Tuesday, May 8, 2007

To silence a voice

Every night and morning this time of year, the song of the white-wing doves fills the air. "Oooh, oooh, oooh." I'm sure I'm not doing their sounds much justice. Ole Petey Mesquitey from Tuscon, Ariz., on his radio show says they sound like, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?" That is really close. It really is beautiful. It makes you feel like nature has come into your house. It reminds us humans that we are a part of the animal kingdom no matter how much we try to deny it. I feel like this when the red wing blackbirds perch in our backyard tree or the cicadas, too. In North Carolina, I remember when the song of the frogs would almost overwhelm me. I've heard the Atwater prairie chicken, now critically endangered but once numbered in the millions, would literally take over the prairie with their loud booms. How I would love to hear their call. Now, our supposedly "conservative" leaders in this country are forging ahead with their bigoted security wall with Mexico. I have serious problems with Michael Chertoff waiving the Endangered Species Act and other environmental protections in the name of throwing up a border wall as quickly as possible. Conserving should be a conservative value. The wall, really two fences and a road that can handle speeds of up to 50 mph, will take up an enormous amount of land with a 150-foot-wide easement needed. Since I presume, they are not going to be following the contour of the Rio Grande, they really are taking more than 150 feet. They are also taking whatever is behind the wall along the riverbanks. In the Rio Grande Valley, farming has been king for hundreds of years, and with modern development, less than 5 percent of wild lands remain here. A lot of them are hugging the Rio Grande. That includes Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, Texas Nature Conservancy's Southmost Preserve and the Sabal Palms Audubon Center. These are tiny places, and the government wants to rip a wall through them without for a second considering the impact it will have. So many of our rare plants will be lost, and so much critically needed habitat will be lost. Why? Simply because we rushing to build this security wall. There are ways to make a security wall less harmful to wildlife. Small openings that humans can't get through, for instance, would be helpful. If we took our time building this wall of hate (You know that is what it is. We are friends with Mexico.), we could mitigate the loss of habitat by expanding these preserves and transplanting many of the plant species. We could build a wall to the rear of the preserves and have a border checkpoint opening during the day allowing people through to visit the parks. Then, nothing would be destroyed but farm land, and the government could reach their cherished goal of banning Mexicans. Meat-eaters in this county revel in their ignorance every time they shove another mouthful of meat into their mouths. The same goes for this border wall. It is plain ignorance to rush ahead with something like this. What is the rush? Are Mexicans going to somehow do something to us in the interim? Please. Remember the rush to go to war with Iraq? A little patience would have been a virtue there. Building walls does not bring peace. Only taking them down does. Remember, Republicans what Ronald Reagan said at the Berlin Wall, "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" This was a shout for peace, and as much as I hated Reagan, he deserved credit for his stance. We should be working on opening the border, not making it tighter. Look at Europe. It is achieving greater peace than ever by taking down the borders between Germany, France, Poland and the rest of the countries there. Once, Poland was the Mexico to Germany. Now, the Germans appreciate the Polish so much more because they don't look at them over a closed border anymore. Our country wants world trade, but our leaders want to live in a box. Go figure. Our obsession with a border wall is threatening some of the last precious wild space where I live. It is not right that the government is acting so rashly. Will we not be satisfied until all of nature has been obliterated? Which animals' voices will we silence next?

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