Dreams and realities
February 23, 2016
In my ongoing daydream, Nevada rancher and BLM grazing-fee protester Cliven Bundy develops a neuroses (as if space existed for another) wherein, whenever he drops into slumber, he hears an unending loop of Donald Trump political rants. At first, of course, believing they have been cut from similar revolutionary cloth, Bundy couldn’t be happier.
As his prison sentence unfolds and his patience with that voice in his head wears thinner and thinner, however, dear Cliven opts to pace the ever-shrinking dimensions of his cell floor in an increasingly desperate attempt to remain awake.
There is no escaping the symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation, however, and soon the voice of "The Donald" also pervades Bundy’s waking hours. His attorney’s incessant pleas with the federal prosecutors to trade straight across for an equal amount of water-boarding sessions, seemingly, fall on deaf ears.
Even entreaties from the Global Human Rights Courts and Tribunals in The Hague, Netherlands to have digital blocking devices implanted in Bundy’s brain bring no results.
It seems there is this prerequisite that the recipient of such technology must possess the mental acuity of at least a 5-year-old. And, at last word, even crash courses of the square-peg-in-a-square-hole discipline have failed to bring poor Cliven up to snuff.
In the end, although all parties agree that the ongoing scenario constitutes, at the least, cruel and unusual punishment and, in the macrocosm, possibly even torture, doctors assigned to his case, having attempted a litany of both well-accepted and alternative cures, appear ready to default to the old standby: medical marijuana and a strict vegan diet.
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I have no idea where this stuff comes from. Obviously, it’s not like my own brain is a neuroses-free environment.
Whenever my daydreams subside to the extent that I’m able to check in with reality, I’ve been actually following the stories emerging from last week’s federal oil and gas lease auction down at the Salt Palace, paying special heed to those parcels in the Canyon Country Districts.
If the protest events that transpired both inside and outside the BLM auction itself were any indication, it would seem that the "Keep It in the Ground" movement to cease fossil fuel extraction from public lands is alive and well. Climate activists had their game-faces on while making a public display of their concerns over the direction planetary energy development is heading.
It wasn’t just the normal "joy and resolve" sign-making and sing-along aspects of this recent protest that caught my attention but also the novel approach to "energy development" brought to the table by author/activists Terry Tempest Williams and her husband Brooke.
While not actually bidding for leases a-la-Tim DeChristopher, they were able to purchase a parcel near Arches National Park after the bidding process had ended. And, hopefully, their spin on what constitutes the component parts of "energy" will signal another front in the ongoing fight for Climate Justice.
Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, Terry Tempest Williams, who teaches in a graduate program at the University of Utah, explained it this way: "You cannot define our definition of energy. The energy development we are interested in is fueling the movement of Keep It in the Ground.
"I can’t wait to get our students on that land and see what we can develop. Our next class in environmental humanities will be on this oil and gas leasing, and we will be fueling our energy as a movement."
An interesting set of players, to be sure. You’ve got the Bundys, Cliven’s son Aamon being also incarcerated and facing charges stemming from both the Recapture Canyon ATV protest ride and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge takeover on one side and the Williams duo and others occupying the more peaceful civil disobedience end of the spectrum on the other.
It’s all about "energy development," all right. No doubt about that. Divergent views on "The West" and how they each will play out are as an intriguing a plotline as most anything else on the horizon. With the Colorado Plateau and Basin-and-Range as backdrop, it will be interesting to watch to say the least.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.