Dear Umbra,

Now that this country has been lost to the Earth-ravaging Republicans, tell me: Which other country should I run to seeking environmentally aware salvation?

Albany, N.Y.

Dearest Mel,

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America. Love it or leave it, pal.

Are Republicans inherently Earth-ravaging? Do all Republicans believe the Clear Skies initiative is progress? Do they all buy the “without logging, forests are dangerous” bunkum? Well, no — but in such a hyper-organized, well-oiled machine as today’s Republican Party, dissenters might not make much of a difference. The party has made success — their man on the marquee — priority No. 1. All nuance is trammeled in the grinding ambition and daunting efficacy of the party. The Republicans are selfish, united, highly organized, and devious. Your question, meanwhile, exhibits some classic Democratic traits: erudite whining, resigned disappointment, and no sense of entitlement to rule your own country.

This land is your land.

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Photo: NPS.

Listen to yourself: “Now that this country …” It’s our country, the most powerful and influential economic, military, and environmental force on the globe. There is nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide. Where could you go that would not be affected by the U.S.? And why would you want to go there? This country is beautiful, diverse, gritty, and more democratic than most. The standard of living is high, the air is fairly clean, and the food is cheap. Good environmental laws exist, we’ve got loads of parks, and citizens have the right to sue the government.

That said, this is not the U.S. of A.’s most shining moment. But with insane monomaniacs recklessly squandering decades of progress on the domestic and international fronts, we shouldn’t be running, although we’ve all thought of it. (Vancouver is such a beautiful city, after all.) We need to turn and fight. Our anger over right-wing environmental policies is a tool. If we eco-heads can come together to fight the pollutocrats, this mass environmental devastation may once again be slowed. But how to unite, how to organize, how to seize and maintain a chokehold on power? Those well-organized, Earth-ravaging Republicans may have a few lessons to teach us about getting things done.