Wild, wild lands

Dear President Trump,

Once the House passes it, will you sign the new wilderness bill the Senate just passed 92-8? If you do sign it, how will you play it off as a win for you? I keep imagining you crouched over the presidential signing desk wearing a black and red plaid lumberjack shirt, frowning as you squint at the paper. Actually, most of the image is realistic – it’s just the lumberjack shirt that’s probably not going to happen. I think I keep seeing you in it because I can’t figure out how else you could pretend this was your great idea.

When I read about the bill yesterday I got choked up. Reading about the new Medgar Evers monument and the list of large swaths of land that would be protected, as in no roads and no development whatsoever, I really did get emotional. I flashed on weekend hikes with my dad when we were kids and what it was like out in the woods on camping trips and felt some hope that those places and place like them will be protected.

I think my verklemptness came from three things: 1) that so much wild land would get to stay wild; 2) shock that the Senate, the GOP controlled Senate, would support such a major piece of environmental legislation and pass it in such an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, and 3) a seriously niggly worry that there must be a catch, that I/we must be missing something because this seems too good to be true. And frankly, I’m still worried about #3 and still worried that you wont’ sign the thing. I don’t trust you or the GOP Senate people at all and even though I can’t come up with a plausible way this bill could somehow be a cloaked anti-environmental ploy, I’m feeling wary.

Reading this morning about how you’re pressuring the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep obsolete coal power plants in operation in that state only fuels my concern. However, your naked motivation to keep your bestie, Robert Murray – coal magnum – happy is more like it. As awful as it is to see this playing out, it helps keep things from feeling so topsy turvy; the bad guy (you) is doing the bad things (as usual) and reasonable others are resisting.

But maybe, just maybe some moderate GOP Senators get that you are weakened and they can (and should, if they want to remain in office) actually pass some prosocial legislation. I’m not holding my breath, but we’ll see.

May wild lands safely remain wild.
May we be happy to take care of our planet.
May we all behave as though we get that our health depends on our planet’s health.
May this positive-appearing development really be positive.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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