Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Safe Among Predators

(Definitely click on this photo taken by DPR)
It rained on and off all day on Wednesday. This hawk flew from willow to rock to plum tree, then perched on the bird feeder and lazily dried off. We watched as it spread its wings and tail feathers, shook itself, and stretched. It was surprisingly relaxed and comfortable. We took 57 photos of it. The little birds had scattered and were hiding, waiting to see where their monstrous predator would fly next.
I thought of what it means to feel safe, the words that now are used against us, as if our safety were a license to do anything on our behalf. The Bush administration says the actions it takes are to protect and keep us safe. But there are so many things they could have done to convey that desire to us. So here's our list of things ten things that would make us feel safe:

1. Ensure that the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean. Don't pass legislation that weakens the Clean Air and Water Acts.

2. Provide a single-payer health care system so that all people have access for their basic health care needs.

3. Make sure that the foods we eat meet standards for health safety-- and are not contaminated by pesticides and chemicals. For instance, don't change the standards on acceptable levels of mercury in our fish.

4. Make sure that medications are approved after a rigorous R & D process, and that testing and reporting is done by people who have no financial interest in the outcomes.

5. Provide us with a military that does not recruit from lowest category on aptitude test takers.

6. Make sure that secret agents know the difference between terrorists and students, vegans, anti-war activists, and green peace members.

7. Try not to antagonize the rest of the world by invading sovereign nations based on false and misleading intelligence.

8. Invest in alternative energies so that we lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.

9. Have a real plan for emergency evacuations and the aftermath in the case of future Katrinas or terrorist attacks.

10. Uphold the constitution.

That's just our list of ten things that would make us feel safe. You might have you own. What would they be? And lest you think that it's all we do is sit and brood over this, here's that hawk photoshopped.

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