Posted by: greentangle | November 5, 2017

Continued Murkiness

This morning I took a walk by the Lake, which is still brown and murky after the storm nine days ago.

There was a lot of massive destruction along the Lakewalk which is going to take hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. The major areas of damage were by Canal Park and Brighton Beach, but here’s a little spot close to me.

You can’t tell from that angle but the right side of that asphalt is hanging over open air.

I read the new book American Wolf recently which focuses on wolf watching in Yellowstone and the life and murder of a famous wolf there, but this is less a book review than a few thoughts stirred by the book and the times.

Most of the events described in the book happened during the years I lived in the park, and I watched some of the wolves and met some of the men who cried over O-Six’s death. But this was just one rotation of the apparently unending cycle of celebrity wolves being killed legally and illegally by local residents; it has happened before and since the events of this book.

I was always happy to see a wolf but even if it had been an option for me, I never would have been one of the watchers who spent days and years in Lamar Valley waiting to see them. I think there’s an understandable motivation to want to reconnect with wildness and the natural world but I don’t share the obsession with one species.

Which is not to say that I agreed with local residents’ attitudes toward the wolves. One said she couldn’t understand why people cared about them because they were just mean dogs. Others hated them because the elk population had been reduced to the point where people could no longer shoot one from their pickup at the side of the road, or make easy thousands of dollars guiding out of state “hunters”. Others simply hated anything involving the federal government.

There is an unending continental divide between the hunters and ranchers on one side and the ecologists and wildlife watchers on the other, just as deep as the divide between the red and the blue.

But deep as that divide is, the fact is that on the issues which matter most to me, Democrats don’t represent me any more than Republicans do. Yes, Trump and his crew are loathsome beyond words, and if you’re concerned about human issues, there may be a bigger difference.

But for what I care most about? It’s mostly only a matter of  rhetorical platitudes instead of outright contempt. It was Montana’s Democratic Senator Tester who first added a budget rider to eliminate wolves from Endangered Species Act protection regardless of what science and the courts said. It’s Minnesota’s Democratic Senator Klobuchar who has tried to do the same this year, Minnesota’s Democratic Senator Franken who supported delisting, Minnesota’s Democratic Representative Nolan pushing for sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters. Their true values are very clear to me.

 

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