Connections: White House Gifts

Thank you, Santa!

For some forgotten reason, I receive “1600Daily” emails, which come from the White House and offer a spin on the news that contrasts totally with that of the information sources I more regularly rely on.

According to Tuesday’s “1600Daily,” President Trump wants us Americans to know that we have already gotten an early Christmas present, thanks to recent Republican legislation: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed on Monday at a record high (24,290), because traders were, the bulletin said, “buoyed by news from over the weekend that Republican senators had voted to pass sweeping tax-reform legislation.”

Another early Christmas present for which we should be happy, as noted by the same “1600Daily” broadside, was the announcement by President Trump, on a visit to Salt Lake City, that he was radically shrinking the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, which are home to countless Native-American historic and archaeological sites. Only the “smallest area compatible with the proper care and management” of the archaeological treasures would be preserved; these public lands were being sacrificed in order to “increase economic growth and prosperity, especially in rural communities, by allowing grazing, commercial fishing, logging, and in some cases, mineral development.”

Thank you, Santa! 

For some reason, though, those grinches over at the Sierra Club just won’t get into the holiday spirit. “Trump’s order represents energy interests that wouldn’t hesitate to start logging, drilling, fracking, or mining in these treasured lands,” read a press release from the Sierra Club, which also quoted a spokesman for the Navajo Nation, who put it this way: “They want to go after coal. They want to go after petroleum, uranium, potash. They want to clear all the timber.” 

I guess I am a Scrooge-like ingrate, too, because I cannot muster any feelings of thankfulness for the gift of commercial exploitation of our national monuments. I still love my country, and especially its wild places and wide-open spaces: “I love thy rocks and rills/Thy woods and templed hills,” as we used to sing in “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” back in elementary school.

I have been making my own lists, and checking them twice, and have been pondering what sort of Christmas present we should send to the jolly old man who occupies the White House. What do you think: a tax strike? Or another protest march?