Obama takes second best


Obama's speech last night at Invesco stadium was, hands down, one of the best I have ever heard. It was a night for the history books, even if the Republicans did their best to distract us from that fact with their left-field nomination of Sarah Palin. But Obama's speech was only the second best of all the speeches I heard this week in Denver. The best was by Walt Gasson.

Gasson is a Wyoming native, a sportsman, and a Republican. And he's "mad as hell" about the impacts that the oil and gas boom is having on his state. He's not opposed to energy development done right -- and in the right places -- but he says that the heedless drilling going on right now is the biggest threat to wild lands and wildlife that he's ever seen.

Wyoming residents, he says, are  losing their "home places," "the places we live for, the places, we love, the places we bequeath to our children like precious family heirlooms. That's the true price of drilling in the West -- the loss of home place for each of us, for our children and our childrens' children."

I won't tell recount his whole speech, because we're hoping that he'll write for High Country News in the future, and I'd hate to steal his thunder. But I don't think that anyone who listened to it will ever look at oil and gas quite the same, even if they never make it to Wyoming to see the land that we've sacrificed at the altar of cheap energy.

As Gasson put it, "maybe you're never going to stand on a butte in the Red Desert and Be able to see a hundred miles. Maybe you'll never experience that silence so deep you can feel it in your soul. But let me ask you this: don't you think that somebody should? Even if you never see it or touch it or feel it, wouldn't you just like to know it's there?"

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