We took the precautionary measure of spending the last Saturday before Election Day in nature.
I fear for our public lands with a Trump White House and Republican Congress; I envision forests of failed casino-hotels and fields of fracking rigs (the latter of which will be accompanied by earthquakes that are totally natural and coincidental; Oklahoma’s just having a seizure). Though I am saddened and embarrassed by the presidential election results, I am not surprised. I never underestimate Americans’ willful ignorance and blind hatred, traits Trump embraced and exploited.
As the fates would have it, I just read a book that concludes:
“Once blinded emotionally by such hate… (t)hese people cannot be changed. …the haters must be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, outfinanced, and outvoted. Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based on an understanding of natural processes.”
That passage is courtesy renowned biologist L. David Mech’s 1970 book The Wolf, and it still applies broadly to human beings in 2016. But I take heart that the haters in this case were again outnumbered and outvoted, the second time in 16 years in which the majority has been robbed of its actual choice for president by an outdated and unbalanced system.
I was as unprepared for Saturday’s damp chill as the world is for a Trump presidency (or as Trump is to actually be president). The weather forecasters were about as on-target as pollsters; both are only accurate within a 20-minute window. What was promised as a partly cloudy day in the mid-50s was dreary and struggling to crack 40; I longed for my forgotten mittens like America will long for Barack Obama within, oh, let’s say four months (and we as a nation will miss his decency, diplomacy and pragmatism regardless of whether we as individuals are willing to admit it).
The clouds sunk slowly and ominously throughout the day, obscuring the distant Buffalo Peaks. I thought of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop.” By the end of the tune, the narrator’s frustration with society boils over, as has many citizens’ in recent days, and he expresses a sentiment that’s in heavy rotation right now: “I’m packing my bags for the Misty Mountains…”
But I love it here. Even the frosty, forbidding days. Driving to and from the trail on Saturday, we passed numerous hunting parties comprised, no doubt, of people whose sociopolitical views differed from ours. Yet the silly barriers of party affiliations are easily broken when you share something, in this case affection for what Mech called “the whole of nature … the unspoiled wilderness.” The irony that’s sadly lost on many is that the Republicans they keep sending to office on the basis of being pro-gun are the very people trying to lease and sell the public lands they have on which to shoot for recreation and sport.
We know from history and comic books that villains sometimes win the day, but fear and hate are inevitably transcended even if the battle forward requires sustained pushes backward. The numbers favor progress, and numbers don’t lie. Unless they come from a TV weather forecaster or political poll.