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This land WAS your land

katqanna

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Jan 20, 2013
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Location
Bozeman, MT
A really good article came up this morning from Hatch Magazine by Matthew Copeland - This land was your land. He opens with, "I am angry, and I am frightened. I believe that anyone who isn’t angry and frightened, isn’t paying attention. And I believe the time for polite discourse has passed."

Being an avid reader all my life, he mentioned numerous classics that were written, an American way of life, our west, the wilds, that would not have been possible without these public lands. Other than America the Beautiful, I have read them all and could add many more to the list. When I was younger and reading many of those books, I did not make the association to the public lands. Being born and raised in Texas , I was, in a sense, raised by wolves - by and surrounded by Republican privatization.

On my maternal side of the family there was the typical multiple generation southern landowners that had black slaves, now called paid hired servants. On my fathers side we were multiple generation landowners settling the Oregon coast in the mid 1800's, owning and operating fisheries, sawmills, logging and mining companies and foundaries - men that were the presidents of banks, mayors, commissioners, the power that legislated and controlled the resources. Ironically, my dad rebelled against all that privatization and joined the Air Force, yet settled in a state that has one of the lowest percentages of public lands in the US. So even though I wasnt personally raised in the family business of privatization anymore, I was surrounded by it on the landscape and still had no concept of our public land heritage until moving to Montana.

Copeland wrote:
What’s ultimately at stake here is a way of life. Who we are as a nation, how we live as a people and what it means to be American have all sprouted from the public soil of our great republic. Public land is the bedrock on which our national mythology is built. The cowboys, mountain men and pioneers wouldn’t have existed without public land. Huckleberry Finn is a public land story, as are Call of the Wild, Lonesome Dove, and A River Runs Through It. Don’t Fence Me In and America the Beautiful were written about a landscape with equal access for all. Public lands put the Wild in the Wild West. Our spirit of exploration and adventure is inexorably tethered to the distant horizon and predicated on the freedom to cross the ground in between. Without public land, hunting, fishing, hiking and camping are reduced to commercial transactions and restricted to those who can afford them. Are we still American without room in America to roam?

Since I was such an avid reader, and mostly of books that people would associate with male readership when I was a child, involving the wild, the outdoor hunting, backwoods experience, perhaps that helped to instill the values and appreciation for the public land heritage that resonates so strongly now that I am here in Montana, something that was not advocated in my upbringing or direct environment.

If we lose this public lands war, it affects so much, including the inspiring literature that I see oft quoted by each successive generation of readers; like exciting and adventurous bread crumb trails luring the readers to the wild places. Unless the land robbers embark on a revisionist history campaign to remove all evidence of this land heritage, like massive book burnings and censorship in our Public education and library systems, like they did with Catcher in the Rye, our American wilds/public lands literature will stand in judgement against this generation for allowing this theft to take place.

We should all be angry and frightened.
 
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Steelhead

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Dec 28, 2009
Messages
701
Response from Patty Murray (WA)
"The Sportsmen's Act of 2015 was introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) on February 5, 2015. It is omnibus legislation combining multiple bills to improve land management and conservation issues. The Murkowski-Heinrich legislation contains some controversial provisions, such as allowing hunters to carry guns on projects managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also contains some provisions I support, including reauthorization of the Federal Lands Transaction Facilitation Act, to encourage the purchase of non-federal lands with high recreation or conservation values in return for the sale of low-priority federal lands."
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Legit? Not legit?
 

James Riley

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Jan 10, 2015
Messages
1,821
katqanna, good post. We have a long and storied history in this country which includes conflict. Unfortunately, we also have a tendency toward the two-valued orientation, where everything has to be all or nothing, zero-sum. As part of this battle, the forces of greed have an extremely successful propaganda campaign which has appropriated the lies we tell about ourselves to their own cause.

Our "heroes", whether real or fictional, had to have been fallible human beings. But, to the extent they had good traits, they must have been like conservatives. To the extent they had bad traits, it must have been like liberals.

Take the Hollywood Western, for instance. "Our" hero almost invariable stood alone for the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the sod-buster, the small rancher, or even the citified townsman who lacked courage. He often got along with the Indians, or at least some of them. The evil-doer, on the other hand, was always the railroad magnate, the greedy banker, the land baron, big rancher, or water hog (in addition to their henchmen and common criminals). Yet somehow "our" hero has been appropriated by the modern day version of the latter as their own champion. How the hell did that happen?

Marketing! Our politicians put on a hat, fork a horse, and have some wide open spaces behind them in their political campaign, and all of a sudden America loves them. Our captains of Wall Street are self-reliant "cowboys" and rough and tumble "men of action". :rolleyes:

Oh well. Those same powers who are after our land will use the same methodology in taking our public lands. Those who fight for our public lands will be cast as environmentalists or socialists or dupes or regressives standing in the way of jobs, development, progress, the economy and all those things that are the *true America!"

The real question is, do we have a real hero in the American character who will come and save us like a Hollywood movie? Or is what we say about the best of ourselves really just a lie?

The thing I fear most is the law of entropy.
 
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