Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

April 24th, 2000

Clean Up

It's Easter, and it's been hailing. The ground is covered in white.

It's Easter, and on TV the predominate coverage has not been joyous religious services across the Christian world. The coverage has been of a six-year boy being 'saved' from a 'hostage situation.' The photos you have all seen of a group of military personnel with their masks, helmets and guns are unreal. Right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Yes, this is a fly-fishing website, and we try very hard not to be political. But something is very screwed up for such a thing to be happening in this country.

As upsetting as this is, I think the ramifications are much deeper than what happened - as awful as it was.

I've mentioned in this space previously 'spin' - how everyone (especially government) seems to think it is okay to tell flat lies to cover their butts. Let's see, the Attorney General says she had to uphold the rule of law. Excuse me? Would you like a list of the rule of law this Attorney General has not upheld? Or pardon me, the President?

It works for them, that makes it okay.

On CNN today a woman who wrote an article for George magazine was interviewed and put yet another piece of spin on it . . .the mother of Elian was not fleeing Cuba for freedom, she was leaving to be with her boyfriend who couldn't live in Cuba because he was a criminal and in trouble with the law. She wasn't leaving Cuba for freedom because she "wasn't very curious" and had never left her little village. She didn't leave Elian with his 'loving father' because she had seven miscarriages and couldn't stand to be without the boy.

Does this sound to anyone like the 'usual' trashing of anyone the Clinton administration wishes to discredit? Hey the dead mother was a stupid, neurotic, love-sick woman, so it's fine if we just rip the kid away from the family who has been caring for him.

Don't bother to get a proper Court Order, ignore the Appeals Courts, just do whatever you feel like. It is same old stuff this administration has been doing all along. They don't 'lie', the new term is Clinton is 'flexible.'

The TV reporting generally has been that this whole mess will not impact the Presidential Election in November. Everyone will have forgotten the storm troopers in Miami. No one cares. The current administration is sure counting on that to be true.

What I see is this country has suffered horribly over the past seven years. The credibility and image of the United States, the credibility and image of the President, the Vice President, the Attorney General, the rule of law, our whole judicial system are considerably diminished because of the actions of the Clinton administration and everyone associated with it.

It affects each and every one of us. I for one am less proud to be an American. I am, in fact, ashamed.

Folks, as fly fishermen we tend to be a bit serious about our sport. We care about the fish, the water, wetlands, clean water, clean air, clear-cutting, the impact of bad regulations and lack of governmental support for good programs. We try to make things better. We may not get involved in our local politics, or in the national politics either - it just doesn't seem to be something fly fishers are passionate about - but, there is something you can do this time.

Take a big felt marker and find the 7th of November 2000 on your calendar. Write Clean Up the Mess in Washington DC! on the calendar. We may not be able to do a thing about what happened this weekend - but we can do something about the people who made it happen. We can vote them all out of office. Let's take America back while we still have a chance. ~ LadyFisher

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