Monday, December 29, 2008

Please Pass the Crow

Opinions are like vacuum cleaners. Most everyone has one and all of them suck. One of the many radities of blogging is the ability to slather my opinion on myriad topics all over the screen with very little accountability and hardly any occasion to defend my stance. I can also invent wicked new words like “radities.”

When I was in 6th grade my sister came running into the house after school sobbing. She was wet, dirty, bloodied and bruised. She said a jr. high school boy had roughed her up and thrown her in the canal as she walked home from school. I darted out of the house and sprinted up to the canal. There he was, with a henchman, picking on more kids. He was noticeably older than I. And bigger. I got in his face, and he got back in mine. Without warning I threw my best Clubber Lang right hook, square in his mouth. I’d never punched anyone before, but I’d seen enough action movies to know that when you punched someone in the face they fell down unconscious and your hand never hurt. Oddly, this 14-year-old heathen barely flinched and my hand felt like I’d crushed it with a pin roller. He simply raised his left hand to his lips, wiped the trickle of blood, and smirked. His eyes narrowed in anger. Mine widened in terror. I pivoted and ran as fast as I could the opposite way. He caught me of course and proceeded to ground-n-pound my cranium.

Blogging is similar to my experience confronting the bully. I can take my potshots, share my oft-bizzare and totally inappropriate opinion, then turn and run…hoping the informed reader doesn’t catch me and beat me down with silly things like facts, dates, and proof. But in the rare occasion that such a thing would happen, or an event occurs that proves me wrong, I’m boy-man enough to sack up and admit my error. So today I come before you, a humble faux-hawked, bearded boy-man, admitting that I was wrong.

Some months ago I posted this opinion piece out of frustration. For those that don’t want to read or re-read it, I was venting about Utah being a red state and how completely FUTILE it is to vote democrat (for president) in the land of the beehive. I then ranted about how cause crusaders waste their effort. For example, a person that lives a vegan lifestyle due to animal cruelty is a complete and total joke. My choosing to not buy the T-bone already packed in cellophane on the butcher’s shelf is not going to save the life of that cow. It is dead. And one person’s effort to affect that industry is laughable. You cannot change the system. End of story, period, goodbye.

I stand corrected.

Last week I caught this story about a University of Utah student named Tim DeChristopher that single-handedly defeated the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in southern Utah. The guy waltzed into an auction of oil and gas drilling leases and picked up a paddle. He raised the bidding paddle as often as he could, purchasing 22,000 acres of land with absolutely no intention or ability to pay. Further, he effectively drove up the prices by bidding so that other entities paid up to three times the reasonable price for the land. Eventually, the fuzz caught on and federal agents removed DeChristopher from the bidding room.

There are a few serious issues now for the BLM. Like any government agency, there is a tremendous amount of red tape to clear up and policy to follow. There is no “mulligan” here. They can’t just say, “ok, well now that the punk kid is gone, let’s start over.” There are also winning bidders that don’t want to run the risk of losing their bids. By the time the red tape clears and the dust settles, the Obama administration will be in power…and that land just isn’t going to come back up for sale. These people want that land for drilling, and if they have to pay inflated prices…so be it. As geologist Jason Blake so eloquently stated in the New York Times article, “they were hosed.”

Listen, I’m no environmentalist. I’m not saying that I don’t love and appreciate the environment, because I do. But I’m not convinced that saving land near preserved areas is more important than independence from foreign oil. I’d LOVE alternative energy sources, but drilling is technology and equipment that we already have in place. Funding terrorism through Middle East oil is evil, and I want to get away from that.

I have got to give much love and respect to Tim DeChristopher, even though I don’t necessarily agree with his philosophy. As evidenced by this television interview, he is clearly well spoken, intelligent, and informed. He completely understood what he was doing and is fully willing to take on whatever action the system takes. It looks like he has an imposing legal team ready to defend him pro bono and it has been rumored that environmentalist groups may come to his side and actually purchase the land that he bought at auction, clearing him from any personal financial responsibility. This guy is a hero to environmentalists. He’s not MY hero per se, but he has emphatically proven me wrong. It is clearly possible for a single voice to be heard when the speaker is smart, persistent, and a little devious.

Well-played young man. Well-played indeed.

1 comment:

jacksonx03 said...

I missed your first blue spruce post, but don't feel hopeless about Utah being a red state. Over 34% of all Utahns voted for Barack Obama. That's not too bad, with nearly 57% voting for BO in SL county. Not bad at all for Utah!(FYI-I did not vote for BO- when it comes to presidential elections my biggest determining factor rests on the fact that the pres. appoints SC justices and those guys have TONS of power- that being said, I am not devastated about BO being pres. in fact I think he will represent the US very well internationally). Unlike you, I'd say I am conservative. Meaning that I don't want many changes in the constitution or for it to be intrepreted liberally. However I would also say I am a moderate. I have been a registered democrat and even interned for 2 democrats. Then I switched to unaffiliated and now I am a registered Republican. I figure since the local elections (which I feel are some of the most important) are overwhelmingly red is where the most action is needed and where I need to be the most involved. So in effort to balance out the ultra-conservative, scary, right-wing I am registered republican. I feel that I can do most good there within the party.