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Friends, enemies, and librarians

February 23, 2017

After a twenty year run, Salt Lake City is losing the Outdoor Retailer show because the Utah congressional delegation wants “to end federal control over millions of acres of public lands in the state, and to overturn President Barack Obama’s designation of some 1.35 million acres in southeastern Utah sacred to Native American tribes as the Bears Ears National monument.” The politics of the outdoors is complex. Environmentalists clearly fall on the political left these days. They are joined by birders, hikers, and outdoor hippies in having an expansive desire for government protection of public lands. The states where those lands reside want the money those activities bring, but would prefer to confine them to areas that cannot otherwise be exploited by industry. Anglers and hunters should fall in the first camp, by all rights, but typically are conservative, in part because of the politics of guns.

The rise of Trump is encouraging the Social Democrats in Germany, led by Martin Schulz, who has this to say of the new US president:

We will never give up our values, our freedom and democracy, no matter what challenges we are facing. That a U.S. president wants to put up walls, is thinking aloud about torture and attacks women, religious communities, minorities, people with handicaps, artists and intellectuals with brazen and dangerous comments is a breach of taboo that’s unbearable.

Librarians are girding their loins for battle, in the days of alternative facts. Of course, they want to seem inclusive. Which is silly. If they want to make libraries relevant in the age of Trump, they need to stock them with wine and whiskey as well as books, turn their basements into shelters for teenage immigrants, and sponsor the meetings of resistance groups.

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