The federal government sets a tone, and you will hear complaints from several states that the new administration has had a chilling effect on state legislatures. When the attorney general instructs federal prosecutors to charge the maximum, as Jeff Sessions has done, when his response to a national opioid epidemic is to yearn for a revival of a discredited 1980s anti-drug program, that sends a message to state legislators contemplating new approaches — and a warning to states that have legalized marijuana. So far, since the new sheriff arrived in Washington, reform measures have lost momentum in Kentucky and Oklahoma. An advocate involved in the reform battles in both states said of the rhetorical barbs from the White House and DOJ: “To say that those things haven’t had an impact on the environment is just incredibly naive.”
I tend to write in braided essay form, but in a recent essay about wolves, I took it to a different level. In this essay, I didn’t make so many explicit transitions. Instead, I used the research itself to catapult the essay’s questioning. I found “62 Interesting Facts about Wolves” using Google and considered how each one was really a fact about humans. If so many of the facts involve human-and-wolf interaction, can we imagine the wolf as a separate existence-worthy species? Or are wolves only a reflection of human fears, violent capacities, love of wilderness, ability to adapt? Should humans save them to save these elements of ourselves, or does wolf existence matter for reasons beyond its relationship to the human?