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Know the West

Advocates aren't citizens, says Watson

  I was surprised to learn in Assistant Interior Secretary Rebecca Watson's response to High Country News that I am not a citizen because I am involved in environmental advocacy groups (HCN, 2/21/05: HCN has it wrong on Bush). Watson writes, "Furthermore, the term, ‘citizen-proposed wilderness’ belies the very kind of truth to which you attach so much import. ‘Citizen-proposed,’ in this context is a misnomer; a more accurate term might be ‘advocacy-group proposed.’ "

In my work at an advocacy group, I always believed that I was representing the interests of the citizen members who donated to help pay my salary. When I joined other environmental groups, I believed that I was paying others to represent my interests. I guess I should’ve left citizenship to those wealthy enough to pay for their own personal representatives in natural resource issues, and not risked having the Interior Department revoke my citizenship.

Forrest Fleischman
Eugene, Oregon