or hours if the disruption was presented as “ominous” on the nightly news.
100 years ago, the people in this valley would hardly notice the consequences. Not just because so much food was produced locally, but also because most of them still had their feet on the ground, or very close to it. For example, when I was a kid, many of the people in this area built their own homes, had gardens (not spas) in their back yards, and canned much of what they planned to eat in the winter months. Only a very small percentage were starting down the road to La-La Land…and thus beginning to rely entirely on others for their necessities.
Today…well, let’s just say that almost no one is prepared either physically, psychologically or socially for any kind of deprivation, much less one that involves vital goods or services. And almost no one has direct control over their basic food supply.
In the broader context, this country–not to mention most others in the west–has effectively constructed a house of cards on an increasingly shaky (vulnerable) foundation. And it has also successfully produced at least one generation that is virtually unprepared to function in a seriously deprived environment. Take one card away (take your pick) on or near the bottom of the supply chain, even briefly, and…well, lets just say it won’t be pretty.
So…is there any local political awareness or interest in any of this? Sure…about as much as you’ll find in L.A. or New York City. And who’s to blame for that? Politicians? No, its simpler than that. Just look in a mirror and you’ll see the person who is ultimately responsible for your survival, when (not if) things go south.
You can’t get any more local or “grass roots” than that.