The rally was held by, or for, Congressman Steve Pearce to whip up the crowd to march (literally) on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to hear public comment on the proposal to add the sand dune lizard to the Endangered Species List. I would estimate that there were about 200-300 people at the rally as well as TV cameras, photographers and reporters. I was surprised that one of the reporters was from Albuquerque.
The opening prayer began well, but ended as a political statement. There were about 10 speakers before Congressman Pearce spoke. Two or three were quite good speakers but they all had the same theme: the Endangered Species List will cause devastating job loss and the ruin of our country.
The clear intent of their argument was to make every working man or woman in the audience fear that they would lose their job if the sand dune lizard is protected. When I hear broad and unsubstantiated assertions about overwhelming job losses, I start to question the speaker.
Are we hearing the truth, half truths, distortions or simply slogans? There was a fiery, fast-talking female speaker who related a conversation she had with, I believe, someone from the USFWS.
When the government official asked what data there was to support the claim of a loss of jobs, the speaker said â€œwe donâ€™t need any dataâ€ and went on to talk about the spotted owl history as a way of supporting her assertion.
Interestingly, research at the University of Wisconsinâ€“ Madison by environmental scientists published in a sociology journal argued that logging jobs had been in a long decline and that environmental protection was not a significant factor in job loss.
Yet, when conservatives are confronted with compiled studies about the lizard they dismiss them and claim that the science is â€œflawed.â€ Sound familiar? Naturally, some of the speakers inferred; no, they said outright that the liberal environmental effort was associated with socialism or communism.
At that point I flashed back to WWII movie newsreels showing foreign leaders exhorting the masses to march … but here it was only to the USFWS meeting and really give them a piece of â€œourâ€ mind.
A few of the speakers worshipfully honored the wisdom of the founding fathers in creating the Constitution. Unfortunately, none of them owned up to the fact that the Constitution omitted womenâ€™s rights (I wonder if any of the applauding women in the audience realized that?), free speech, the beloved Second Amendment right, and the rest of the Bill of Rights.
The Constitution was created by compromise … not by a small group saying â€œitâ€™s my way or the highway.â€ The framers had the wisdom to know that the Constitution they all signed wasnâ€™t perfect but would have to be amended as times and society changed.
During their reflection on this history, I noticed that everybody conveniently forgot that the Great Recession and staggering job loss happened during the George W. Bush years; a time when Congressman Pearce was voting with G.W. 95 percent of the time.
Oh well, back to the rally. Some of the speakers, including the congressman, said that this rally was not about the lizard.
It was really about taking control of our government. I interpreted it as sticking a finger in the eye of the government not because it was necessary, but just because our nation of laws allows us to.
I really came unhinged when the congressman tried to convince the audience that if they allowed the lizard to be protected that they would lose their jobs at a time when inflation is â€œskyrocketing.â€ I yelled that it was not skyrocketing. We are at the 10 year average for inflation: 2.7 percent.
I apologize for my few rude outbursts at the rally, but I just couldnâ€™t help myself. I love my country and I want a better life for my countrymen. Sadly, I feel that many of the audience would accept a smaller life we are being offered in the name of austerity.