Wednesday, July 14, 2004

At Least He'll Be Able To See The Forest

"I, Robot" scored very well amongst focus groups composed entirely of impotent men, you know. Just sayin'.
Memo to Republicans: STATES' RIGHTS ARE DUMB.
At least they are the way you use them. The whole thing about conservatives is that they're supposed to be for a small federal government, and that any time a decision could be made by local government, it should be. And that's fine. I mean, it's STUPID, but it's fine as an alternative philosophy.
Me, I spent a couple of years working for a small-town newspaper interacting with "local government" on a regular basis, and as bad as big-time politicians are, at least they're motivated by large-scale evil. Local politics is like a cable access reality show where the prize is two pieces of bubble gum and a nickel. You give these people any more responsibility, and it's Lord of the Flies all over again next time the school board meets.
But modern Republicans aren't actually interested in "states' rights". They don't want to just hand issues over to the states willy-nilly. States' rights are for stuff they can't get away with nationally. Unless you're in the South, where "states' rights" just means "We shoulda won that goldang Civil War!".
Any time you hear "give greater control to the states", you're seeing an agenda that wouldn't fly nationally, but will do just fine in red-state militia land. Like abortion restrictions. Or forestry. Ol' Dubya wants to "give the states greater control" over whether to allow logging roads, and therefore LOGGING, in national forests. Currently, thanks to our last President, you can't do it. There's almost 60 million acres of roadless national forest that's supposed to fucking well stay that way. And Bush can't get away with overriding it nationally, so he wants to "let the states decide". Ha ha ha.
Here's one of the dirty little secrets about liberals. As much as we love to hug the trees in a strictly euphemistic sense, we actually don't live NEAR trees in any significant numbers. We live on the coasts and in the big cities where any trees that DO exist were put there by the government, right in the median strip or through that sad little hole in the sidewalk. Out there where most of the real trees are, that's Scary Conservative Land. And gee, I wonder what the scary conservatives in Scary Conservative Land are going to decide to do with their trees? State's rights!
Here in Minnesota, where we've had to clear a big treeless swath through the Twin Cities to make room for all the liberals, our Scary Republican Governor has already gone on the record as saying this plan to cut down more trees is "good for the environment. As the reddening light filters through the summer leaves, I look at the forest floor, and think to myself, "What the fuck am I doing out here? I need a Wi-Fi point! It's ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"Minnesotans can be assured that Governor Pawlenty will exercise the judgment necessary to balance forest access with environmental protection." - Pawlenty spokesman Dan Wolter, five seconds before running off-stage to put in a buy order on McCulloch stock.
Of course, just suggest that a state might have the right to decide whether or not gays can marry, and you'll see how far the conservative love of states' rights gets you. Sorry, Massachussetts! At least you're welcome to cut down the last dozen or so of your trees. An Office Max would look good right about there, anyway.