If you climb a short flight of stairs at the LBJ Presidential Library and turn, you’re dwarfed by an immense presidential seal. It takes your breath away, the scale and power of that symbol.
The first thing you notice is the American bald eagle at the core of the seal.
Bald eagles, like other eagles worldwide, had been seen by many as symbols of strength, courage, freedom and immortality for generations. And, unlike other eagles, the bald eagle was indigenous only to North America.United States Veterans Administration
Unfortunately, the eagle has fallen out of favor. The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to measure its protection on the open market.
Follow the money
The eagle’s survival is now determined by how the EPA calculates its value against commercial interests. As of Aug. 12, a mathematical model weighs the price of an eagle against any revenue lost by, say, preserving the trees where the bird nests and breeds its young. If the projected logging revenue is more than the eagle’s value, well…
Think about this. Who determines the numbers plugged into the EPA’s model? In an agency plagued by ethical charges, who gets the money? Rest assured it won’t be the public.
Protecting the environment?
The eagle is one small but As I write this, the temperature outside tops 103 degrees. Maps show the American West and Midwest the color of dried blood from drought. The EPA has been busy:
- Aug. 18, 2019 – The EPA refuses to ban the widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which its own experts warn hurts children.
- Aug. 14, Aug. 16 2019 – The EPA moves to authorize the use of cyanide bombs to kill thousands of coyotes and wolves.
- July 11, 2019 – The EPA overturns a ban on the pesticide sulfoxaflor that’s proven to kill bees and wildlife based on the results of private chemical industry studies.
- July 12, 2019 – The EPA makes it harder for communities to fight pollution from factories and power plants
- May 20, 2019 – The EPA decides to measusure air pollution in a new way that makes sure fewer deaths will be traced to bad air.
- May 8, 2019 – EPA officials refuse to ban asbestos and paint strippers; it weakens standards for cleaning up groundwater contamination.
- May 2, 2019 – A massive underwater oil leak from a Taylor Energy rig has been releasing some 4,500 gallons of oil/day since 2014. The Interior Department reduces off-shore drilling regulations introduced after the 2011 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
At war against ourselves
As you’re standing on the mezzanine of the LBJ Presidential Library facing the eagle, turn. Now you face the reckoning between the man and the office of president — stacks of Johnson’s presidential papers, bound in red. What will future reckonings show?
It’s time for each of us to examine our values and how we measure ourselves against protecting them. Lyndon Johnson lost a military war against what he perceived as a foreign threat. What are we losing with this war against ourselves?