by William O. Douglas
I have not even made it 60 pages into this book but I can't hold back with my Book of the Week post. There are a few reasons for this. First, I am currently living in Dhaka which is not an easy place to get outdoors for that wilderness solitude time that I need. So I crave the outdoors even if it is "Just my 'magination". Second, I just finished a teen novel so a book with substance is very refreshing. Douglas is a great writer and he has an amazingly judicious outlook on the world (no wonder he was a supreme court justice). Third, with the upcoming election it is a painful time for me. It is just incredible that there are so many people out there that have such fanatically different points of view that are so far from the truth. So 30 pages into this book I found a great commentary on our government and (shocker) even though it is written in1961 it is still true.
So here are the pages scanned as I was not about to retype it. Start reading after the break:
I love Douglas' take on the fact that two groups can have such dichotomous opinions on the same topic. He seems to distill it down rather eloquently. It is not about a government agency's regulation of the public land, it is not about the right of the public to have a wilderness to enjoy, and it is not about herdsmen claim to public land. It is about a missing ethic in our country and the fact that we have a responsibility to be stewards of our land. If left to their own devices grazers would plunder our wildernesses for all that they have and then they would no longer have that as a resource. When they are regulated (and it can easily be argued that they are not regulated strictly enough) they complain that they have a right to the land. It is true they do have a right, and so do I.
All I can think about is that this is how the political climate is now. We are a divided country. We align ourselves with these two parties that do not match our beliefs because a 3rd party is not an option. We argue and disagree and support outlandish claims and carry a torch we might not even believe in because that is what we are supposed to do. Like Douglas, I believe that there are two (or more) opinions but there is only one RIGHT way to go. If we all look at the issues from an educated and non-emotional perspective it becomes very clear. There are these "issues" that the parties are oposite extremes and if we really look at it there is only one truth.
As an example let us look at abortion. There are two opposing arguments but only one right way to go. Our government should have no voice in the matter. There have been all these appalling statements about rape and totally uneducated statements about the resulting pregnancy. There is no reason that there should be a law about abortions. This is a decision to be made by only one person and that would be the person carrying the fetus. If someone decides that they are not in a place to take care of a child shouldn't we applaud them for making the right choice? The alternative is a child that will not be loved or cared for, do we really need more of those?
I love the question, "How can a woman vote republican after all that has been said?" Indeed it would seem crazy but what the Democrat questioner does not understand is that there are women that will. Why? It is not because of logic! We are all so intrenched in our parties that the reality is it does not matter what their policies are anymore. True, you should vote for the person/party that you think will make intelligent decisions and the "issues" are a way of testing there decision making paradigms. So even if one of your party's stances does not match, you should vote for the person/party that will do a better job. But, there comes a point when a stance on an issue will make you wonder weather that is the person/party that you want making decisions about your land, government spending, policies, etc. I will say this, I dream of a presidential candidate that runs on a platform of truth. Where the government is responsible for decisions of truth and justice. Not a poster boy for outlandish opinions and uninformed educations.
I want a country with small government and not because of some blind party allegiance but because if people did what was right we would not need big government. We would finally be able to get our spending under control and become a giving country. Not for our own self interests but because it is right. Why do we trade parties in the white house and congress and no real progress is made? Our government is broken and based solely on money. Lobbyists have more power than truth, religion has more influence than what is right. So go out and vote and realize that you actually didn't decide a thing. Here is where you can really make a difference: In your figurative and literal back yard.
Shop locally, not because it has anything to do with politics but because you are giving money to a person business that you can hold accountable. You can go see their farm or shop and see how things are done there. Imagine my lunacy if I had this crazy notion that illegal emigrants should not be allowed into the US and then I buy the cheapest produce in the store. Produce that can only be that cheap becasue it was harvested by low wage earners that probably do not have citizenship. That is called hypocrisy. Local businesses also do not give money to lobbyists in Washington so your money is removed from politics and politics starts to become about issues... so weird. This has gotten a bit out of hand so I will keep the rest short and sweet.
Know your neighbors, eat healthy, get outside and see the beauty of the world, give back to your community, stop using your car for short trips, break bread with friends and family regardless of opinions and be able to discuss different views. The word compassion is incredible but my definition is a bit different that Websters. I would say that it is the ability to understand where someone is coming from without having to agree with them. It is non-judgmental and it is not about changing them. When someone says something I just don't understand I think to myself, "How can they feel that way?" It is not because my poop does not stink, it is more that I have finally realized opposing views are not any less legitimate than mine and people believe their own opinions. If you want to change the way people think you have to speak truth.