By Ed Konderla
I am always surprised how many people are amazed that I’m unabashedly pro-President Trump.
When he won the election my feet didn’t touch the ground for three days. I was elated by the shock and pain I saw in the eyes of liberal progressives, especially Hillary Clinton. I still look back at that morning when I had discovered Trump had won and a big sh*t-eating grin spreads across my face. I’m experiencing one right this very moment.
Now you can still see the delirium he causes in liberal progressives and RINO’s. I doubt he’ll win the next election but God the last four years have been a blast. I am so glad I lived to see it. I plan to vote for him three or four times in November using the new mail in ballot system backed by liberals.
When I look back at my life and compare it to most others, I feel extremely lucky. It appears most people led an adult life that was 40 to 50 years of only a slight variation on the same routine. Their careers kept them locked on a path that never allowed for much deviation. One of the things that happens when you jump around a lot is that you gain a different perspective and occasionally learn something profound. The new path is never exactly what you thought it would be.
Warning: The following is filled with lots of self-aggrandizement, pontification, exaggeration and out-and-out lying and delusion. Continue at your own risk.
I learned from being in tech school and having total freedom for the first time in my life that sometimes control is a good thing and that uncontrolled substance abuse is not a good thing.
I decided to join the Air Force after one particularly no-holds-barred week of debauchery and excess. Sometimes you jump from the frying pan into the fire.
That lesson came after being in tech school for a year-and-a-half, walking the straight and narrow, and finally getting to sit in the cockpit of a real armed F-4E. Sitting there, working on the very computers and systems that aimed and fired the weapons. I was the proud owner of a Top Secret Security Clearance and taking in all of the sensations of sitting on an ejection seat, looking at the seemingly endless array of gauges.
Having my hands on the throttles and the joystick, playing fighter pilot, suddenly a very familiar smell came to my nose. I see a movement to my left and turn to see a hand from the rear cockpit holding a burning joint and a disembodied voice in my headphones asking if I want a hit. This is the guy that just a few days before my NCOIC had pointed to as being my role model — the guy that would show me the ropes and why everything I learned in tech school was BS. Dave would introduce to the real world as he took me through my six months of OJT. Dave had been in the Air Force for eight years during the Vietnam War, serving in Thailand. In Dave’s defense we had quickly hit it off and I had shared some of the experiences of my previous life as guys do when building a comradery. Dave assumed I would love to take a hit. The effect was of seeing myself in Leavenworth. We became fast friends but I made it clear that was not my idea of a good time when I was in the cockpit. I often wonder what happened to Dave.
I learned most fighter pilots are regular guys with car bills they struggle to pay, family and marital problems, fears and worries. They always treated the ground crew as if we were equals and if for some reason they pulled rank, you almost always deserved it. I also learned that they actually fly relatively few hours every month and that the rest of their working hours are filled with tedious, paper-pushing work and dealing with bosses that they hate.
After four years in the Air Force I decided to try civilian life. I moved to Houston, Texas thinking I was going to starve to death. From this I learned timing and location, while maybe not being everything, are darned important.
In my memory, it seems like I went from being scared to death about the future to having responsibilities and a paycheck I could have never imagined. You see, I left the Air Force just at the time the big computer automation change was occurring in the Petro Chem industry. You had lots of young engineers that just loved all of these new electronic and computerized gadgets and were designing them into everything. The problem was you had instrument/electrical technicians who were experts on electrical and pneumatic control and didn’t know the first thing about computers and very little about electronics. Well, I had just left a job that the electronics and computers I worked on all day long every day were far more advanced than what was generally available in civilian industry. Like I say, timing is important but it doesn’t hurt if you are willing to work like a Trojan and are a quick study as well.
I learned from building and flying two airplanes and a gyrocopter the terror and danger self-doubt can cause. When you are at 3,000 feet it’s no time to convince yourself that you mixed the epoxy glue incorrectly when gluing together the spar and that your wing is coming apart.
I also learned how doubt will distract you. One time I was getting ready to take my gyrocopter out and it was insanely windy. The airport manager walked out of the Walsenburg, Colorado airport pilot lounge to tell me the anemometer was recording wind gusts of 53 miles an hour. Sometime you do things you know deep down you shouldn’t. I told him how much gyrocopters love wind and not to worry although I had never flown it in winds like that. So against my better judgement, I pointed her into the wind, pushed in the throttle and took off straight up like a helicopter. Zero ground roll. I get hit by the first hard gust about 100 feet up and I came completely out of the seat. The only thing holding me in the gyro was my death grip on the joy stick and the throttle. I look down and to my horror I see I forgot to fasten my seat belt. Long story short I made it down alive but I had to burn that pair of underwear.
I also learned the euphoria that comes from facing and conquering your fears. The thrill of sitting in what is basically a flying diningroom chair flying so low over herds of antelope that you can feel the impact of their hooves as they run at 40 miles an hour, up to 55 mph in short bursts. Being so close you can feel the heat of their breaths and you can almost reach out and grab their big purple tongues being blown back by the wind.
I learned that while gold mining in Alaska that a true adventure or quest is not a vacation. It is filled with anger, fear, loneliness, desperation and severe discomfort, but that all of those bad experiences build irreplaceable and wonderful memories.
I learned that while working for the government in Saudi Arabia that all governments and cultures are not created equal. And that I can be driven to have very strong opinions and, when backed into a corner, dying seems like no big deal.
I learned what an incredible partner I have in life while driving a motorcycle from East Texas to Alaska, most of the time in the rain, camping out every night. When she was given the opportunity to call it quits after crossing the border from Washington into Canada and me pointing out in graphic detail that we were less than half way to Fairbanks and the road and the weather were probably not going to improve. Also, keep in mind, I told her, that we also had to come back. She practically took my head off and said in no uncertain terms, “I told everybody we were going to Alaska on a motorcycle and by God we are going to Alaska on a motorcycle.”
There was also the time, 22 years ago, here in Ecuador when we were taking paraglider lessons in La Crucita. It was the morning we were supposed to solo and she was scared to death. Almost in tears, she was telling me she just couldn’t make herself do it. I told her in no uncertain terms that if flew scared she would certainly get herself killed. So after my second solo, gathering my glider up on the beach, Jaime, our guide, calls me over the radio and shouts, “Ed, look up.” I looked up just as a paraglider cleared the cliff 400 feet above the beach. He shouts, “It’s Tresa and she’s by herself.” I had tears in my eyes, I was so proud of that girl. I’m used to popping shirt buttons around my gut but that day they were popping off my chest. She soloed three times that day.
I learned that while teaching public high school for four years and two years in community college, that we are deeply screwed. Education loves buzz words and terms. One that became popular was “critical thinking.” I never knew a group that knew less about critical thinking than educators. Most of them had gone to college, gotten a degree in a subject while majoring in education and then spent a career regurgitating that info. They actually thought because they knew the definition of something they could teach it. I learned you cannot give a student something you do not have.
I learned why they call them “Starving Artists” when I left the Petro Chem industry at 43 years old to pursue a full-time career as an artist in wood turning and woodworking, my true passions. I had hit that “Is this all there is?” moment. So I walked away from my engineering gig making over $200,000 a year, paying very little in income taxes and paying nothing for room and board with the complete blessing of my wonderful wife. I never looked back.
I learned that after owning three galleries and a coffee bar that the sacrifices and challenges required to have and run a small business are incredible, almost insurmountable. After doing many extremely competitive juried art shows, many of which I couldn’t understand how I was accepted, looking at the talent that surrounded me, I learned how many really great artists hate their patrons. You always have people that love to tell their favorite artist how they are birds of a feather because they love the artist’s work and are willing to pay a bunch of money for it. So the artists sit there and listens to this while shaking their heads yes and saying, “No doubt about it, we are the same,” when actually they want to set the person of fire.
As a cattle rancher, I learned that something really disgusting can provide great beauty. When you palpate a cow the first thing you do is put on this glove that goes all the way up and over your shoulder. You then insert your arm up to your arm pit many times in her rectum, clear up to your arm pit. One does this in order to check to see if she is pregnant unless you are one of the few people that like to palpate bulls. I don’t know what that is all about. Although disgusting, it was also amazing because depending on what trimester she’s in, you could feel the fetus just beginning to form. If she was in her last trimester you could feel around and find the calves head and press your fingers into the mouth and it would start nursing on your fingers.
As a logger, using a method of wood management called “Shelter Wood” that managed for species diversity and food for wildlife, I learned the humility and pain of felling a huge old tree many times over 150 years old and over five feet in diameter because it’s overstory was just too big. It cast too much shade and although species like oaks produce acorns a couple of months a year most animals need to eat more than a couple of months a year. I’ve seen many the skeleton of a deer that tried it. I used to say an Indian prayer that basically said, “I take your life today brother and I take it with humility but in the future at some point mine will also be for forfeit.”
I can not overstate how destructive I see liberal progressive thought. It is a value system that sees coveting your neighbors goods, and assumes self importance and laziness are desirable personality traits. It demands that you be scared to death of life and that you see yourself as a victim or, even worse, you see yourself as the one that anoints victimization to individual groups through your non-stop virtue signaling.
It demands that everyone must validate your fears and your perceived victimization. It elevates common criminals to the position of victim and folk hero. It rewards the surrender of any and all personal responsibility. It demands the cowardice and fear of its leaders. God help you if you step out of line, for example, if an African American or a woman steps off of the plantation. They will be jerked into line so hard it will give them whiplash. It demands lives devoid of joy and gratefulness because you are too busy being a victim or sympathizing with people you have turned into victims. I could go on for at least 100 pages but I’m sure you get the point.
So it always amazes me when people approach me with an attitude of, “Here let me give you a little more information so you can straighten out your thinking.” They obviously don’t understand that I look at their liberal thinking as an abomination. It’s not like I’m sitting on the fence and with a nudge I’ll fall to the other side. Don’t misinterpret my courtesy as doubt. If you do it’s a huge mistake.
So every time President Trump says something stupid, annoying, racist or arguably wrong and the left’s train practically jumps the track and demands an apology and he, in effect, says “Bite me” it leaves me awe-inspired. When he says China is at fault for the virus and the virtue signalers practically have a stroke calling it a racist statement, I get a thrill up my leg. When he says jobs and work are important and that in the process of pursuing it there is a risk people are going to die, he gets a big old thumbs up from me and a tear rolls down my cheek.
So when some arrogant liberal writes an article stating in effect that in his infinite wisdom and with his superb critical thinking skills he can determine that anyone that disagrees with him obviously has no critical thinking skills, or is hopelessly flawed, I think, “Well that’s a flaw I’ll wear like a badge of honor.” I’ll be glad to stack my critical thinking skills against that jackass any day. There are many that feel the same as I do but they choose to keep a low profile.
Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed swatting wasp nests so just keep in mind I enjoy getting stung from time to time. That’s half the fun.
Ed Konderla lives on farm south of Cuenca.