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The Big Lie of Republican Environmental Values

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This article in today’s Huffington Post, Trump Swiftly Blows Up His One Decent Conservation Action, is both stunning and devastating.

Last August, President Trump signed a multi-billion dollar public lands law that funded the preservation and protection of our national parks, forests, monuments, and wilderness lands. I gave grudging admiration to Trump and breathed a sigh of relief that he had done the right thing to maintain our natural treasures. Now, this article outlines how just a few days after the election, Trump began dismantling the entire bill and started work on drilling and mining permits which will wreck our natural treasures. The process in August was just a charade used to help two Republican senators get reelected, one in Colorado and one in Montana. He never intended the land law to be real.

Behind Trump from left, Sen. Gardner of Colorado who lost re-election, Rep. Young the anti-environment Republican from Alaska, and Sen. Daines of Montana who won re-election. Aug 4, 2020. Click to enlarge
Behind Trump from left, Sen. Gardner of Colorado who lost re-election, Rep. Young the anti-environment Republican from Alaska, and Sen. Daines of Montana who won re-election. Aug 4, 2020. Click to enlarge
While we are no longer shocked by anything Trump does, this is such a heartbreaking story for all of us, especially those who frequently use and value our national parks and preserves. Montana U.S. Senator Daines was the beneficiary of this in his re-election. It was also intended to help Colorado Sen Gardner, but fortunately, he lost re-election. Both these politicians have dirt on their hands from this action. And this filthy trick by President Trump may have preserved the Republican majority in the United States Senate. Whether those two senators won or lost their elections, Trump was planning to undo all of this after the election. It was a puppet show for the voters in Montana and Colorado.

Even worse, President Biden will not be able to reverse these oil drilling and mining permits. This is Trump’s best effort to mimic Hitler who, in his last days when he knew he had lost, ordered the destruction of German infrastructure. Trump is doing the maximum damage he can to our country on his way out of power…and giving gifts to the already wealthy mega corporations.

The point is this: “Conservative” politicians, those against supporting our wilderness preserves and parks, know that a vast majority of Americans support our parks and preserves. When campaigning, they pretend to share this belief with us, then betray it once elected. This corrupt maneuver that Trump has pulled off is evidence that the uber-right knows we value conservation of our natural and wild heritage - and they don’t give a damn. This process, and the Republican Party’s silence, must be remembered when they campaign in future. Shame on them.

At all levels, Republicans continue to be silent as Trump takes a sledge hammer to our country. Let us not forget. Especially when our local state senator, Doug Ericksen comes up for election. He is a particularly cynical creature and great admirer of Trump,

To Republican and conservative readers: I am old enough to remember when Republicans were the true conservationists and the Democrats were all for smokestacks and jobs for blue collar and union workers, the environment be damned. Those issues slowly reversed in the 1960s and reemerged in the 1970s with the environmental movement being a leftist, liberal and radical movement - one that is today embraced by the vast majority of Americans and the Democratic Party. In the 1960s, the Republicans shifted to ignoring our natural inheritance because they could not stomach agreeing with the young people whom the Republicans considered to be trash. At that point, the Republicans turned their backs on our natural treasures, and the culmination of that is this sad disappearing act that Trump has pulled on us. Shame on the Republicans.

Comments by Readers

David A. Swanson

Nov 21, 2020

Talk about republicans turning their backs on this issue, the EPA was initiated by Dick Nixon. As a consequence, it must be the case that natural botanicals are in such short supply that Rudy Giuliani had to use a sharpie to touch up his sideburns before his latest  press confernece. The liquid running down the sides of his face is a fitting metaphor for the meltdown that republicans have undergone in their lack of concern for facts, science, and the fragile world we inhabit.

Because of their stance on environmental issues, I not only voted for republicans like Dan Evans, I actively campaigned for John Spellman over DIxie Lee Ray back in the day when regulated capitalism was working well for many of us. The conversion of the republican party into a cult embracing  cowboy capitalism and  the purging of all who did not conform to that belief pushed me completely into the Democratic party, which, while not perfect, is as far from the organized criminal operation that the republican party has become under the “Don” as Dixie Lee Ray’s stance on oil tankers in Puget Sound was from Warren Magnuson’s.

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Michael Riordan

Nov 22, 2020

I love David’s phrase “the Don” and will probably use it in my future writings.

Turns out I encountered the Don in May 1987, at a publication party for The Art of the Deal at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. I was in that opulent, god-forsaken city for the annual American Booksellers Association convention because that fall Simon & Schuster was going to publish what became my magnum opus, The Hunting of the Quark, and I wanted to help them promote it. But they didn’t throw any party for me or my book, sad to say, so I instead snuck into to his.

As I was leaving after I’d had my fill of wine, hors d’ouvres and his bloviations, and was walking past the glittering slot machines, spinning roulette wheels, and craps tables filled with raucous gamblers, who should suddenly appear right before my wondering eyes but the Don himself, flanked by two muscular bodyguards in well-tailored Italian suits who looked like they spent every morning working out in the gym.

You get the picture, I hope. Need I say more?

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