By Trudy Wischemann
4:54 pm,
April 3, 2024

Last week, after mentally riding the unbroken donkey colt with Jesus into Jerusalem, I found myself thinking about the meaning of the word “resurrection.” Although we tend to think about its heavenly implications, it’s the reappearance of Jesus in altered forms here on earth that gave life to the word. It’s the reappearance of good life here on earth that I want to write about today.

Only two letters separate “resurrection” from “insurrection.” The prefixes are attached to the same Latin root, surgere, which means “to rise; see surge.” Only two letters separate the English definitions of each: resurrection means “to rise again,” while insurrection means “to rise against.” But in our guts we feel they are 180 degrees apart, one good and holy, the other bad and dangerous. Of course, the reason the Jews begged Pilate to take Jesus out of the picture was that, to them, he and his followers felt like an insurrection.

For a year now I have been writing of our need for change in the political control over our water resources, a change which necessarily would diminish the power of the largest landowners in this end of the San Joaquin Valley. To many people, those landowners are not the problem, it’s the government (meaning state and federal bureaucracies in cahoots with the urban elite.) In my view, the political power wielded by the landed ones is the torque wrench tightening the government screws, and without what amounts to land reform in California, no reform of the government will be possible.

Among friends, I’ve been calling it “the revolution” half-jokingly, in part to let people know it’s more a dream than a plan, but also that the dream is that big. This past week, though, I’ve been wondering what if, instead, we thought of it as a resurrection? A rising up of what was good in the past in somewhat altered form, giving new life to our region?

What if we began working for a resurrection of relationships between people and land that we actually believe in and know to be good, a little holier than the current situation of aggregating landownership in absentee investors’ hands? What if we began asking the question “How much is too much?” not “How much is enough?” What if we found ways to say “No, you are not going to twist our democracy into this perverted form any longer” and resurrected our belief and practice of the one-person, one-vote system? What if we all understood and decided to stand for a food system from which everyone can eat what they need to survive?

Is it rising up again, or rising up against? The truth is that this country has been rising up for the kinds of values I mention above since we were just colonies. Balanced against this resurrection of faith in the goodness and equality of all people has been the belief that money talks louder than God, and is to be maximized wherever and whenever possible. The balance keeps getting tilted toward money, but most people—and I believe this to be true—know in their guts as well as their pocketbooks that the vast majority of this country’s citizens, from the original Pilgrims to the newest naturalized immigrants, have faith in that more equal form of existence.

About a month ago, I resurrected my outdoor bathtub garden. I planted carrot seeds, Burpee’s Nantes half-long, in support of the people in Cuyama trying to resurrect their rights to their groundwater against the onslaught by the giant absentee corporate carrot growers Grimmway and Bolthouse. The “Stand With Cuyama” folks called for a carrot boycott, which I’m reminding you of, just in case you forgot. Was this an insurrection, a rising up against the corporate giants? Or was the carrot-guys’ move for an adjudication the real insurrection, a take-over bid that looks altogether too natural and acceptable to money maximizers?

I think we have some resurrecting to do: resurrecting our faith in an older, more equitable form of agriculture, in the basic American principle of one-person, one-vote, in the Judeo-Christian notion of neighbors, in the earth’s ability to provide. When that faith is revived, we’ll find the strength to resurrect our democracy.

Trudy Wischemann is a born-again Democrat who is resurrecting her brown thumb, hoping it will grow greener with practice. You can send her your reappearance experiences c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247. This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of the Mid Valley Times newspaper.

About the Author

Trudy Wischemann
Local writer of the column ‘Notes From Home’