The Huntin’ Politician

10 10 2008

One thing.

these were called ‘remaining’

Here is something people mention:
“She knows how to field dress a moose.”

your body, the whole universe

Why is the act of hunting such an important one in the American imagination?

hunt the Woods, stop and kill fish in the Rivers, it being true with them as in all the World in the Affaires of Earth or Heaven: By concord little things grow great, by discord the greatest come to nothing….

We love to imagine the first English settlers. Hardscrabble folk barely making it and then making it big. Of course, it was the indigenous folk who got much of the food and traded it on, as well as gave the settlers some good ideas about how to get their food, as Roger Williams’ quote suggests.

But of course, there was felt some need to hunt, especially in hard times, especially when the crops failed.

So, I suspect, the image of a politician hunting connects us to that collective, imagined, (ignorant…I might add, though perhaps I should not) history, validated by Thanksgiving, and Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” (which alludes to John Winthrop’s “city on a hill.” A city as community that Sarah Vowell notes, was pretty much what existed for the indigenous people of North America at least at the time that Roger Williams was wandering the wilderness in his banishment.

the connection across the discredited breach of nature and culture

There is also, I suspect, an inability, a fear, to recognize that what we knew was wrong. Nonhuman animals are not speechless, nor are they subconscious or unconscious, instinct is an outdated term, and the wilderness is not God’s gift to mankind, for use and abuse or even for condescending “care,” and of course, factory farming is an abomination.

there is something specific about our unwillingness to let our knowledge come to an end with respect to horses, with respect to what they know of us…The unwillingness… to make room for their capacity to feel our presence incomparably beyond our ability to feel theirs…

I think Americans are afraid. They are afraid of the beast that knows them before they know themselves. Killing this beast kills that prescience, that sense (whether it be olfactory, auditory, visual or tactile) that the other is able to wield with such strength and sensitivity. America is the greatest country on earth—because American’s and their leaders are Hunters! The other, the moose or goose, is nothing but a prop—all transcendent living beauty is vanished.

But the horse takes cognizance of them, who does not care about invisibility

There are many hunters that know a lot about nonhuman animals. And the hunt is a complex thing. But the hunter as politician—the hunt as a sign of strength, this bothers me. The hunt as something greater than any sensitivity shown for the hunted—this is ridiculous. So I am weaker because I can empathize? Please…taking in the world with compassion is difficult and frightening task, fraught with emotional pitfalls, the taking on the suffering of the other (so much as we, at least, imagine it…)

When he sees all beings as equal
in suffering or in joy

It is an emotional coldness, a lack of imagination, of grace, that makes people cheer when something is killed.

because they are like himself

And it is an evil that brings joy to those who, with almighty power, mow down the other with glee.

I am the sceptor

In a helicopter, with machine guns, in a car, with machetes are they laid out inside me—I keep the rites though they are painful.

I support the whole universe
with a single fragment of myself.

quotes are from: Anne Carson, Bhagavad Gita, Roger Williams, Donna Haraway, Stanley Cavell in Vicki Hearne, Bhagavad Gita

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