Sunday, September 16, 2007

Losing Touch With Reality

In 1985 I made a trip with my father on motorcycles. He on a BMW RS80 and I on a rather shoddier and cheaper, but nonetheless functional Yamaha 650 across the States from Ohio to the West Coast and back again. It was an epic trip and one that I remember well and remember with great fondness, even the sweltering heat of Kansas, the rolling miles of corn above which we couldn’t see it was so high, the scorching dryness of death Valley and even the trip on 80 from Sacramento to Reno where we got bogged down in 15 inches of snow. There were hundreds of beautiful, breathtaking sights on the way which of course included the Grand Canyon and I understood for the first time why some people referred to this part of the world as God’s country. One of my most memorable experiences was the fascinating beauty of Colorado’s Western slope, when one has left the sheer ruggedness of the Rockies. We wound our way down from the Rocky Mountains spending a night at Steamboat Springs and then taking the beautiful highway 131 and then 133 on to the stunning Black Canyon of the Gunnison via little towns called Basalt, Gypsum and Granite. From there we rode on to Durango and the next day we visited Mesa Verde National Park with the spectacular cave dwellings of the Pueblo People.

One would imagine with a natural treasure trove such as this one, every effort would be made to conserve it and who better to do that than “conservatives.” But unfortunately the label is a misnomer in this case. It turns out that the White House, ever greedy for more oil for its buddies has turned this once magnificent corner of the United States and turned it into an industrial junk yard. I can already hear the right wing protests that the area affected is tiny, that the search for resources is necessary to rid us of the evil Middle Eastern monkey we have on our backs who keeps selling us oil, that you can’t really see the oil and gas drilling units or the thousands of trucks which now thunder up Highway 131.

However the local population, mostly stoic conservatives themselves see it differently. Colorado, the epitome of the red state is slowly turning blue as more and more of its populace react angrily to the rape of their once pristine state by the Bush Administration as Karl Vick of the Washington Post reports. Landowners report black sludge and sulfurous odors in their homes. Hydraulic drilling for gas fractures the subterranean rock formations which enclose and contain the drinking water wells and reservoirs for the region.

"I can only speak for myself and I'm a registered Republican, but last year I voted a straight Democratic ticket. First time in my life," said Bob Elderkin, 68, …."The Republicans have kind of lost touch with reality."

We may never know how George Bush managed to get elected a second time, whether by stealing the Ohio vote or whether there just were too many people out there so blinded by so little that they couldn’t see this freight train of horrors upon which the Bush Administration was riding. But this too is to be added onto the growing list of disasters that can be attributed to them and the entire Republican Party. They have managed to destroy some of America’s most sublime scenery, some of its most dazzling landscapes for short term profit and power and they will still defend their actions. I can only hope for a backlash against the Republicans of such magnitude that they finally stop and think about what it is they doing to the country they pretend to be representing.

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