Spring Waning Bloodroot Moon
As winter loosens its grip on our state, the legislature begins to tighten theirs. In the last half of the first session of the 2011-2012 legislature, budget bills dominate the news. From my perspective as both a liberal and an environmentalist, the news is grim. Environmental permitting, a public process designed to tease out and prevent negative impacts, has been weakened. A bridge over the St. Croix, negotiated to a smaller, less intrusive version, has suddenly come back to life, bigger and more expensive than ever. Up until the Japanese disaster, the nuclear moratorium in the state seemed headed for repeal. Last night, in what must be one of the more peculiar–not to mention outrageous actions–an amendment passed attaching to an omnibus environmental budget bill a provision to fund state parks by cutting down black walnut trees in two of them, White River and Frontenac. Let’s see, cutting down trees to save the state parks. Like selling the children to support the family or auctioning off the planes to save the airlines.
Since the halcyon days of the 60’s, it’s been tough for those of us with liberal to radical political sympathies. Victories have been few and defeats numerous. It is possible to despair, to wonder if a sense of communal responsibility will ever again influence policy; but, it is in precisely these circumstances where those of us with a historical perspective and active engagement must not allow despair to over run our convictions. To shuck off politics now is to insure that the field is left to those whose politics create the need for us.
No, as the conservative hand closes around the gavel in state after state and in Congress as well, those of us in the opposition must be more vigorous, more active, more vocal.