It's Our Birthright, Asshole

I have a confession to make. In a lot of ways, the current political combat isn't terribly personal for me. I'm a straight white guy. My family has all been in this country for generations. I write software, and I make enough money that the GOP tax plan isn't really a problem for me.

So my work and my stake in this issue comes first from compassion. I feel the pain and suffering of my friends and neighbors, but when I'm honest their struggles are not mine.

But this time I'm feeling it.

I believe deeply in the American heroic. I believe in landing on the moon and building the Model T and flying across the Atlantic. I believe in the Interstate Highway System and the The New Deal. I believe in Okies traveling West to protect their families and soldiers headed to the front to defend their neighbors.

And I believe in the parks. I believe in those grand vistas, those mountains for Americans to climb and our heritage to the world. Those moments of stillness away from what we build so we know what we protect. I was raised in the parks. I grew up kayaking the swamps of Florida, climbing the rocks of Tennessee, and traversing the deserts of New Mexico. A lot of my sense of place and heritage is based on and around the lands our government has chosen to protect and to offer as our commons.

I will admit to a deep seated American ideology that connects with the land. It is ours, dammit. That land does not belong to the Federal Government, it doesn't belong to the GOP, and it sure as shit doesn't belong to the President. Those people are the just the stewards of the land. It belongs to you and me. It belongs to the American people. It belongs to all of us.

The President has ceded control of most of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments to the state of Utah, which almost certainly will try to sell them off to private companies for mineral exploitation. Earlier this week, the Senate approved an amendment to their awful tax bill that would open up 1.5 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil prospecting.

I want it back. I want all of it back.