Our Unprotected Heritage.

I’d like to begin this post by saying that Thomas King’s sarcastic, sassy, and real writing style made all of my writing dreams come true.

Money is more important than protecting sacred spaces, and bureaucratic nightmares have been put in place to keep us from gaining the upper hand over corporations and investors – who knew? The argument that one man’s significant historical site is another man’s waste of space is something that I’ve tended to side with throughout most of these readings, but this book struck me in a different direction. The earth, our natural environment, our cultural heritage spaces, belong to all of us. Everyone should care about preserving and protecting them. But “should” is perhaps the most unrealistic and unattainable word in the dictionary, because there are far more important things in this world than emotional ties and historic appreciation.

I liked Mischa’s point that people are not as naive as King seems to make them seem, and will work to protect the environment and our heritage from the corruption that seeks to destroy it. But then I think of Standing Rock and the DAPL, and how hard people fought to protect that land. In the end, money and the government still won. We’ve been talking a lot in my UF class about the best ways to create change in the modern era, and my students have come to the conclusion that perhaps the only way to maybe make these changes is to throw yourself into the eye of the storm – run for office, work your way up, and fight corruption and ignorance from the inside out. I don’t think people can solve this on their own, and King brings this up in his last chapter. Political leadership might give you a leg up in bringing about reform within committees and in legislation.

I appreciate King’s small optimism at the end, because mine was long gone by the time I reached the final chapter. Even if political involvement is the way to go, how do we make people care about these places when there is so much money invested in their destruction? His suggestions are nice, but they still don’t seem all that realistic to me, especially under the current administration. Rep. Jackson’s bill, emphasizing the human rights component instead of environmental protection, is a hopeful idea, but would totally be laughed off of the floor today.

I like to imagine Mr. King’s reworking of this piece for the next political generation with so many more expletives.

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