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Much ado about something
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Was it just me, or could this past week not end soon enough? Politics, Shootings, Racism, Anti-Pokemon sentiment – the United States acting in a very estranged manner. Let’s all take a deep breath, and have a short Manteca to a T type powwow about these issues (I can hear the collective sigh of every family member and friend right now — “Oh no Chris.”)
 Politics...Contrary to popular belief, our country is not coming to an end this November. No matter who is elected!
 “But one is a liar and a thief...the other a narcissistic blow hard!”
 AND? Our country has been founded by these very such archetypes. So step away from the ledge folks. The longer you stare over the cliff, the more precarious your position will seem.
Some people are even threatening to head to Canada if their candidate is not elected. Because I’m sure our brothers to the north are thrilled about a bunch of “immigrants” taking their jobs. I’m positive I’ve read somewhere that is a bone of contention within one of these candidate’s camps.

“Don’t let the border hit you in the a**!” — Lloyd Barbasol

 Beyond the fact that is as un-American as it gets to jump ship when the waves come crashing, where is the fun in leaving when they get elected?! That’s like leaving the circus before the clowns arrive. Or the bachelor party before the stripper shows up. Don’t you want to see what she looks like in those big shoes and red nose? Or how he looks with his top off? I recommend a tub of popcorn and a handful of dollar bills at least until March of 2017. Who knows, maybe it’s something you’ll be able to get into.
And let’s talk about these “immigrants” he wants to ship and keep out, specifically our brothers to the south – Mexico.

“They’re taking our jobs!” — John P. Chevy Truck

 I can only speak within the Ag community that I live in. Having been raised on a large dairy farm, I cannot recall a single instance in which a van full of dudes named Bryce and Tyler, pulled on to the dairy “looking for trabajo”. I’d venture a guess they are too busy playing Pokemon Go. Or railing against Donald Trump – the very man attempting to oust the immigrants that have “taken” the jobs that they don’t want. A Catch-22 for the current twenty-something generation.
We should be very clear. The Mexican immigrant has long been the backbone of California’s Ag Economy. They are willing and capable of doing jobs – skilled jobs – that Bryce and Tyler neither want, nor are qualified for. Farming isn’t just picking a bean off a plant when told. There are subtleties that a kid raised on an Xbox cannot be taught. Farming is learned over years. Remove the immigrants coming from Mexico, and expect one major change.
The $34.99 you now pay for a garden salad at your local Applebee’s.
 (I can already hear the emails and moans from the skilled labor community, i.e. construction, carpentry, plumbing etc. As I said above, I can only speak on how immigration relates to the Ag community. And in no way intended to step on the toes of those within different labor fields)

Racism...Let’s be clear: There will always be racism. We choose to toss around and believe the notion that racism is something that is taught – which in the majority of cases it seems to be. But some things can be learned without being taught so to speak. There is something innate in humans, a defense mechanism that not only allows, but inherently forces us to see differences in one another. And while recognizing someone is a different race doesn’t in and unto itself make a racist – it is when we allow that recognition to abhorrently dictate our thoughts and treatment of others, that Racism begins.

 “Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudice – just recognize them.” — Edward R. Murrow

 This is one of my all time favorite quotes. What Mr. Murrow is trying to explain, is that some people’s life circumstance have predisposed them to have racist or prejudicial sentiment towards others. If you were a young white person raised around a group of black people that treated you poorly, it seems likely that you would develop an internal prejudice towards them. And of course vice versa within the black community.
I don’t like 49er fans because when I was young, they taunted me, and acted in an arrogant “I’m better than you” manner. But if I see them waving a banner that says “49er Fans Matter”, I don’t feel they are somehow attempting to undermine my “Raider Fans Matter” flag. Nor do I think someone wanting to wave an “All NFL Fans Matter” sign has somehow missed the message of the 49er and Raider faithful. It all falls under the same league. The human league in this analogy.
I realize that most of what I’ve written is common knowledge. I also realize that this is fairly heavy subject matter, for a column that has the tact and civility of a Benny Hill Show episode. But sometimes it’s smart to just lay the cards on the table and have a short honest talk about what is happening around us. The expectation that we can eradicate racism is about as realistic as hoping Friends and MASH reruns will be taken out of rotation. If you’re a racist, I can only assume there is some piece of you broken inside. But I’m not going to stand on a mountain top and point fingers in hopes that will change you – all while I myself hold my own prejudices towards others.
This column is sure to embitter those friends of mine that are racist. And it will more than likely anger my friends of color, that feel I’ve just made excuses for racism – and that they are owed more than other people. Fortunately for myself those seem to be the groups that I have my own prejudices with – so I’ll be just fine.

  “We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools.” —  Dr. Martin Luther King

Anti-Pokemon sentiment...For those of you living under a rock, or over the age of 45, the game known as Pokemon Go is sweeping the nation. First a quick explanation.
Pokemon was a trading card game played by kids in the late 90s it was a series of over 150 different characters, with insect, animal, humanoid etc. characteristics – varying in rarity. What Pokemon Go has done is create a virtual treasure hunt for these characters. Using the GPS already built into your phone, Pokemon Go will alert you as to when a character is within your vicinity. And I mean a “virtual” character. As I had to explain to my Aunt Marlene last night when she asked “So the Pokemon people will hide a little Pokemon doll in a bush for you to find?” NO.
When one is close enough, i.e. you have hunted it down – your phone camera will activate showing you the character. And they can appear anywhere. Movie theater, sidewalk, orchard, Denny’s bathroom. Because they are just being placed “virtually” by a GPS system that randomly disperses them. When located on your phone, you have the opportunity to capture them. Mind you, if the Pokemon is located on the checkout counter at the grocery store, you may have some explaining to do when you are pointing your camera at the clerk and exclaiming “I got you Pikachu!”
Is it stupid? Yes. But guess what kids of the 60s, 70s, and 80s? So were Pet Rocks, Stretch Armstrong , and Wacky Wall Walkers.
Pokemon Go does invariably have one benefit. You have to get off your butt to play it! It encourages kids and adults to walk around the neighborhood in search of them, forcing people to meet, greet, and learn their surroundings. There are places called “PokeStops.” Cultural spots, such as statues, public buildings, or other types of locations, that designate where characters have been located. I was watching a friend play while we sat in a meeting last night. The landmarks in our area included the VFW Hall, the old El Rey Theater, and several of our downtown murals – and all with detailed descriptions of the history of these places.
So the next time you feel compelled to announce in a room full of Pokesters that “This game is stupid!” be reminded that encouraging people to meet one another, exercise, and learn the history of their surroundings is not stupid. Pokemon may just be what gets this country back on track. One Pikachu at a time.

“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”