Meehan: Bears Ears and tequila shots
Better bring us another round of ‘Merican beer down here, barkeep. Once again my hippie-commie-pinko political mindset has raised some hackles in these parts obvious proof that erectile dysfunction has trouble taking root on the back of red necks.
Here we go again! Me and my mates down at the local honky-tonk battling over who has the moral high ground on an issue which, once the metaphorical small-pox blankets are peeled back, opens up cans of worms within which forked-tongues take flight. Whadda ya think? Was all that a bit over the top? Probably so.
Now, when I refer to this bunch as "my mates," I’m being quite serious. They are among the best friends I have made during my 45 years in Utah. Of course, almost all of them have lived their entire lives hereabouts. So, even if I arrived prior to their birth, we do find common ground with the concept that I am NOT a local.
As usual, the current dust-up has roots in President Obama and his perceived wars against white people, Christianity, capitalism, guns, the extractive industries, grazing rights, states rights, patriotism, and, generally, freedom of all stripes. He is the Antichrist, you know. Thanks, Obama.
As you can no doubt imagine, I could no sooner refrain from egging on my bar buddies on each of these issues than I could stop trading shots of tequila with them.
Currently, the large mixing spoon I employ to stir up any tranquility that might have settled to the bottom of their anger-management cauldrons relates to the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. This entire brouhaha and the tentacles that reach out from it have been an unexpected gift to my dark side.
Of course, it’s the actual opportunity to put the kibosh on "fracking" and drilling on a large segment of the Colorado Plateau that is my prime motivator in supporting the creation of the Monument, but I must admit, the fact that it so riles my friends from across the aisle comes in a very close second.
Not that white Utahns have ever given much of a damn about the effects of their politics upon the indigenous tribal cultures, but the fact that Bears Ears has united the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni sovereign Indian nations to take a common stand appears like it just might nudge the proposal toward fruition.
Now, admittedly, it would be hard to imagine that all members of these tribes are on board with Bears Ears. Word has spread among Navajos that access to sacred sites would be restricted under a National Monument designation and that a "national conservation area" would be less intrusive.
Plus there have been accusations that the environmental community has used bribery and strong-arm tactics to gain influence in both the Bear Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and its marketing arm, Utah Dine Bikeyah.
Well, I suppose if anyone could recognize such a nefarious strategy, it would be Western-states Republicans. Throwing money at tribal "leaders" almost got them a hotel and casino in the Grand Canyon along the banks of the Colorado River a while back. I think chess masters refer to it as the "Walmart Gambit."
I know, with this being about the fourth column I’ve written on the subject, it might seem like piling on. But the closer we get to the end of the Obama administration, the rhetoric from both sides has become more deafening and, I thought, why not stir it up a bit more? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? I wake up with an even bigger tequila hangover?
I mean it’s not like there aren’t other very inviting topics pleading for the Core Sample treatment like, say, the current legal ruckus caused by beer in the audience when boobs are on the screen down at Brewvies Cinema in Salt Lake. But, alas, such further evidence of legislative ignorance will just have to wait its turn.
So come on Mr. President. I mean, what’s the state of Utah ever done for you? Spend some "political capital," a subject about which George "Dubya" Bush once preached. And, anyway, didn’t you once mention that "elections have consequences?"
Designate Bears Ears National Monument and let’s put it in the rearview mirror.
Maybe, however, in the aftermath of such action, I might just have to stock up on a year’s supply of tequila since I might have to lay low for a spell. I could always put it right next to the Postum stash in my emergency food storage bunker, I suppose. Thanks, Obama! Salud!
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.
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