In these United States, the bad guys are relentless and have unlimited funding. The good guys dislike the smell of their own sweat and still believe that virtue has amorphous power to prevail against all odds.
No wonder the democratic republic founded on a thesis of checks and balances died a dozen years ago and nobody noticed.
Illustrations abound. Nay, they inundate us daily. They flood us, overwhelm us, numb our senses, beat us into a miasmic mass of helpless resignation.
A microcosm: southern New Mexico is blessed with public lands whose unique characteristics are less spectacularly beautiful than, say, the Grand Canyon; whose historical importance is less obvious than, say, Mesa Verde's; whose archeological value is less self-evident than, say, the great pyramids; whose thundering silence, unchanged openness, vistaed hopes and majestic instancy feed only souls hungering after solace, not not egos bottomless with greed. They deserve preservation, these lands; protection from the predations of the land-rapers, a license of passage to generations unborn.
I came to live here because of these lands. They are my church, my place to recover from wounds, to think, to simply be. I want to share them with anyone and everyone who will respect them, cherish them, leave them simply to be.
Of course I joined the movement to protect them in perpetuity from from human abuse.
Proposals were written, hearings were held, viewpoints were aired, money was spent, alliances were formed, lies were told, facts were presented, "stakeholders" were asked to comment, experts were called to pontificate, ignoramuses were allowed to prattle, legislation was written and more hearings were held.
At the last of these, the same old well-funded prevaricators, distorters and transmogrifiers turned out in force, spewing the same old bilge that had been refuted many times before. Sen. Tom Udall, the junior of New Mexico's senators, both of whom supported the wilderness legislation, played prosecuting attorney. His skilled cross-examination stripped each of the nay-sayers of any remaining vestige of credibility.
The legislation, which had already passed the U.S. House of Representatives, seemed headed toward passage by the Senate and signature into law by the President.
But the corporate and private interests that control us do their real work not in public hearings; they work behind the closed doors of the inner offices inside the Beltway. There the pressures were brought to bear upon our gutless public servants that caused the wilderness bill to languish unvoted on. The lame duck congressional session ended and decades of dedicated citizen legwork within the system died.
The lemmings of Teabagistan are chortling with glee in the usual venues of ignorance: call-in radio and ungrammatical letters to local rags that purport to be newspapers, bumper stickers and bill boards, church message boards and crude trade association pamphlets.
By the time a new people's movement of enlightened conservationists can be formed -- IF such can ever be re-formed -- the lands will have been devastated, raped of their historic, cultural and natural beneficence.
Just on the matter of public land management alone, similar dramas of dreams deferred are playing out in Utah, Idaho, Montana and throughout the west. Take Utah: some of our most precious heritage lands have long been coveted by the Midases of extraction and the Huns of off-roading. A death-bed sell-out in the last days of Bush II gave the destroyers license to do their worst; it has taken nearly two years for the Dr. Kidglove administration to reverse the Interior Department rules that allowed their criminal acts. But without supportive action by the whores of Congress, this will come to naught.
The bad guys will win, as they always do in these United States, simply because they do not relent, and they have unlimited finances. And because they really don't have any opposition.
No sweat, right?