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James Hadstate

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I was born in the Republic of Panamá and lived there until I was 16. Most of the time we lived in Santa Clara, a small community in Coclé Province in central Panamá. Our farm was about 1/2 mile from the Pacific Ocean and the most beautiful beach in the world. The farm required a great deal of hard work and my parents made sure that we learned the lesson of honest labor with your hands and dirt under your fingernails.

During my initial childhood, I lived in Santa Clara most of the time, with occasional trips to our house in the Canal Zone. I went to Catholic School there for my early elementary education. However, my parents made sure that we had an excellent education (better than anything available in the US anywhere at the time). I have to admit that I had a jock mentality and would rather be doing anything but studying but still scored 1420 on my SAT's.

While growing up, my parents introduced me to the first families of Panama who had resort houses in Santa Clara. I interacted with them a great deal. I found them arrogant and offensive and preferred interacting with the indigenous people or the mestizos who I spent more time around. These are the rabbiblancos to whom I often refer. Rabbiblanco is a contemptuous name for these oligarchs that means "white tails." Many have blond hair and blue eyes. These were the descendents of the conquistadors who maintained the strict class system through wealth and land peonage. By and large, they were nice people one on one and total asshats when it came to their treatment of their fellow Panamanians, the indigenous and the mestizos whom they considered inferior beings, barely human.

As a result of being born in Panama, Panamá considers me a Panamanian citizen. The US doesn't recognize dual citizenship, but who cares? Panamá does and if I get too disgusted with the US, I can always go reclaim my Panamanian citizenship. When my parents repatriated to the US, we settled in the Charleston, SC area. I graduated from in-state and out-of-state universities with advanced degrees in Political Science, Economics and History.

I previously have left a gap in my life. I had an interval between high school graduation and entering college. I was 18 in 1970 and thanks to Richard Nixon's sabotaging of the Paris Peace Talks and my local draft board's denial of my college deferment, I was drafted into the Marine Corps. I spent a year of my life scared shitless and running on the thrill of adrenaline. I cried as I held friends whose guts were hanging out until they stopped breathing, because no evac could get to us in time. I am not proud of what we had to do there and my respect for the US suffered severely, a blow that it has never recovered. I have not been able to talk about this until my recent encounters with death, again. That and the help of a real therapist has helped me to come to grips with the horrors that haunted me.

I was an airline pilot for over 20 years until I developed Type II Diabetes. I tend to be preach now on the subjects of listening to your doctor, going to the doctor regularly and doing EVERYTHING your doctor says, no matter how much you don't want to. As a result of the diabetes, I was unable to keep my airline level medical authorization. Ironically, now that the FAA allows airline pilots with controlled Type II diabetes to maintain their medical certificate, I am disabled due to the collateral effects of diabetes.

Thus, late in life, I went to Law School and was admitted to the Bar. I have been practicing as a legal aid attorney working primarily with agricultural workers. I am fluent in Spanish and since most agricultural workers are Hispanic anymore, Spanish is nearly mandatory. I loved this work and was heavily involved with it until my collateral diabetic diseases forced me into retirement.

I am unapologetic liberal and a pacifist. In college I was a member of the Weather Underground and it damn near cost me any career in flying. It was dismissed as a boyish mistake that young men of my age frequently made.

If others seek to do violence to me, I will resist with all my ability short of deadly force (such as it is) but will use deadly force to protect my wife, children and grandchildren. I couldn't live with myself if I killed another human being under any other circumstances. Hell, killing the bugs that are eating my tomatoes bothers me. I try to live by The Golden Rule and often fail.

I do like to laugh, most of the time, except during some flashes of horror, especially at myself. My life is constant material for any stand up comic. I truly wish that before I leave this world, everyone has stopped hating others and there is no such thing as deadly violence anymore. See? I told you my life is good for laughs.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008      Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon
Can't We All Just Get Along? Essay on toning down the rhetoric and using some old fashioned work with modern devices.