Chapter 9:

                          Lear's Last Lines



        A few weeks after the election I met an old acquaintance
   at a Napa Supermarket. He had been a political heckler of mine
   over the years. He said condescendingly, "Well, John, how are
   you? This (the lost election) is going to be good for you.
   You'll be one of the people again. Glad to have you back in
   Napa." I said yeah sure thanks and squeezed out a smile. He
   was speaking his mind in a friendly sounding way, but I
   imagined what he might have liked to say was, "well you damn
   bigshot, you finally got too big for your britches and we
   pulled you down off your pedestal and now we've got you where
   we want you."

        It was partly people like this that kept me from coming
   back to practice law in Napa. I didn't feel like being too
   visible (I felt self-conscious--I was the defeated politician,
   the loser--I didn't want people to feel sorry for me or
   pretend to). Also, I didn't want to have to spend all my
   time catering to people to help rebuild a profitable law
   practice; I wanted a job with some financial security and I
   was prepared to work but I didn't want anything remotely like
   another treadmill job where I'd be out weekends and evenings.
        November and December of 1978 were a little dismal. Sure,
   I was unhappy--somebody took a toy away from me--maybe the toy
   was 17 employees and five offices with my name on the door. 
   When I was booted out I had three committee chairmanships (one
   'standing' and two 'select'), I had important things barely 
   started, I had friends, I had a kind of family in Sacramento.

        December was a particularly unsettling month. My term ended 
   on the 1st monday of that month and although I was technically
   still a member of my law firm I really didn't have a job--for
   the first time since Janet and I were married. I hadn't heard
   anything definite from the governor's office RE possible
   appointments. Good friends invited us to visit them at their
   Guatemala retreat to get away from it all. But I couldn't do
   it. We weren't broke or in debt but we didn't have any cash
   reserves. Our only asset was our house (about 75% paid for).
   We were living on what I currently earned and getting 
   gainful employment was my first priority.

        On New Year's Day Janet and I were up the California
   coast in Mendocino City. About 3 PM the governor's office
   tracked me down and Jerry Brown himself got on the phone to 
   tell me he'd just signed papers appointing me as a member of
   the Worker's Compensation Appeals Board. It is a 7 person
   board five of whom must be lawyers. Although not as prestigous
   as an appellate court judge (they hold office for life), this
   job involved appellate jurisdiction over workers' compensation
   cases and paid the same salary as a Superior Court judge. I
   asked him when the appointment became effective and he said as
   far as he was concerned, right now. I went down to San
   Francisco and took the oath on the 2nd and my pay started 
   immediatly. I spend the next five years working 40 hours a 
   week instead of 80, but getting paid more than twice the
   salary I'd gotten as a Senator. I still had an office and I
   still worked for the government, but what I did involved one
   narrow field of the law instead of the whole--also in a
   judicial job you wait for specific cases to come to you; you
   don't go out and tackle any legal/socioeconomic problem you
   think needs it.

        The Workers' Comp. Board was a good and important job but
   for me it was not exciting. The second week on the Comp board
   one of the staff lawyers, a young man maybe a couple of years
   older than Jill, asked me if I wanted to be called "Senator
   Dunlap". I told him no, call me John. I'm sure this is what he
   expected but he was playing it safe. I had thought about this
   before his question, and although the permanent title of
   Senator wasn't unappealing I rejected it as that of a has
   been...sort of like with the title "Colonel" for Lionel Barrymore 
   (nice old guy) in a Shirley Temple movie; the allusion to past
   heroics gave him at best a pathetic dignity. I said to the
   younger man: "Some people who've been Senators keep the title
   the rest of their lives and that might sound or feel good, but
   I'm not a Senator anymore; that title belongs to the guy that
   currently holds the office." I thought a second and added,
   "Besides, I don't want to dwell on the past--I'd rather think
   the most important part of my life is still ahead of me." In a
   sense, however, it's undeniable that the most
   'important' part of anyone's life is always still ahead
   of them. It's the only part over which we retain any control.
        Unless you've given up and are living totally in a dream
   world of the past (and with some people this is at least a 
   tendency), the future is always more important to you. 
        A friend who helped me in my unsuccessful bid for the
   State Senate in 1960 jokingly said, "Once you've been in
   politics there's nothing left but hardcore narcotics."... to
   get your kicks, he meant. I agree, my political story was
   mostly terminated by defeat in 1978. Since then I haven't
   taken up hardcore narcotics, but I haven't had the same kicks

        Though, as 1978 ended, I was suffering from a terminal
   illness known as lame duck disease and was not particularly
   happy, I was busy. I had had a lot to do, with closing up all
   of my offices, answering commiserative mail, getting myself a
   job, and helping staff members get new positions for
   themselves. I didn't really start to miss the kicks of
   politics until late January or February, but December had
   been a rough time partly because of the uncertainty of it.
   Despite the holiday season I didn't have terrific fun and
   sometimes I thought I should console myself by having a few
   stiff drinks, but I'd quit drinking, so even that was out.

        Almost 3 years before, Janet and I had stopped for a
   month to try to lose some weight. Though I didn't admit it
   then, I'm sure I had a secret ambition to make it perm-
   anent (which I ended up doing--I'll let you know if it
   changes.). As I said, a couple of times in this post defeat
   period I had the idea I might start drinking again, but
   thought, No, that'd be too typical--like the reformed
   alcoholic who loses his job and becomes a stewbum. So, if I
   had any such thoughts I put them aside--maybe I'd start again
   someday but, 'I'll save it for when I'm up'.

        My drunk driving arrest had been a shock and had called
   my attention to the fact that I didn't really have drinking
   under control. I didn't ordinarily drink enough to embarrass
   myself, but after the high had passed I had a tendency to
   become either sleepy or quarrelsome. Worse things were
   happening to some of my colleagues who were drinkers. One died
   of a heart attack and another of what I'd call premature old
   age--booze was the underlying cause.
        Not drinking, I was certainly healthier but I didn't have
   as much fun and probably sometimes took myself too seriously.
   My staff said I needed to let up and relax more--they were
   right but it wasn't easy just drinking coffee.
        Part of my reason for quitting drinking had been
   political, particularly after the drunk driving conviction. I
   liked coming off as "Sir Percival, Pure and Penitent." Now,
   off the pedestal, I didn't have to stay Mr. Clean for the
   public anymore, but I still had my own pride to consider.
       After about a year and a half on the Workers' Comp Board 
   I had a chance to be appointed to the Superior Court in Napa,
   replacing a judge who'd quit before the end of his term. To 
   keep the position, though, I'd have to run for election in 8
   months, which meant I'd have to start campaigning immediatly.
   The idea of asking for votes so soon again (and not even for a
   job I thought I'd really enjoy that much) was something I
   didn't relish. In fact it would have been downright
   masochistic. So I turned the judgeship down.
        In 1984 my term on the Workers' Comp Board came to an
   end. I didn't even apply for reappointment because I knew the
   new Republican Governor wouldn't choose me. I would not have
   chosen to place him in an important decision-making position.
   I could've jumped back up on the treadmill as a lawyer and
   also gotten full retirement pay, but Janet and I chose instead
   to have more time, and less money, and we went into a kind of
   retirement-retreat by moving to an old house we owned in
   Mendocino City. Moving was an adventure, and rebuilding and
   redecorating the house (which was right in the center of the
   well-known coastal arts community) was an activity which
   helped me avoid looking on myself as retired. At this point I
   was only 61 years old and felt too young (for one like me
   partially caught in the "You Are What You Do" Gear of Life) to
   be doing nothing, retired, inert.
        Going to Mendocino in part was a way of avoiding the
   "This is It" of Defeat, which can best be described by remem-
   bering a cartoon: Two oriental monks are sitting on the steps
   of a temple, cross-legged, clad in loincloths. The younger has
   just asked the older one a question. The older one replies,
   "What do you mean, 'what's next?'? This is It." I was also
   avoiding returning to my 'natural habitat' ("Here you are,
   back where you belong, John, Ha ha ha!!"), where I might have
   to face the fact I was defeated and there wasn't any 'more'. 

        When I did come back to Napa, again, this time retired, I
   still ran into people who said "What're you doing now, John?
   Practicing Law again?" Sometimes I'd say, "No, I'm just
   goofing off," which wasn't entirely true, but did describe my
   status in a few words. After a while I got so I could use the
   word "retired" (though retired is "It" and not too good    an
   "It" for somebody who's used to being able to say "I'm doing
   this, this, and this." In time I taught myself to say, "I'm
   retired, period. I'm no longer seeking either wealth or
   glory." (This paragraph was written originaly over 16 years
   ago, and the word "retired" scares me less and less). 

        At the time of this writing I've been back in Napa (where
   my political heckler was "glad to have me") over 20 years
   since I was part of the great whirling world of the Capitol
   Carousel. My treadmill/pony has jumped from that track. I no
   longer spend all my time trying to change or educate the
   world. Partly, I really believe that I've earned a rest and 
   it's someone else's turn. But in many ways I'm the same person 
   I was before defeat, and my lack of involvement in politics
   occasionally still makes me feel a little guilty. Of course,
   writing a book is being involved still in a way. In writing
   about it all, I've been forced to think tougher than I might
   ordinarily--to admit, for instance, that some of the time
   (though less and less over time), I've been depressed by
   inactivity--by being out of the whirl of life at the State
   Capitol. That's the big decision-making arena. My decisions
   comparatively are much smaller now--do I watch TV with Janet,
   do I make a pot of coffee, do I build a fire, do I toast a
   English muffin, do I work on this book. Leading my life
   involves a maze of small decisions which are not
   inconsequential, but which don't add up to more than killing
   time if you don't make them. It's totally up to me what I do;
   there's no treadmill in motion as I put my feet on the floor
   out of bed.

        When I was on the legislative treadmill going 80 hours a
   week, I should have backed away from this kind of single-
   minded, almost exclusive involvement. It stole from my
   commitment to other values. I worked too hard, felt sorry for
   myself, and experienced some burnout. 

        Now, I feel the need to engage my gears selectively with
   what's going on around me--selective involvement instead of
   the treadmill I used to ride (or be driven by). It's a phase 
   more of thinking than doing, I guess. My active political life 
   ended in 1978. I didn't quite recognize or admit that it was
   over for seven or eight years and come around to putting a
   punctuation mark there, as far as my head goes--it takes quite
   a while to appreciate the total concept of a major change--so
   you sit for years before you put a period--exclamation mark?--
   at the end of a phase of life.

        Having told the essential chronological tale, the
   'Sacramento Story', I come to the denoument, the 'unwinding'.

        When I was trying to figure out how to organize this last
   section I at first thought I'd indulge in the fiction that
   somehow a group of do-gooder legislators in the California
   Assembly had called on me for advice from the vantage point of
   one no longer on the treadmill. I mentioned this idea to David
   and he said something like, 'go ahead and do it but find a way
   to say it that's believable--people won't read your
   pontification.' We also had the thought that to continue
   writing was like adding an extra act to Othello or like Lear
   returning to life (in Napa) and finding that he still has
   lines to deliver. So, although there are things I want to say,
   I'm not going to go into them--much.

        I know that livewire private citizens cooperating through
   government can make a difference. I used to preach this. I
   must've said a thousand times, "your letters do make a
   difference . I read my mail. I count on your participation." I 
   believed what I said when I said it from 'aloft' and I still
   believe it, but as a private citizen I have trouble practicing
   what I preached as a legislator, so I understand that words of
   encouragement alone may not make the political system more
   enticing or hopeful to all.

        Just because I as a legislator was rejected by the voters
   in 1978 doesn't mean my ideals and hopes for government were 
   rejected then, and even if then, certainly not for all time.
   John Vasconcellos, who I saw at a political dinner (a 75th
   birthday party for a retired Senator from Napa, actually) here
   in Napa not long ago, is, for instance, continuing to fight
   for progressive legislation in Sacramento. He has been at it
   for 37 years. John Burton is Speaker Pro Tem of the Senate.
   With intermittent time off he's been at it for 39 years.

        From my current vantage point "off the treadmill" I see
   some things better than I did before. For one thing, it's
   easier to recognize some of the weaknesses in the Democratic
   Party. There's far more room for innovation among Democrats;
   this is one reason I chose to become one. But I see now that
   the Democratic Party is riddled by special interests: campaign
   contributions from banks, insurance, and oil, for example--the
   Republican Party, on the other hand, is rooted in, not just
   polluted by, these special interests. This riddling of
   Democrats and rooting of Republicans may be one reason many 
   people believe Government is not for them.

        My experience is that most innovative programs are well-
   concieved and do a good job--but I see now that liberals
   occasionally make mistakes--all new ideas don't work. When we 
   try something new we should be more willing to monitor it, and
   if it doesn't work, have the sense to admit it, modify the
   experiment and sack it--clear the decks for something else.
   Recognizing that experiments sometimes don't work exhibits the
   success of the process of government, not the failure.

        I've tried a lot of different ways to wrap this up, and
   nothing really covers the whole ball of wax, probably because
   it isn't one logically conceived lesson in a poly sci course.
   While desperately seeking "The Word" I'm inclined to risk
   categorical statements, and I will share with you some of my

   1. Thou shalt look to no other being to solve thy
   2. Thou shalt cooperate, and avoid the pitfalls of
   3. Thou shalt see the big picture but not let it get you
   4. Thou shalt know that extremes of wealth and poverty
   separate and polarize people, but that there's more to a
   decent society than dividing up the goodies fairly.
   5. Thou shalt eschew the philosophy of 'Ain't It Awful' and
   substitute for it the knowledge that things can work. For
   example, government does offer some protection for natural
   resources, some intelligent consolidation and promotion of
   scientific ideas (and does promote scientific advances for
   other than business-oriented purposes), and does show some
   sophistication in dealing with sociological problems and
   human nature. 
 insert picture or xerox of a law or article
   to fill this space

      The alternative to government is right by might, or a
   reversion of all decision-making to individual whim: i.e.,
   there is no alternative. Human nature as seen in our world
   society is mixed and problematic...both beautiful and
   inspired, and dark and terrifying. "Government" brings with it
   the possibility of promoting the best, and protection from
   chaos. But with the wrong people in control it can also
   promote the worst, so there's a risk.

        To plan a future different from what we've got, we need a
   picture of what we want--a design which is new and different,
   but not so different as to be patently unattainable. "World
   Government" seems desirable, as does wage levelling in some
   form. But we're not talking about starting over with a clean
   slate and building up from the foundations--you have to find a
   way to tinker with the existing structure with all its
   complexities and try to be temporarily satisfied with
   acomplishing a series of changes which in themselves may seem
   all too moderate, but which as time goes on, add up to a
   changed world. We need specific new programs, we need open
   minds reacting to changing circumstances--we can't get along
   on even my categorical imperatives.

        Devising innovative programs takes a lot of energy.
   There's no room for apathy--or the 'Ain't it Awful' game Don
   Searle and I still were playing, while commuting to San
   Francisco (me to the Workers' Comp Job, Don to his Standard 
   Oil position) in the early 80's--the 'awful' was having to go
   to work over and over early in the morning in horrendous
   traffic conditions. You can say ''Ain't it Awful' about any
   problem, about Ike as Don and I used to back in 1958 at the
   time of our kitchen debates, when Janet finally said, "Get off
   the dime and Do Something", about traffic...about the A-Bomb
   or about the weather (though when one shines you're glad and
   when the other does you're dead). The bomb threat (still very
   real, though not so much because of the possibility of war, as
   perhaps, of computer error) is about as awful as anything can
        Most people don't have the concept of atomic war or
   nuclear devastation in an integrated position in their heads--
   it's stored in a trunk in the attic, it's not in the kitchen,
   family room, or workshop where we make our daily decisions.
   But we could do something, tomorrow--go to a World Beyond War 
   meeting, a nuclear freeze meeting, go to Livermore and get
   arrested, spend the next 9 months walking from L.A. to
   Washington the very least, we can talk about all
   this to people around ourselves. Don't wait for the right
   leader with the finest sounding slogans to come along. (Thou
   shalt look to no one else...) The existence of such barely 
   conceivable destructive resources may seem to pose an
   insurmountable problem, but human affairs are controlled by
   humans, and though your power may seem slight, anything can be 
   changed given time and enough interest. My list of proposed
   acts aren't Master Plans to bring peace and prosperity to the
   world--but they are the kinds of actions which, when
   multiplied by millions, can change world opinion, and, subsequently,
   the course of events.

        Liberal innovators soberly echo that politicians should
   not play God. In advocating a particular legislative proposal
   (liberal or otherwise) there's a tendency sometimes to play it
   up so strongly that although you don't come right out and say
   it'll solve all the world's problems, this statement becomes
   implicit in your rhetoric. When I was in office I didn't go
   around making big promises (but I "put my best foot forward";
   I tried to come off as on the side of the angels, and did some
   sloganeering. Generally I said my proposals would help, but
   sometimes in the heat of debate, trying to sell the press, or
   my colleagues or the public, I played into the "Dr. Fix of Politics"

          The worst aspect of over-promising is that it results in public
   disillusionment when your solutions fall short of their mark
   and withdisillusion comes an unwillingness to keep trying).

        When Janet's and my kids were little they sometimes had
   wonderful toys which were our pride and their joy. I partic-
   ularly remember Bobo the Clown, a plastic, air-filled balloon
   over three feet tall. There was a sand-filled compartment in
   the round bottom. This gave him weight so when you hit him he
   toppled over but always rose upright again. He was elegant, 
   with a large protruding red nose, like many clowns. A leak
   developed in the crease at the base of his nose. I'd been able
   to fix other leaks with the plastic patch kit but not this
   one. I'll never forget David's entreaty, "Daddy, won't you
   please fix Bobo?" He was sad to have lost a companion and I
   was frustrated to be unable to deliver. My image was
   tarnished. I also thought I should be able to fix Bobo. I
   don't remember if I ever outright admitted I couldn't.

        The great strides in science and technology since World
   War II have led to a belief that science can take care of
   anything. The jet airplane, wonder drugs, television,
   computers and the internet, and the promise of 'atomic energy
   so cheap it won't be worth metering'*, have all fed into the 
   belief that doctors can (or will soon be able to) fix just
   like Daddy, and the essence of this 'Dr. Fix' attitude may
   have been transposed into politics. People, only begining to
   mistrust the technological fix and the medical miracle, may
   still believe in the political fix. One side or the other MUST
   have the solution. One panel of experts or another will handle it.

        The holistic health concept recognizes that though doc-
   tors are important, each person is essentially responsible for
   his/her own health management. But it's easier to believe 
   in Doctors--in solutions from the outside. And so, politicians 
   *This prediction was made in the 1950's by Lewis Strauss,
   Eisenhower's chairman of the Atomic Energy Comission.

   sometimes find it easy to offer the fix regardless of form. It
   may appear as scientific, Star Wars, economics, tax reform; or
   romantic, The Summit. It's always a great attention getter.
        As an 'author/philosopher' I don't want to make the
   mistake (playing "Dr. Fix") I tried to avoid as an action-
   oriented politician. I've wondered if in the telling of this
   story I've made myself out to be more of a courageous person
   "willing to do things damn the consequences" than I really
   was. If I have, perhaps I should adjust the impression now.

        Although I was about the 4th state legislator in
   California to attack the Vietnam War I waited until I was re-
   elected in 1968 to come forth strongly on this issue. I
   dropped some other worthy causes either because I had too much
   to do or lost confidence, or from fear of political
   consequences (fear that I might suffer personal political hurt
   to the standpoint of not being re-elected sometime)--in other
   words, I didn't ride every white horse to the brink.

        In my characterization of myself in these pages I
   certainly haven't set myself up as anything but a good guy,
   and I've as much as said that if everybody did things the same
   way I did, we'd be better off--my ego's strong enough to still
   believe that this is true, but the real process or prospect of 
   change requires both 'leadership' and the breaking of public
   political stereotypes like "Dr. Fix".

        Even my 'tell-all' stance, now, should be thought Suspect, as it
   may seem to suggest: Here's the Truly Honest Man, he admits he
   took fringe benefits that he shouldn't have, he tells of his
   numerous faux pas...he reveals all. He shows us "everything", but 
   he probably does it partly just to be admired for telling the
   truth. The politician'll peel the onion only far enough to
   remove the rough skin and make it look smooth and shiny--with
   an author, the onion gets peeled a little farther--.

        Looking back over my manuscript I've also wondered if
   I've gone too far with "Reality" as opposed to propriety--
   Robert Frost said he liked his potatoes scrubbed, and that's
   how he described nature in his poems. There are those who
   might say I should've taken a shower before I wrote this book,
   or they might be more explicit and say I should have my mouth
   washed out with soap. I've said a few things that might make
   me look crude or hostile. I've spoken of the unsavory aroma of
   the President of the United States, and indulged myself in
   scatalogical language and humor. I've often used battle terms
   in describing political controversies or campaigns, and made
   reference to the fact that for a while in 1967 we kept a
   picture of Ronald Reagan on out dartboard. I spoke about
   "whipping the old bastard's ass*" in my first election, 
   apparently having great fun with notions of physical violence.
   I have, partly, left such things in the book because they
   happened and that's exactly how we acted some of the time. I 
   know I could wipe them out with a few strokes of the pen, but
   that wouldn't be changing me. I did think this way to some
   extent, but ordinarily I recognized that this amounted to a
   survival of youthful 'He-Man' conditioning.
   *As a kid I played cowboys and indians, cops and robbers,
   and played to win, and winning was killing the other guys. In
   the legislature or on the campaign trail a certain style of
   emphasis likewise implies that you don't just want your ideas
   to win out over (whoever's)--you want to kill them. That
   implication is at the core of the adversary system in
   politics. Obviously we were still playing cowboys and indians
   up in Sacramento.

        Most people have some ability to look beyond the black
   and white Right Side/Wrong Side landscape of the adversary
   system--but the basic political process discourages crossing
   the partisan line and trying to collaborate. So you hide out
   in your treefort with your own little clan and count the heads
   of your enemies, and call them names and drop rocks on them
   when you think you can get away with it safely, and hope
   they're too stunned to retaliate.

        Most of my political story has involved what I did on my 
   own initiative, but throughout, I had many companions--at
   first the Napa Democratic Club and later, the Brain Trust
   Staff (Harrington, Gage, and others) and colleagues like Alan 
   Sieroty and John Vasconcellos. There was some community
   (common--unity?) feeling in the legislature, like the
   leaderless Truth Squad righting Reagan's wrongs back in 1967)
   but nothing like the "All For One and One For All" idealized
   version of community I like to think about ("The things we do
   together" are the most important). And legislators tended to
   play the Leader game (like Alan Sieroty letting me take credit
   sometimes and be the Big Man--that is, in this case he played
   the leader game for my gain). I have experienced real
   "community" a few times, though.

        Janet and I helped found an entirely voluntary
   cooperative group for a few years. It consisted of six couples
   living within five miles of each other in the Coombsville area
   5 miles outside Napa. We were long-time close personal friends
   and called ourselves the 'Coombsville Compact'. We planned to
   build homes on commonly owned land and live, care for each
   other, and die together. We'd each have our own small house
   nestled around common facilities such as swimming pool, tennis
   court, workshop, and dining/recreation area. The women in the
   Compact were closer than the men. They were all housewives and
   had children attending the same schools. They used to get
   together once each week for what they called project day--
   working together at the homes of one another for a morning or
   afternoon.* This was how the Compact got started (circa 196??) 

        The Fitches, one of the families in the Compact, had a 
   chicken farm. Jim did 98 percent of his own work and often had
   tough sledding. Once he bought two unassembled aluminum feed
   bins to increase his grain storage capacity and convenience.
   The bind was that Jim had had these money and time saving
   devices for months but didn't have time to put them together.
   One of the wives suggested that the husbands in the Compact
   could put the bins together some Saturday. We all agreed and
   met the next Saturday and went to work intending to get the
   job done then and there, but it was a much bigger effort than
   any of us realized. Finally, five weeks later, with the rain
   going from moderate to hard and with daylight departing, three
   of us (having bolstered our will to complete the job with a
   half gallon of hearty burgundy) shoved the last metal plates
   into position and screwed them down, cast down our tools and
   literally raised our arms to the sky in exultation. The wine
   we had consumed left us in no mood to stop drinking and we
   vowed to continue. Our wives were amenable, and that night on
   the spur of the moment, all six couples congregated at Janet's 
   and my house for a fine big potluck and bring your own bottle
   party. We now fondly remember it as "Fitch's Last Erection
   Party." We called it that because at Stanford University
   there's a tower a little like the UC Berkeley Campanile, known
   *This was in the 1960's. Project day 1999 was essentially the
   same, though here in 2003...

   as Hoover Tower, and referred to by some irreverent Stanford
   youths as "Hoover's Last Erection".

        We had a great group, totally without an acknowledged
   leader. Though we led different lives, we shared a dream of a
   future community. We also did make a community garden, and go
   on a few vacation travel trips together, which were great fun. 
   We got together many times and we'd each write what we
   thought we wanted to accomplish, then we'd read what we'd
   written out loud. We also had work days at other houses (spent
   a day painting the inside of the Craft's house). Once we
   decided we were, to an extent, "All For One And One For All",
   we came up with more common causes.

        The things the Coombsville Compact shared to begin with
   made the greater sharing more possible. We were all of similar
   age, 15 years separating youngest and oldest. We were
   similarly educated, or had similar values of education. Though
   we were of different degress of wealth, none of us were very
   poor or very rich. We were all Caucasians, and spoke the same

        At one point a couple of us were ready to build but the
   others weren't.We were also in different economic stations in 
   life. Some were still worried about financing children in
   college, and one couple was ready to retire to the point of
   selling their home and buying a boat. Some of us were too
   closely attached to our own land and weren't quite ready to 
   give it up and go somewhere else. We had a group savings
   account of $1,000, which was a start for something.(?) But for
   all of these reasons we couldn't take the next step forward.

        When we were all together in the spirit of it we really
   thought we would, but when we went home into our separate
   cocoons we had some second thoughts about it. 
   It would be naive to suggest that the vision of the
   Compact provides a practical example for the world. Despite
   our mutuality, we didn't accomplish what we set out to, but we
   did have a strong spirit going for a while.

        It's good to think what that spirit might accomplish if
   harnessed to Russia and the United States (Iran and Iraq,
   Protestant England and the IRA), for a short while--maybe a
   successful Summit with an agreement to each reduce arms
   expenses five percent each year, and put the money into
   mutually designed projects: Like a bridge across the Bearing
   Sea, or food for Africans, or Space Exploration, or a world-
   wide crusade against environmental degradation.

        Thinking about the Coombsville Compact sometmes
   encourages me. By trying to cooperate, people not only make 
   better political institutions, they also change themselves--
   and I think they change the human race in the long run. 
   I've dealt mostly in this book with individual political
   successes and strivings--but coming to the end I seem to be 
   dwelling on peak experiences of a different kind. There's no
   real place for them in the history of California, but they
   rate pretty high in my personal history. They all seem to have
   to do with groups of people, and with joining something
   'bigger than yourself'. It doesn't happen often enough but
   when it does it's the kind of experience that tops a couple of
   drinks (or even winning an election?). You don't know exactly
   how to go out and make it happen, or you would. We could call
   it 'communality' or just admit we don't know exactly how it
   works and call it an 'elixer' (which brings out our highest

        Evolution has been going on for hundreds of thousands--
   make that millions. . .of years--the intellectual, emotional,
   and physical evolution of mankind. League of Nations, United
   Nations, and even Government of the People, are relative
   recently evolved concepts. There's no reason to believe
   evolution has stopped, or is limited to our physical
   capabilities. If it's taken us eons to learn to stand erect,
   it may take a long time to learn to walk 'hand in hand'
   (speech-making practice but still sincere).

        A few experiences in the military produced a similar 
   feeling of unity--the unity came to some extent from
   resistance to common abusive authority and the product of the
   cooperative enterprise wasn't exactly a new and improved
   world, but still, it's a strong memory to me. 

        When I was stationed at Lowry Field near Denver,
   Colorado, going to Aircraft Armament School during World War
   II, I remember having to spend one Saturday morning 'GIing'
   the barracks, literally scrubbing down the walls, floors, and
   ceilings. It was mostly a stupid exercise in cleanliness
   overkill but somehow we, about 40 of us, were in it together
   and it got to be fun after a while. Someone had a radio blast-
   ing out such songs of the time as "Oh What A Beautiful
   Morning", and we sang along. We all worked hard and we did a
   good job. We weren't exactly working with our minds and
   spirits to produce an improved common destiny--just scrubbing
   common dirt--but what we were sharing mattered.
        David comments that this experience must be what I was
   referring to in the swansong of my 1978 campaign when I talked
   about 'the things we do together'. It wasn't Boy Scouts
   singing songs at a campfire and it's not the world coming
   together in the form of four hungry men at one round table;
   it's 40 GI's in a latrine. It didn't matter too much, at the
   time, what we were doing. Despite the coercive thrust of the
   military which got us started (and the partial pointlessness 
   of the task), all of us got a charge out of working together.
   We were cleaning toilet bowls but we liked it.