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Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Support Obama? Live near Bozeman? Check out this flyer on Yellowstone's buffalo, Obama, and us

    I was wearing my hat as activist and organizer with Buffalo Allies of Bozeman again yesterday. This is a report from flyering yesterday.

    Late yesterday afternoon, there were thousands of people waiting to see Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama speak in Bozeman.

    Knowing that a few days in advance, I created the flyer shown in the picture, which you can also download as a pdf. Because the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) has three federal agencies as its partners, it was fitting that we try to convince people who are supporting the man who might be the next president, to do something about the buffalo in part by pulling the federal government's support for this terrible plan.

    I couldn't have possibly created enough flyers. They went out of my hands so fast as people waited in line to enter the event.

    So, if you support Barack Obama - heck, even if you don't -, if you live in the Gallatin Valley, if you support wild buffalo, please consider this flyer; or give it to someone else who might be interested. Our community potluck on Sunday, May 25, will be out of date soon, but everything else will still be timely.

    2 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    support obama, do ya? think there's hope that he'll support your cause if he's elected president? sorry to disappoint you there, chief, but you know as well as everyone else does that a snowball has a better chance in hell. and that's not racist, that's reality. the president has always been a white, christian male, and that's the way it'll be come next january.

    this country isn't ready for the kind of change we need. we may say we are, but we aren't. you can bet that john mccain is already picking out new curtains for the white house. because he knows it too.

    and it's not like it really matters because whoever is elected is going to have a huge laundry list things to work on that are way more urgent than trying to convince the state of montana to place nice with buffalo. three things that come to mind are the iraq war, the economy, and the energy crisis. and really, that's just one thing with three parts to it.

    buffalo--waaaaaay down on the list.

    and while i know that you are going to take that as a slam, it isn't. that's just the reality of life in america right now.

    personally, i too support obama, and i hope i'm wrong about the "christian, white male," thing. hell, i'd even like to see someone at the head of this country who is neither a white male, nor a christian. maybe then we'd have some real change.

    maybe then we could focus more on saving bees and trees. whales and snails.

    and a buffalo or two.

    maybe.

    5/21/08, 4:34 AM  
    Blogger Jim Macdonald said...

    Personally, I don't have one bit of faith in Obama. And, if you read enough about me, you would know that. The point of the flyer is to reach those who do support Obama and what Obama could be doing.

    I wrote after the 2006 election a piece called "No Radical New Wind in Yellowstone" that you can find on this blog; there is no reason to believe that electoral politics will make any changes to the system.

    However, there is faith that people who organize together and take the long road to work from the ground up can make a difference. Look at what is called for from Obama - stuff that no person in government actually pays any attention to (a real seat at the public in decision making; why? It's not really logistically possible). You can't put all the public interests into a room and be effective in making decisions. Yet, that's a damning critique of the system. It's a system that cannot be repaired from within - just like the IBMP.

    However, my view is a very small minority. You have to reach people; you have to let them follow their inclinations and beliefs to their logical conclusion. And, that's why you reach out to people who are Obama supporters (my belief is that voting is only for protest - I am likely to vote, if I vote, for some third party) because there is a convergence of belief potentially - even if not an identical optimism about the system.

    Obama's rhetoric actually runs counter to what he's doing by running for the most top-down authoritarian position in the world. All one can hope for is that his Administration scraps the IBMP - and only if he appoints the right people, but that won't solve the buffalo problem. It won't solve the fundamental problem in Yellowstone or for buffalo. It will create an opportunity of space for a grassroots movement to develop that can actually stand up for justice. What we need is time; in the end, we need to be the power - not the Barack Obamas.

    So, you asked; now take the time not to jump to caricature views about what I've written. You can be a political radical like myself - essentially an anarchist - and still work well with other people, still empower people to act even though you don't have faith in their route. More can be done, and it's not morally or logically responsible to draw cynical conclusions about working for justice.

    5/21/08, 9:16 AM  

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