by Secretary of the Dept. of the Interior, Rose Linke
It is my greatest honor to serve our country in this role.
I remember first learning of the Department of the Interior and thinking it was the most poetic sounding department in the government. Like, it might as well be called the Department of Deep Reflection. You know, like it's a pond that's cool and dark and deep and just keeps going. It's the deepest pond in the world. You keep thinking if you just find a heavy stone and a long string you might find out how deep it goes, how far till you find the sand at the bottom.
I remember being a bit older and learning that the Secretary of the Department of the Interior at the time wanted to open the Alaska National Refuge to oil exploration. I remember being confused about the tension between management and conservation.
It seemed inexplicable to me then, as it does now, that the same person responsible, more or less, for preserving wild lands, is also responsible, more or less, for exploiting those lands. Under the guidance of the McCarthy administration, this will change. And it will change for good. Meaning it will change for the better and it will change for all time.
It is not our lands’ responsibility to look out for us. It is our responsibility to look out for our lands. In the future people will not be able to understand how this could have ever not been the accepted truth. “How could it have possibly taken so long for things to change?” people will ask each other, shaking their heads.
Like my predecessor, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, I am an "overall outdoor enthusiast." Like Jewell, I believe in the power of existing laws like the 1906 Antiquities Act, which can be used to preserve Mountains and Rivers without Congressional action.
Unlike Jewell, I have yet to scale any of the world's largest mountains. Unlike Jewell I have never worked for Mobil oil company. I have never been on an oil field. I have never been a COO of a corporation.
The first female President of the U.S. thinks it's about time that the Department of the Interior saw its first poet as Secretary. Poets have long served this country with their powers of careful observation and intrinsic motivation to understand and convey the complexities of life. It is a testament to McCarthy’s vision for our country, that we will for the first time be able to turn poetry into policy.
As Wendell Berry once wrote: Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
In the future, when members of congress are holding confirmation hearings for this role, I imagine they will ask each nominee:
On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you love rocks? In some way, do you think rocks are alive?