Significant Moves

֎ If the reader has ever vacationed on South Padre Island and visited the town of Brownsville, Texas they know the laid back, mostly Mexican culture and the abundance of retired old people. It’s just a single purpose town with a pleasant atmosphere and a notable marsh sanctuary. Until now. Elon Musk is moving from California to build his launching pad to Mars. It consumes a lot of beach and open area in Brownsville. Brownsville never will be the same.

֎ Now fly back across the continent to Windsor, Connecticut where construction has been halted at a new Amazon warehouse; Amazon has temporarily shut down its construction site in Connecticut after a seventh noose was found hanging over a beam. The suspected cause, although mixed with doubt, is racism in very New England Windsor. Both construction and future employees will have a significant number of non-whites and, given the enormity of an Amazon warehouse, the quiet style of Connecticut – just as in Brownsville – never will be the same.

֎ Disney has decided to move many of its operations to Orlando, Florida. Is this another gold brick falling from the golden world of California?

֎ Last month, Oracle, the tech giant, announced it is moving its corporate headquarters from Redwood City, California, to Austin, Texas. Hewlett Packard Enterprise also announced last month it was moving its headquarters from San Jose, California, to a Houston suburb.

Several journalists suggest that decades of fighting with California’s effort to restrain blatant capitalism but not doing it very well has become wearying for super big business. So they are moving to two of the most conservative states in the U.S.

Mariner’s first reaction is dismay. Is it a right of big money corporations to move wherever they want with no regard for cultural impact? It would be like an invasion into mariner’s garden by a rabbit that will consume the garden display but the rabbit is the size of an elephant. Brownsville and Austin were nice places back when . . . It takes some imagination but think about Congress before PACs and billionaire businessmen; has big money crushed the democratic culture of Congress in the same way? Corporate profit grows more and more expensive and not just in terms of dollars.

On a less personal tangent, Mariner suggests this may be an interesting transition. Texas, in particular, has a citizenry growing with liberal blue as northern businesses and the new phenomenon of ‘work from home’ move into the state. The last election showed a purple shadow in its profile.

As to Florida, the transition may not be caused by big business but rather by global warming where the bottom third of Florida is seriously threatened by destructive flooding and may actually disappear. In other words, it’s the privatized wealth that will move out of Florida. Think of Tiger Woods’ $44.5 million Florida home on Jupiter Island.

Change can be disabling. Suppose that regular basketball had to be played in knee-deep water. . . A few summers ago Mariner and his wife returned from a California vacation deliberately avoiding the Interstates. We came back on Route 66. Yes, it’s still there like an old jigsaw puzzle with most pieces missing. It was colorful, culturally entertaining and every bit as clean and with good food as any Hampton Inn. A similar experience can be had by dropping off Interstate 80 between Omaha and Pittsburg, where small, clean towns haven’t aged since the Korean Conflict.

Trade Brownsville for Mars? Jesus, have mercy.

Ancient Mariner

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