At the Golden Spur

Letter From the Southwest

It was Saturday, the day before Earth Day in the Golden Spur Bar in Magdalena, and one of our always-informal meetings of DUCA and DUWA was in progress. That is, three cowboys (Drunken Underemployed Cowboys' Association) and I (substitute "Writers'" for "Cowboys'") were drinking tequila shots and Coors, and doing what, other than rewarding but underpaid work, we do so well and often: complaining. We had all had it with the week's flood of sentimental pieties, culminating with a TV report of how a "Native American"—a Navajo from the big reservation—was going to give the "invocation" for the ceremonies in Albuquerque tomorrow.

"You want to see overgrazed land?" asked Wade Dixon. It was a rhetorical question, and we all shook our heads and downed shots. "Steve, you're a writer. You write about nature. You know some of these sons-of-bitches. What do they want?"

I couldn't answer, really. The recent years—say, since the first Earth Day—have so polarized what was once a much broader conservation consensus than the nouveau eco-radicals will ever admit, that there seems to the casual observer to be no common ground at all. And I would submit that this split, consciously engineered by the greenie left, is going to provide both the greatest danger and perhaps the greatest opportunity for the traditional (or if you prefer, the...

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