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Crimes Against Nature

 

Stephanie Wilson

January 22, 2005

As stereotypical liberals, we often have enough fuel to keep our fires burning on many topics affecting the world today.  When faced with topics like gay marriage, abortion, or the war in Iraq we can bring up evidence to defend our opinions.  For most of us, however, when asked about the environment we draw a blank.  Perhaps we can stammer out a few vague phrases such as “Bush is destroying it” or narrow in on a key issue like “he is making global warming worse,” but we can never seem to state facts to back up our claims.  The media seems to gloss over this very crucial topic in lieu of bigger headlines that break faster and will draw in more viewers.  The lack of coverage and information lead us to wonder just what is it that he is doing that is so terrible to the environment?  Why is he still getting away with it and why doesn’t the vast majority of America know what he is doing? 

            In Crimes Against Nature, the new book by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew to the late President John F. Kennedy, we get the fuel we need to further this neglected cause.  While author/comedians like Michael Moore, Al Franken, and John Stewart are busy igniting the political blaze in youth, Kennedy is fighting for a much more distinct, yet much more ignored issue.  As well as narrowing his argument down he presents many more facts than the aforementioned author/comedians without relying on his opinions to replace facts.  The book is not without opinion, of course, but he shows how he feels through a series of personal events that have happened to him throughout his life which only strengthen the facts, not replace them.  The voice is vivid, beautiful, and conveys the importance of what he has to say without making us feel like he is trying to hard to win us over. 

These personal events also replace the humor that other authors use to interest new audiences.  The lack of humor may be a one of the only down points in this book.  Without humor the youth of America seems to distance themselves.  Humor softens the blow of such harsh issues and makes it easier to digest for those who are just barely gaining a grasp on the political world.  It’s truly unfortunate that because of this many youth will pass up this book for other titles such as Dude, Where’s My Country and America: The Book.  As informative as those books may be for a beginner in politics, this book is what holds the real power behind our arguments.

One of the most powerful of these arguments comes in the segment that deals with the controversial issue of strip mining.  Again, this is one of the issues that the media chooses to ignore one reason or another.  I consider myself quite informed on the happenings in America, but when I read this chapter I was absolutely stunned that I, known by many as a “political freak”, was completely left in the dark.  Perhaps it’s because oftentimes news from the southern region cannot penetrate the California bubble that I have lived in all of my life, or perhaps it’s a much greater lack of coverage in the media that is to blame.

Whatever the cause for this ignorance Kennedy is filling in those gaps for us, which I can’t thank him enough for.  I now know that mining companies are blowing off hundreds of feet off the tops of mountains just to get at the coal that lies underneath.  I now know that “the forests where Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett roamed,” and the “frontier that cradled our democracy”(114) is being completely destroyed by the discarded tops of these mountains.  According to his statistics borrowed from Lexington Herald Leader an area the size of Delaware will be leveled just a decade or two.  To add to this terrifying topic many honest miners are losing their jobs because of this “efficient” way of mining.  With our historical habitat being destroyed and hundreds if not thousands of people losing their jobs who is actually benefiting from this practice?  None other than key donors to Bush’s campaign who just happen to own these companies.  How is this dirty dealing going on right underneath our nose?

Once more we can blame the media.  It’s an easy out.  We turn on our TV or read a newspaper and we clearly see that the information about the environment is lacking.  Now, however, we must wonder why is the media lacking this information?  Is it really just because bigger headlines get bigger audiences?  Is the government helping widen the gaps of information?  Kennedy dives even deeper into this void noting Bush’s habit of only paying attention to scientific studies that benefit him.  They are “suppressing studies, purging scientist, and doctoring data to bamboozle the public and the press.” (76) If a scientific study comes out that somehow harms their business in any way they simply say, “more study is needed” and “find scientists willing to hoodwink the people.” (77) This faulty information is fed to the press and the press doesn’t want to report on something that might “sort of be dangerous, maybe” so they pass it up.  An explosion in Fallujah or a suicide bomber in Gaza is more exciting than a mere “climate change”.  The issues are downplayed and we get gypped of information.

The importance of this book practically goes beyond words.  This is an issue that effects every single person, animal, and plant that exists on this planet earth, yet we are so utterly left in the dark by those who are suppose to be working for us.  As happy as I am that young America is showing an interest in politics I certainly hope they are getting a better perspective than pure comedy.  The irony of certain government mistakes, the clichés presented in our officials, the seeming lack of intelligence or common sense that our authorities sometimes have are funny, but now it’s time to take a step away from that and dive deeper into the issues.  Pass up America: The Book this week.  Buy it next week if you must satisfy your comedic urge.  This week get Crimes Against Nature and fuel your fire.

 

            

           


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