At times it seems like President Trump is actively pinpointing all the best parts of the United States just so he can tear them down and grind them into dust. Now, our almost cartoonishly villainous leader is taking aim at the country’s shared natural conservation regions that benefit and bring joy to Americans across the political spectrum.
The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump plans to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 50%. National Monuments are like National Parks, but they’re established through executive proclamation. Both monuments are located in Utah and were created by Democratic presidents. President Obama established the former, President Clinton the latter.
One can’t help but interpret Trump’s announcement through the lens of his well-documented and feverish animus towards our first black president. The Trump presidency has been defined by one guiding principle: the erasure of Obama’s legacy. In reducing Bears Ears Trump has found another easy way to spite the man he still accuses of not being born in America.
The president’s plan, originally proposed by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, would reduce 3.2 million acres of publicly conserved land to 1.2 million acres. It’s a heist perpetrated on the American people and will deprive future generations of public land to which they are entitled.
The announcement, only a few days after Trump used the racial slur “Pocahontas” to refer to Senator Elizbeth Warren in front of Navajo war heroes, is also an attack on Native Americans.
Bears Ears National Monument is sacred ground and is managed by a coalition of Native tribes including the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, and Ute. Chopping the land up is just another betrayal in a long history of betrayals perpetrated on native peoples by the federal government.
Presumably, the newly vulnerable land will be diced up and sold off to the highest bidders to be drilled or strip-mined, depositing more money into the hands of the hyperwealthy, further polluting the environment, and denying average Americans their birthright to enjoy the beauty and natural splendor of this country. Once again Trump has shown that he cares about the rich, and has no sense of national pride.
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