I find myself still on the eastern seaboard, fighting for some simple justice for a group of people, an estuary and for the sanity of a community that is far too enriched in cars, boats and massive homes than the sharing and spirit of working together that one might find in a cold, northern Wisconsin community, or on the Great Plains of Nebraska.
While here I continue to feel the push of our own New Mexico Game and Fish Commission, as they stonewall and ignore the vast majority of people, disgusted by their actions that allow the torture and slaughter of so many innocent animals, and allow a livestock industry that is devoid of a soul to dictate policy on millions of acres of land that belongs to all Americans.
At their core these two issues seem both different and in no way related. Yet, they share a common ground. That ground is the tone deaf response from elected officials who stand by and witness injustice on a massive scale, one that goes beyond state borders and begs the question- Since when is it acceptable in our country to give away millions to an already filthy rich developer to destroy an estuary, dislodge seniors from their modest housing, demolish archaeological ruins and show a level of arrogance that infuses your town council, mayor and frankly the press.
Equally shocking is the arrogance by which Commission Chairman Paul Kiezlel III stands up and say 'aye' when the vote comes to kill more than half the bears in our state, the lack of feeling that others on the commission display when faced with wolf killings or that of cougars. Other elected officials make clear their disdain, but real actions seem to be slow and completely lacking in substance.
So while this seems like whining, lets add some meat to the bones of this debate. First, when you activity seek to destroy a community, a estuary, or a species you must feel a blow-back that is far more intense than the wake you have created. In this case, despite our congressional delegation consistently saying that Game and Fish reform is a state issue, let's remember that all funding cycles through the Pittman-Robertson Act, which is the tax on firearms and bullets. In that case, it seems that federal intervention or a legislation to restructure this act is completely within the rights of our congressional delegation and that of every state, all of whom generally speaking, suffer at the hands of their State Game and Fish Departments. So while excuses are understandable, the time for action is now.
Here in Florida, our job remains to expose the complete disregard for people and the environment that this local Mayor and Town Council have shown to shower the developer Charles Modica with money, guarantee of permits, and to threaten and console those with legitimate concerns about the construction of yet another unneeded shopping mall, and multi-million dollar condos on the shore of an estuary filled with manatee, dolphin, sawfish, and an array of sea turtles. As an attorney I met with here said-"In this part of Florida, with all the money involved, the politicians that are connected at the hip to projects such as this and the lack of solid coverage by the media, a word of caution...when you stir a pot like this and seek justice, you often are the guy driving down the road who's car is pulled and suddenly they find cocaine in the glove box, be careful."
In New Mexico and in Florida, we face different challenges, different sets of elected officials. Yet, they remain content to stay aligned with even rather than with what many would argue is simply doing the right thing. In the coming week we will meet with state and federal elected officials to press our case, we will continue to speak with the media, and in New Mexico we will begin to reach out to the religious community to gain their support for reforming the Game and Fish Department. As the pope recently stated, "Every act of cruelty towards any creature is contrary to human dignity." We will also continue to build our business coalition and next week will begin to showcase those businesses that have the principle to stand with us in the fight against the torture of all wildlife.
In Florida, we are meeting with all parts of this community to educate and gain their support in what is a very uphill battle, but one that demands a real fight for justice. Please take a moment to help us as we move forward, you can donate, or you can help us go door to door and met with business owners and ask for their support. If you own a business you can simply call and we will send you a sticker for your front door. In Florida, we could use an army right now as we move towards the final aspects of this fight.
Two parts of the country, one simply goal: justice. Fighting for justice is never easy and rarely comes overnight, but without the fight, we are complacent in the slaughter of so many animals, without the fight the wholesale loss of dignity for so many, for the loss of our stunning marine environment.
Justice is never a given, it is an act we must constantly fight to ensure, and fight we will.
Bold Visions Conservation