Tell Us How You Really Feel!

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by Clark Collins,
BRC Executive Director

Prior to the election we mailed a survey to all our members to determine their level of political involvement. In light of the development in the Presidential race, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that their vote counts. And there should be no doubt that back country recreationists need to become a more significant political force. Based on the survey responses, there also should be no doubt that our members are doing their part.


POLITICAL ACTION SURVEY RESULTS
(percentages represent "yes" votes)

  1. I intend to vote in the 2000 Election: 99.7%
  2. I regularly vote in all national elections: 99%
  3. This will be the first election I have ever voted in: 4%
  4. I will be basing some of my choices this election on land access issues: 99.25%
  5. I will be voting for a candidate in a different political party than usual because of land access issues: 46.8%
  6. I will be basing some of my political choice on information I've received from the BlueRibbon Coalition: 92.7%
  7. I have informed others about the importance of land access issues to their political decisions: 97.3%
  8. I will be helping to get others to the polls on election day: 80.3%
  9. I have contributed to a political candidate this year or intend to prior to the election: 44.36%
  10. (If "yes" to #9) The incentive for my contribution was the candidate's position on land access issues: 85.9%


Our members are regular voters and they informed their friends and relatives of the importance of land access issues to their political decisions. Then, they helped to get others to the polls. Nearly half of our survey respondents changed political parties because of land access issues. Also, nearly half contributed to a political candidate, and land access was a factor for nearly 90% of them. Thanks to everyone who responded to the survey and helped us show that our members are engaged in the political process and are helping get other recreationists involved as well.

We received one particularly interesting letter in response to the survey. One of our members from Oregon wrote, and said he sent his letter also to "10-15 of my fund-raising Democrats." His letter began with: "I'm 70 years old and have voted straight Democratic tickets for most of my adult life, especially the later years. But I am so G..... D........ mad at Clinton, Gore, and Babbitt for locking up our public lands, that this will probably completely change." He ends his letter to his fund-rasing Democrats: "Well, I'll never forget! what you s.... of b....... are doing! And I'll do all I can to see that everyone I come in contact with, and can write to or about, will know exactly how I feel! A pox on all of you!" We sure didn't have to ask him how he really feels, and I only hinted at the expletives he used.

I would also like to offer a few personal observations on the election based on newscasts I watched on election night.

I believe the media's early projections bungling might have interfered with voting. They should at least wait until all the polls are closed before making projections. The media has too much influence on the general public's political views to not take their responsibility more seriously.

Reporting on the West Virginia voting in the Presidential race, a national reporter commented that Gore likely lost that state's electoral votes because of his extreme environmental position. He said it was a referendum on Gore's environmental views being opposed by West Virginia coal miners. He further contended that it was "a bad night for the environmental movement." He was challenged on that point by another reporter who pointed to Michigan, where the United Auto Workers were a factor in Gore carrying that state. His response - "Bush should have made more of an issue of Gore's view, expressed in his book, EARTH IN BALANCE, that the internal combustion engine should be eliminated."

Ralph Nader's impact on this election will be talked about for years. His candidacy, and the Green party itself, are just one more illustration that the Greens are a fringe group. Gore's, or anyone's, attempt to appease the extreme environmental movement is just not good enough for these zealots. They just keep moving the goal posts.

My personal thanks to all our members who responded to the survey and to all our members who played a roll in this election. We would like to hear from you.

--Clark Collins is a co-founder and the Executive Director for the BlueRibbon Coalition. For questions or comments on this article, or on other OHV issues, he may be contacted at the BRC main office: 1540 N. Arthur, Pocatello, ID, 83204. Phone: 208-237-1008 , Fax: 233-8906. Email brclark@sharetrails.org.

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