A few weeks ago we took a trip to the Badlands of North Dakota. The country is rough and humpy and wildly beautiful in a rugged lunar sort of way. My best comparison with the UK would be some of the scenery to be found in the northern parts of the Isle of Skye up near Staffin but minus, of course, the sea!
OF BUFFALOES & BADLANDS
We actually visited a town called Medora which dates back to the late 1800’s. Today Medora has become a tourist attraction and boasts an annual open air musical, restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops. The town seems to have come to prominence after President Theodore Roosevelt visited there in 1903. By the way, Roosevelt is one of those names visitors to America sometimes struggle with. You’ll it find cropping up as a street name in many American cities. It is pronounced Rosa-Velt.
According to the story, back in the day, the whole town of Medora turned out for President Roosevelt. Actually it was not his first visit. In the years prior to becoming President, Roosevelt had visited the Badlands and invested in ranches back in the 1880’s. It seems he came here to hunt buffalo and found solace in the West after losing both his mother and his wife on the same day.
I can identify with his fascination for the West and the wild country he found in what was then Dakota Territory. It was part of a great swathe of land that was purchased from the French under the Louisiana purchase in 1803. Teddy Roosevelt as he is affectionately known described his dalliance with the Badlands as the ‘romance of my life.’
FREEDOM OF THE MIND & FREEDOM JUST TO BE
In a way, compared to his life ‘back east’ in New York, the West must have seemed a fantastical place. In those times a whole different set of rules governed life in the frontier. There would have been a freedom out on the range that certainly he would not have enjoyed in New York.
Freedom to think, to roam and to be, is something that appears to have been lost in our hi-tech modern world. To be alone with nature is rare, we are beset with noise and pictures via smart phones tablets and TV’s. Actually we are constantly being ‘told’ how to think. Some would say we are being programmed, or worse, being manipulated.
The Medora musical I attended caught something of Roosevelt’s fascination with the wild cowboy lifestyle. The show in an outdoor arena under the moonlight of a warm summer’s eve evoked images of life around a campfire far from home in which a person could reflect on life and perhaps see a little more clearly.
FREEDOM TO FACE LIFE
That of course is the very reason for the popularity of the Summer Holiday. Whether one goes to Torremolinos or Margate, a break, a getaway is sometimes vital in order to face life.
I think that is what Roosevelt saw in the West. It was an escape from the reality of his life. Perhaps that is why in spite of the restrictions of Covid, Brits have flocked to get away for a summer holiday. After being cooped up like chickens for months, the sense of freedom has been immense whether one has been to Blackpool, Bournemouth or, in my case, to Medora.
WHO IS THAT BRAINWASHED MASKED MAN?
Sadly though some of the more unpalatable aspects of the wild-west seem to be coming our way! The days of masked men and women have returned. The state of North Dakota is spending close to two million dollars to brainwash Dakotans to “mask up.” It seems Bill Gates is making regular trips to the governor's mansion. He apparently became friends with the governor of North Dakota after buying a business from him. Now it seems North Dakota is one of the frontrunner states in preparing for a vaccine. A vaccine that is so far untested and that polls indicate 2/3 of the US population don’t want. In the UK the numbers are slightly less with anywhere from 25 to 49% of Brits likely to refuse the vaccine. I suggest we prepare for an increasing level of public brainwashing as they try to get us to take the jab.
TEDDY FOUND FREEDOM
It appears that Teddy Roosevelt was empowered for his political battles back east by his time on the prairie. He was ready to face the fray again. I’m assuming he found something in the peace and the quiet that brought him inner strength. I think he found freedom.
The American declaration of independence states that,
“All men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Liberty is thus understood by the declarers to be a right, not something granted by government but by God. Furthermore the declaration goes on to state that governments are instituted among men for the express purpose of securing these rights.
There are many Americans who believe that the US government’s response to Covid is unconstitutional because under the guise of a so called medical emergency various units of government have sought to limit these inalienable rights.
THE DUBLIN DECLARATION
In Dublin this week Ben Gilroy stood outside Parliament House to call on the Taoiseach to act after figures showed that just 100 people in Ireland had died exclusively of Covid. All the rest had died, he said, with other causes as well. Gilroy stated
“We are being ruled by morons.”
He called upon publicans to reopen saying,
“the figures don’t reach the level of an epidemic, far less a pandemic.”
Sadly Mr Gilmore is right. As the words of the American Declaration of Independence written in 1776 affirm.
“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”
At the end of the musical in Medora an actor on a horse, playing Teddy Roosevelt rode away up into the Badlands and the whole audience stood to their feet for Lee Greenwood's popular Country song, God Bless the USA. One line of which says
“I’m proud to be an America where at least I know I’m free”
and I thought to myself, it’s a great song and we have had a grand day out but we are not so free as we like to think we are!