by Stephen Capra
Hello, this is emergency operator, what is your emergency?
Um, we have a real emergency, a crisis really.
(Operator) Sir what is the emergency?
It’s our President, well not my President really, but a man… well a boy really….no more like a child, a spoiled one at that… Um, operator, this man is now the most powerful man in the world, yet he seemingly does not read, I have no evidence he can write, but he clearly can tweet. It’s not just me, but our country; well the majority who voted against him are simply terrified.
(Operator) This really is a crisis; we are sending in our special agent, he is an older white guy, balding, sometimes a bird can be found perched near him.
As I write this, the full weight and gravity of this election is sinking (and I use that term literally) into my bones. We have chosen a fool, a reckless child to be our country’s President. There will be many areas by which this man and his new found friends, the Republican Party, will begin to hash out their form of torture.
Like kids that were bullied in school, these adults will seek to “make us pay” for their misguided vision of America. Nowhere is this clearer than in the realm of the environment.
Republicans like Bob Bishop and our own Steve Pearce are already buzzing about the idea of eliminating National Monuments. Pearce sees this as a means of payback for our successful campaigns to protect close to one million acres in this state, with the crown jewel being the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. But the reality is their dark vision for conservation has no bounds: from the possibility of trying to tamper with restrictions on ivory imports, to easing restrictions on trophy hunting imports (a Trump family favorite), to the Republican agenda of selling off public lands, destroying wolf recovery, eliminating the Antiquities Act, making sure the EPA is gutted, putting gun ranges on public lands, eliminating critical Climate Change research, opening up federal lands for oil, gas, uranium, coal and cows at an unprecedented rate, to destroying America’s Serengeti: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
We have heard the threats in the past and when I mention this to people most tell me, “It’s not going to happen. Presidents do not change our country.” Yet, statistics do not lie. Recent studies have shown going back the past hundred years or so that Presidents generally get 70% of what they run on accomplished, and that stat held true for President Obama.
What’s different here is that Trump likely has no strong positions on the environment. We have heard dismiss climate change, but how much would Trump know or care about the BLM or Wildlife Services? But he will need Republicans to push through the most controversial aspects of his Administration: the Wall, Muslim registrations, whatever War he is likely to create; the list is long and his appointments to date make clear he is vetting some extreme (some say unqualified) people, to make up his cabinet.
The picks for Interior, Energy and Agriculture will likely be damning and disastrous for the environment. In this case the President elect has been clear: “drill baby drill,” “remove regulation,” and “I love coal.” But even without his ill-informed comments, the Republican Party that spurned him will control these moves, with a zeal we have not seen since their heady Jim Watt days.
That is, if we and the Democratic Party yield to such insanity by saying ridiculous things like: “Let’s give him a chance” or “The election is over and it’s his chance to govern.” The correct answer to any of that is, BULLSHIT!
The environment is not a personal punching bag for Republicans to do with as their money lined pockets wish. Nor is the right of Democrats to simply allow such destruction. If your representative is a democrat and is saying “I am going to give the President a chance” go to his or her office and remind them the environment is no longer in a position for second chances. Demand they filibuster any appointments for these vital environmental cabinet positions.
This man lost the majority in this nation, by more than 2 million votes. He has an old school, oligarchic mentality about nature. He sees in through the lens, not of wildness, but as a means of self-enrichment. Oil, coal, steel, minerals like gold, which festoon his apartment and properties are the gilded mantra of his 19th century mentality of conquest and entitlement.
He must be stopped: our planet depends on him being defeated, wildlife depends on him being defeated, and our place in the world and the respect our nation has garnered depends on him being defeated. But from the ashes of this battle, what must be clear is that the Republican Party and its positions on the environment must not just be defeated, but forever destroyed. They and their leaders Paul Ryan, Bob Bishop and the Steve Pearces of the world must lose their power to destroy beauty, to kill the heartbeat of wildness and to do so with the smug arrogance of a serial killer.
The weeks and months ahead are crucial; battle lines have already formed on the cold plains of North Dakota with our Standing Rock Sioux brethren holding ground against all odds. But the battlegrounds and the fight will need to go town to town, city to city and must assault the halls of Congress with the message that we will never go back, as we have said with slavery, as we have said with women’s rights and gay rights; we will not go backwards, but instead we will only move forward. So too is it with our environment, so too is it with wolves and bears and sea life.
The path is only forward, we are already in triage, we must tell this newly elected President NO: NO to Coal, NO to your appointments, NO to your Presidency!
In so doing we can make clear, despite their likely angry rhetoric, that we will never surrender. That our love for Mother Earth is far stronger than their greed and ignorance and that love for all species is far stronger than their hate of all that is wild.
We will overcome this moment in time, but we all, every one of us be prepared to fight like never before. We must stop their dark vision for our lands, water and wildlife, to do so will require more than a call to 911: it will require all of us, working together.