by Andrea Elizabeth
In listening to immigrants’ stories about coming to America for work, it seems like “America” is this insatiable entity that requires endless amounts of coal and steel, which its citizens don’t care to produce for themselves. It’s as if there was one will in America for all of this. I know there are renegades who fled west to escape the industrial revolution, but even they, like the Native Americans, caved to certain conveniences made by industry.
It’s like America is two people, one dominant male, one submissive female. The male driven by conquest, competition, greed, and creativity; the beautiful female loved for her natural beauty and resources, but defeated by a hunger beyond anyone’s ability to control. There are some kind husbandmen who try to restore what has been taken from her, but they are token efforts. “Your desire shall be for your husband, but he will have dominion over you.” It is a fallen world.
But one can’t deny the creativity and not be impressed by the sky scrapers, super fast, comfortable transportation, and well appointed living conditions. They are amazing. The land was willing to provide for these things to its own detriment sometimes. And sometimes to its improvement. I don’t agree that all has been improved, but perhaps erosion would have been more destructive otherwise. Destruction can’t be totally demonized either. The beautiful Grand Canyon is carved out by violent water and fault lines. The mountains are produced by cataclysmic collisions and explosive volcanic eruptions. Nature is a force to be reckoned with, but it wasn’t intended to be so in isolation. Figuring out what interventions are necessary is given to us. I tend to like the pre-European Native American approach, but its too late for that now. Maybe people did need more to do.