One of the most beautiful spots on Earth is the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but I’m kinda wondering how long we’ll be able to enjoy that spot, what with the antics of a pair of Arizona legislators.
Thanks to Old Man In The Senate, John “Get Off'a My Lawn” McCain, and his cohort in asshattery Senator Jeff Flake — oh so aptly named — an Apache holy site is about to be handed off to a foreign mining company that will scrape the land down about a 1,000 feet and leave a scar some two-miles wide. But hey, it’s just a Native American holy site, and, with money coming in from a foreign company, why wouldn’t McCain and Flake wanna get rid of it.
Resolution Copper Mining — a joint endeavor by the U.K.’s Rio Tinto and Australia’s BHP-Billiton — has had their eyes on Oak Flat because of the deposits of copper and other ores in the ground there. But Oak Flat was declared a protected area back in 1955 by President Dwight Eisenhower, and that has kept the mining threat at bay even in the face of multiple proposals to sell the land that have been brought before Congress over the last 10 years.
Surprise! And so, because their wallets are bulging with Rio Tinto cash, McCain and Flake made an end run around the opposition to the sale last December when they slipped a provision putting Oak Flat up for sale into the hundreds of pages of legislation that made up the Defense Authorization Act, a law funding the military whose passage was considered crucial, and basically guaranteed.
And so now this holy site, used as a ceremonial and burial ground by the Apaches, which pre-dates history, as shown by petroglyphs on the rock, is up for sale, to be mined, stripped and gutted; oh, and let’s not forget that Oak Flat is also a national recreation property, used by birders, campers, climbers and hikers.
The good news is that as soon as McCain and Flake cashed their Rio Tinto checks and snuck their little piece of legislation into a completely different bill, the San Carlos Apache Tribe began organizing a protest; tribe chairman, Terry Rambler wrote to other Native tribes:
“We have a dream that one day our children and their children to follow may freely practice the religious ceremonies that come from our Creator. We must stand together and fight those, like Resolution Copper, that seek to take our religious freedom, our most human right. If we do not, our beliefs, our spiritual lives, the very foundation of our language, our culture and our belief will no longer be in balance, and we will become undone. If we do not, the taking of one people’s human right threatens all human and religious rights.”
Step two: the people of Arizona need to get John McCain and Jeff Flake — who are doing what’s best for their own personal interests, campaigns, and bank accounts and not what’s best for Arizona, or this country — out of office.
Ain’t that America?