Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Bitter Day

We have just finished another winter stay in the bunkhouse at the headquarters of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, courtesy of the refuge manager Tom Melanson and our good friend Rod Drewien, who goes each year to count geese for the refuge. This year's trip was made profoundly bittersweet by the juxtaposition of excellent days afield with the tragedy in Tucson, where our Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot by a young, unbalanced idiot, and remains in intensive care. She is, bar none, my favorite elected official currently in office, because of the grace, intelligence and deep caring she has brought to her work on local issues affecting us here in the Chiricahua Mountains.

Much will be written about Gabby Giffords in the days to come, and much will be written about the distinguished federal judge, John Roll, who died that day, and the young girl brimming with potential whose life was cut so short. I didn't know most of the victims, but I can say a little about Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords' young aide, who has come to the Portal community several times, sent by Gabby to meet with us on Forest Service-related issues, and to speak at our local Heritage Days festival in Rodeo on the issue of immigration reform.

Gabe Zimmerman struck all of us who dealt with him as a bright light flaming in a world that badly needs light. He was the sort of intelligent young person whose potential shines brilliantly, someone you want to watch, to see what he does with his life. All of us who had worked with him are deeply mourning his loss.

In this fractious world, people too often subvert their own intelligence and judgment, and identify atavistically with tribal allegiances (Republican/Democrat/Tea Party). That kind of angry identification doesn't allow for real discourse to develop on complex, subtle, and vitally important issues. It doesn't allow for solutions to problems to emerge.

We really need voices like those of Gabe Zimmerman and Gabrielle Giffords. There is no way of knowing the true dimensions of what we have lost––of what the world has lost.

Sunset on a bitter day, January 8, 2011
(Photo by Narca)

1 comment:

  1. You are quite correct, the tragic incident in Tucson only highlights the need for civil discourse not only in the political arena but in our everyday lives. We can only move forward and try to positively reflect our personal beliefs and convictions and treat others as we would hope to be treated.