TAHOE CITY, Calif. - I'm sure you've noticed how much politicians love to predict the future. Warning us of all the terrible things that will happen if the opposing party succeeds is right up their alley.
Politicians don't spend enough time in dark alleys. We might be better off if they did. They spend so much time arguing, giving speeches, losing sleep, saying things that aren't in the script, going to the gym, dances and cocktail parties and nodding their heads as they listen to emotional pleas from the common folk about the latest scandal or disaster they have no time for their private lives, which aren't much different.
They do not have the time to be alone and reflect on what life is really all about. Their lives are filled with noise and conflicting demands. That's why so many political solutions never work, because they are not based on a clear understanding of life. That's my theory anyway, and I'm sticking to it.
Dark alleys may not be the best place to reflect on the meaning of life or to reach nirvana, but they are better than nothing.
There may be some comfort in knowing that the people running our country can see unicorns and dragons in their crystal balls, predict the total disruption of at least some of our lives and keep their flock in line. But life is not determined or defined by random images in politician's brains or black magic happening in the vacuum of a crystal ball, at least not totally. What that means is, no matter what our leaders are reading- crystal balls, teleprompters, bibles or the six figures on their kickback checks, we are free. It also means anything can happen.
Governments sometimes like to think we all work for them, but we are still free. Just remember, it is against the law for employers to require access to your social media pages as a condition of employment, in California anyway. At least we got that law right.
We like to make predictions about what to expect from the weather in Tahoe for the rest of the winter too. Nothing would surprise me. My prediction is that we could still get several feet of snow before June 1st, all at once or otherwise.
So far, my crystal ball does not show when we are going to see the snow bury us to the point of total sequestration and prevent us from getting in and out of our homes, or when snow will cut us off from the outside world indefinitely, or when we will need to rely on helicopter drops for food and medicine, and the kindness and hard work of our neighbors to survive. For some of us, conditions could become far worse than that.
Yes, the white gold, just like the yellow gold, has a dark side. The gold in the hills and the snow on the ground, those life-affirming, and sometimes deadly commodities, can fall into the category of, "Be careful what you wish for, it could come true."
You probably heard that word "sequestration" on TV. No one seems to know where it came from, where it's going or what it means. Our crystal balls are telling different stories.
At first I thought sequestration had something to do with horses, or the Hindu Kama Sutra, or some ancient birth rite. Apparently it has nothing to do with common sense, but not everyone agrees on that either. Then the lights came back on. Sequestration is the act of confiscating or seizing someone's valuables, property or assets until they pay their debt, obey a court order, or, until a dispute is settled. By that definition, humans have been in sequestration since before America was conceived, so a little more won't matter.
Sequestration also means to be in isolation, which can be a good thing. Some cultures value isolation as a spiritual necessity. Some politicians should practice isolation full time.
The clarity of Lake Tahoe is improving. Hopefully the clarity of politicians is too, but the margin of error for predicting the future is extremely high, even if you're the smartest guy in the country.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.