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I saw these cacti as elegiac -- propped and cradled icons of rugged American can-do --and a suitable metaphor for America at the end of eight years of the Bush administration. I tried to re-direct my anger over current American unilateralism for instance, or the erosion of the Constitution, or opening wilderness preserves and parks to oil and gas exploration by seeking inspired, and inspiring, historical texts from previous administrations, or prominent individuals, that signalled a very different approach. So, to the opening of wilderness preserves and parks to oil and gas exploration, I responded with the text of the legislation (1872) that created Yellowstone National Park -- the world's first national park and, arguably, the first time in human history that such a large tract of land had been set aside, not be exploited through ranching, lumbering, or mining.
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