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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Powerless and Disenfranchised

Lately, I get up every morning with a great deal of trepidation and dread.

Every morning, I wonder what unbelievable thing the Republican presidential nominee has said and which group of people he has insulted. Then I wonder what new attack is being carried out on the environment and the wild animals with which we supposedly coexist. And what new efforts by a bunch of misfits and their allies in Congress are aimed at selling our public lands to private companies for logging, mining and other destructive ventures? Then there are the daily reports of cruelty to animals and still more murders of innocent people by a group of thugs misappropriating the Muslim religion. . 

I have a good life. I am healthy, I have a beautiful daughter and a terrific son-in-law. I live in a fabulous house in a beautiful, if poor, state. I get to travel to incredible places several times a year. So why do I approach each new day with dread?

Why, indeed. It's because the world in which I grew up and have spent my adult life is disintegrating. Just think about it: 
  • ongoing, unwinnable wars in the Middle East
  • terrorism at home and abroad
  • climate change that threatens our very existence
  • pollution
  • corruption 
  • continuing efforts to exterminate wolves (especially the red wolf and Mexican gray wolf
  • continuing efforts to remove protections from and let states 'manage', i.e., hunt, endangered predators such as grizzly bears, gray wolves, cougars and other apex predators
  • the never-ending decimation by China and other Asian cultures of elephants, rhinoceros and pangolins, either for ivory trinkets or for their alleged powers to cure everything from impotence to cancer
  •  race-driven riots and murders

I feel powerless to do anything to stop these horrendous acts. After all, I am just one person. My voice, along with the voices of countless other 'little people' also concerned about the goings-on in our world, is not heard by the power brokers. Our so-called 'representatives' in our state and federal governments listen only to the wealthy individuals and companies that fund their campaigns.

Is it any wonder so many of the American people feel powerless and disenfranchised? Corporate greed always wins the day. Everything, it seems, is valueless unless it has some economic value. Where is the value in a beautiful seashore devoid of oil drilling platforms? Where is the intrinsic value in a grizzly bear or a wolf or an elk? Where is the value in an old-growth forest if it can't be clear-cut to provide timber to the insatiable demands of the Chinese?

I and others see the value in these things, but sadly, our government and our culture, along with governments and cultures around the world, do not. To Robert Mugabe, the long-serving dictator of Zimbabwe, baby elephants are nothing more than a commodity to sell to the Chinese. It doesn't matter that these elephants will suffer horribly by being torn from their families, shipped to a cold country and mistreated. To those in the US who want to set up a gold mine on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park, the peacefulness and serenity of the park that will be destroyed by a gold mine mean nothing. To the cattle industry in Montana, destroying the nation's only wild herd of bison to protect their precious cows seems a fine thing to do.

So yes, there is an undercurrent and a groundswell of anger and disillusionment among the American people, over a wide variety of issues. But sadly, I don't think next month's election will do anything to change our country for the better.