SOME FEELINGS RUN DEEP
The old saw advises us to “Think globally, and act locally,” yet that principle was never honored in my parents’ house. My dad was an introverted intellectual. To him, everything was global – in fact, once he built his telescope, even “global” seemed way too narrow for his focus.
I didn’t know there was such a thing as local politics until I was in high school and found a job interning for the Montgomery County Council. I lived then where I live now – in
It took me decades to change my outlook. But this fall, that finally happened. I actually gave a damn about local politics. I cared enough to walk into the ballot box during my state’s primary and cast a certain vote for Montgomery County Executive (our name for the CEO of the county government). I had never cared that much about the state government, and here I was, chomping at the bit to send a message about my county. Obviously, some issue had gotten under my skin.
The contest for
I didn’t follow all of the local elections as closely as the Executive race, but I cared about others too. Walking into the polls that morning, I had one sheet of paper in my hands. It was a flyer my family received in the mail a couple of weeks earlier that identified which candidates took money from developers, and which ones did not. I voted straight up. Single issue, baby! To me, this was war – nature versus greed. Good versus evil. Up versus down. I hadn’t seen such a simple problem since first grade arithmetic.
I’ve never considered myself a stereotypical environmentalist. Nobody I know spends less time outdoors than I do. It’s sad but true. My vacation time is largely spent writing in front of a computer. And when I do go into nature, my ideal day would be spent studying a philosophy book and occasionally looking up to see what a beautiful place I have chosen to read in. But the fact that I haven’t incorporated nature into my lifestyle doesn’t mean I fail to acknowledge our debt to her. It also doesn’t mean I feel free to despoil her in the name of “economics” or “progress.” In fact, just as many of my fellow single-issue voters seem to care only about the defenseless, beautiful human fetus. I possess a visceral passion to protect the defenseless, beautiful natural world over which we have been given custodial responsibility. We’re sure making a mess of that responsibility, aren’t we? Seriously, it’s mid-December in
A few years ago, my family had a membership in a local community swimming pool. In fact, we had been members for years. The pool owned a few acres of wooded land – one of the few such areas in
Clearly, these feelings are running deep. They always do when you find yourself “single issue voting” and leaving organizations that you’ve supported for years. But I make no apologies for my views. Just as the virulent foe of abortion rights sees their issue in terms of “murder,” I see the above issue in stark terms as well. Who the hell are we as a species to “acquire” what nature has taken millions of years to perfect, only to pave and mine and drill right over it? If each of us needs to use up so many resources to satisfy our rapacious appetites, might we not either changing our lifestyles or at least reproducing a tad less often? Maybe you should look at my family as some sort of anti-procreative ideal. I have no brothers, no sisters, two children, and only one first cousin, who has no children of her own. I call that taking one for the team!