Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be

A Moment of Reflection on Government Policy and the Real World, with Whales.

I sit in front of a panoramic window, looking out at the vastness of the Pacific, after a few days of holiday that, perhaps aptly, was taken as the crisis in Washington was coming to a head.  While Congressmen were wrangling over whether you would wake up to lower property values and your 401K destroyed, I was witness to one of the rare events of nature.  A group of male  humpback whales engaging in a bubble net feeding.

Twenty yards from our boat, these amazing creatures swirled around a school of herring creating a bubble mass that panics the little fish and sends them to the surface. The whales swam down, then burst to the surface, mouths open. Herring danced frantically on the water, and then, a few seconds later, it was all gone. Our guide called it a rare moment that “National Geographic would be jealous to catch.”  A friend, director Brian Burlson, caught this amazing photo on his iPhone.  I share it with you here.

Sometimes, amidst the nuance and intrigue that is politics, we forget both the bigger world around us, and the real effect that all of that hot air in D.C. has on that world.

Up here, away from the bombast of Rush Limbaugh, in Juneau, where nature meets the absurdity of people like Sarah Palin, the locals who aren’t dye-in-the-wool Republicans see the effects of global warming.

The good news is that, 40 years ago, when we stood up for the endangered species which most Republicans seem to think are only suitable on their plate or in their perfume bottle, these creatures rose from only 6,000 left in the world to more than 20,000 today. They may live, when we’re not hunting them to extinction, for more than a hundred years.

This is one of those clear visual demonstrations of the differences between liberal and conservative policy.  Had the Republicans got their way back then, my children and I would probably not be able to bear witness to this amazing sight.

If only to underscore the point, I’m sitting next to a gentleman from Texas with his Tom Clancy book and his Gideon Bible.  I just showed him the amazing photograph above, and he was so non-plussed.   Now this may not be the case for all of the Bible-devotees, but he is exactly emblematic of the kind of willful ignorance that leads to the needless destruction of the beauty and majesty of this planet that we share with all of the other creatures.

It makes me happy to have become a Greenpeace member this year, for the first time. If this moves you, perhaps you should too. Join here.

My shiny two.

We will be posting more infrequently until Saturday, as connections at sea are erratic.  We have two exceptional pieces coming up. Look for them. -ed.

About Brian Ross

Brian Ross is a writer, screenwriter, political satirist, documentarian, filmmaker and chef. Ad hoc, ad loc, quid pro quo... so little time. So much to know!

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