The Long-Distance Runner


From DAVE SMITH

If you still hold the values of peace, freedom and justice, as we children of the sixties and seventies learned and demonstrated for, then you appreciate the values of the loyal and the true.

Back then, along with many others, I responded to John F. Kennedy’s call to service. We believed we could and would change the world, and we did. Along with our protests and marches for civil rights, farmworker’s contracts, and the environment, we organized free universities, cooperative food stores, and small alternative community businesses. Our memories of that time are overwhelmingly positive. Dan Hamburg was there and involved.

We had passionate faith in the future and look back now with pride at our accomplishments. We stopped a war. We put civil rights into law. We shut down the building of new nuclear plants. We passed the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act — every one of them now being chipped away by the culture that was then being countered. We created movements built around human potential, women’s rights, alternative health, and natural foods. Dan was there.

Many of the positive results have by now been diffused into the overall culture as part of our every day lives. One of the many examples is the market for organic foods. The demand for healthy foods germinated in the fifties through vitamin-centered health food stores and a few scattered organic farms and took root in the sixties through hippie cooperative buying clubs and the popularity of Asian diets. The organic food market has now been growing over 20 percent per year and has gone mainstream. Dan was there.

For me, the sixties and seventies were not about selfishness and doing our own thing, an interpretation that has been perversely sensationalized by the media. Those years, despite war and high unemployment, were delightfully exuberant with passion, idealism, possibility, higher vision, and work from the heart. They were a way out of the suffocating soullessness imposed by a scientific materialist worldview, the conformity that corporate mega-machine behaviorism requires, and the individualistic selfishness hyped by its marketing. Alienated by the rugged cowboy models of isolated, independent manhood, many of us practiced tribal values of mutual aid and support, the common good in community, and the use of our gifts and creativity for others. We relearned how to take responsibility for each other, have faith in each other, share with each other, cooperate with each other — values that have kept cultures together since humankind began. We were lighthearted and joyous in our abilities to live simply and walk lightly on the Earth. We worked hard at what we believed in and had an enormous amount of fun doing it. Our daily life glowed with purpose and meaning, and we believed deeply what one of the Beat writers, Jack Kerouac, had written: that without feeling and emotion, nothing can really be known. He was echoing Thoreau, who said that a person has not really seen a thing who has not felt it. And Dan was there.

A quick check of his bio will show a man who has continued to live a life full of meaningful involvement.

I know that what we face as a county, as a state, and as a nation, is very serious business. And there are those who would want us to believe that the money problems are so technical and complex that we need to count on the technical expertise and the “political will” of politicians to help us through. I disagree. The technical experts and the willful politicians have led us down the garden path to absolute disaster.

What we need now is community. It will not be the experts or the politicians who will lead us or save us. It is up to us as a community to make the transition to a very different world. What we do need are sure-handed, experienced politicos who care, who listen, who help… who stand shoulder to shoulder with our community, not above us, or behind us… who know the political ropes well enough to step in when needed to smooth the rough edges, to verbalize the communities’ democratic longings, to recognize the pitfalls of community interaction, and to help guide the way to successful outcomes.

And above all, we need creative action and innovative solutions. We need someone we can count on. Someone who has been there from the beginning and not wavered in their humanity and values.

That is why I endorse Dan Hamburg for Supervisor.
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2 Comments

What a great tribute and recommendation, Dave. I’ve known Dan for years now, and he hasn’t abandoned the democratic principles that so mamy other candidates and elected officials leave behind in their efforts to get and stay elected.

Indeed. The real values and energy of the old counter-culture have been so perversely revised and intentionally distorted over the years that no one who did not actually live through those times could possibly get a clear view from where we are now. After the last three decades of true hedonism and selfishness, all the things we were worried about way back when are coming true in spades.

I’m casting my vote for Dan, too. He’s been on the right track all along.

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