Tuesday, May 18, 2004

self-analysis time

As many of you know, this blog is an experiment, and not a perfect one. My friend TheDarkKnight e-mailed me with a ton of really good feedback which I'm hoping continues. I know I can come over like a pompous ass, but I'm still what people call "a budding writer" (which makes me feel like some sort of pansy, haha, sorry, kicking myself now.) So, feedback, good.

First off, what I said about Yellowstone needs clarification. Bush did not package and sell Yellowstone, complete with bows, ribbons and mediatronic wrapping paper. According to the National Resources Defense Council's "Bush Record on National Parks," George "Hide in the Shrubbery" Bush has:

  • Systematically attacked the respected status of Yellowstone. In an inaccurate scientific report Bush tried to convince the U.N. that Yellowstone was in no environmental danger.
  • Engaged in practices which endanger the park. This includes selling all the government-owned areas around Yellowstone to private contractors for logging purposes. He's also killing all the Yellowstone Bison.
  • Cut funding The National Park Service has no money. It's all gone to Iraq.
  • Privatized the park. This is costing the park MORE money, since it has to pay for the job competitions, but also they've been selling federal water rights.
  • And then there's that snowmobile thing... Bush struck down a ban on polluting snowmobiles which not only dirty up the park but scare the animals.

I'm not much for conspiracy theories. They don't sound, to me, very different from political propoganda. But this systemic attack on the park means that Yellowstone is not going to be Yellowstone anymore. It's debatable whether it's already undergone significant change, but I've read enough biological literature to know that what you do has spreading effects. That power plant is going to kill a lot of plants, meaning animals will have no homes. When the land is bare, empty, and barren, it will be sold. And in any case, it won't be a park anymore, will it? You gonna take your kid to see a power plant and some snowmobiles? I shouldn't have said Bush sold Yellowstone. The comment was a lot stronger than saying "Bush is selling of bits of Yellowstone, and soon you won't recognize it anymore, and when you've forgotten what it used to be like, he'll sell it to private contractors." Complicated plans are less impacting than straightforward ones.

TheDarkKnight also criticized my comment that "nothing was realistic until something made it real." I should clarify I'm talking about social issues and solutions, of course. The 40-hour work week didn't appear out of nowhere. Neither did American autonomy, the abolition of slavery, and all the other wonderful dreams that seemed impossible when people conceived of them. But Americans fought and Americans made those dreams real. That's why King's speech about having a dream was so powerful. People complain about apathetic Americans-TheDarkKnight said something about that, too. But I see very little apathy in America. Walk down the street and all you hear or see are heated arguments about what's going on today. Even the Deaf community, which by and large isn't hugely affected by hearing politics, is polarized on many issues. Millions of people march and march. No, I don't see apathy. Maybe too much dedication to working within the system, and willingness to trust that the system works, rather than realizing that any good system needs to be upgraded now and then. We're good folks, we know right from wrong. We're just a little uncertain about how to go about righting wrongs... Spandex and utility belts, anyone?


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