One day, someone will ask, "What happened
to the country that existed in the middle
of the continent known as North America?"
The Almanac will describe:
a spacious and magnificant land abundant in mountains,
forests, prairies, and clear, fresh water;
containing adequate fertile ground, oil, and gold;
supporting a strong and affluent nation;
an experiment in equality, offering the opportunity
to transcend class.
This form of government existed nearly four centuries.
Will historians mark the turn of the 21st century
as the point of critical mass? And say no one cared
as the government drilled, mined and cut away resources
from protected public lands? Will they remember those
who destroyed the last of the buffalo and wolf populations
as evil or ill advised? Will they remember any of this?
Will the children ask, "Did grass grow there? And trees?
Why would a bird fly through such dead land? What would it eat?"
"What" will historians say, "lead to the end of this powerful
and promising nation?" The people were intelligent, literate,
why did they not speak? Who will consider the surging masses--
educated unemployed struggling to survive, and those employed
working harder, earning less-- lacking the will to demand integrity
from their Congress?
Will the Almanac report an opposition both ridiculed: Michael Moore;
the Dixie Chicks; Jacques Chirac, President of France;
and ignored: Greenpeace; Joan Baez; John Brady Kiesling,
US Ambassador to Greece; the United Nations?
In the year 2175, will anyone light a candle and pause
to consider the difference if in the year 2000, in the State of Florida,
the ballots of minority welfare mothers and factory workers
had been counted?
Jill Lange is an attorney, naturalist and poet who prefers to be out on the trails and beaches of her favorite wild places. Her poems reflect her interest in environmental, civil rights and political causes.