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... and the rivers clapping their hands

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Thank you for your Dec. 22/Jan. 5 issue "What a Mess." The entire Beltway community -- Republicans, Democrats, media/corporate America -- is busily sweeping the ugly, and illegal, Bush legacy under the red carpet being rolled out for Obama. Bad enough that the Constitution lies crumpled in the trash (not the recycle) bin, but most Westerners are now only beginning to wake up to the damage done to the public landscape.

I would like to particularly applaud Hal Herring's biting commentary on habitat damage related to oil and gas drilling and reporter intimidation. Hal says, "We saw citizens willing, and even eager, to toss away the planet's most visionary environmental laws for an ideology, or the promise of a dollar." Though Bush & Co. clearly violated ethical and legal standards all over the map, we the citizens were culpable in this pillage, as well. Without the vigilance of the media -- does anyone remember the Fourth Estate? -- and "we the people," history will repeat itself, and our public lands will again bear the scars.

Unlike Mr. Herring, however, I am not surprised to see "a conservative dream die, because it became too perverted to survive." In wildlife biology, it is commonly known that when the foxes are guarding the henhouse, their voracious appetites will soon deplete the resource and result in community collapse.

In the end, I do not find Hal's commentary "depressing," but uplifting. The cathartic effect of "truthiness" is like a good blues song -- when it finally comes out in such a lyrical form, then it is time to dance and celebrate the re-institution of an honest and open society. I can almost hear the mountains singing from here!

Paul Rogers
Logan, Utah


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