LONSBERRY: To The Metal Beasts On The Hilltop

Why do you think wind and solar projects in New York invariably end up in the poorest, most rural and politically powerless communities?

Seriously.

In this day and age, are we going to look the other way as community after community across upstate New York is stuck with alternate-energy monstrosities that destroy ancient vistas and oppress local interests?

Do we not see the injustice of far-away companies using government subsidies to force whole communities into the shadow of desecrations that salve the conscience of big-city progressives and enrich distant corporations but scar the birthright and psyche of rural New York?

One generation of elites forced open-pit mining onto southern Appalachia, and another is forcing grotesque wind turbines onto northern Appalachia. The connection is powerlessness, and the belief of one group of people that they have the right to destroy the homeland of another group of people.

We are a dumping ground, and no one will hear our voice.

We are upstate New York, and the city sends us its trash and its convicts.

Its prisons dot our countryside, and its garbage dumps befoul our highways, air and water.

And now its windmills stand watch on our ridges, like alien invaders, colonizers sent upstate by politicians, activists and profiteers to keep us in line.

To forever scar the wooded horizons which have been our home for two centuries, and home to our Iroquois predecessors for millennia untold before that. The way it has always been is no longer to be. The landscape carved by God and glaciers is scarred now by motionless turbine towers, slapped across our home like the mark of a dog that has pissed against a tree.

The Big Dipper and Orion, each in their season, have climbed above the hills of dozens of home valleys, to be seen by thousands of years of humankind, but no more. Not without the obscuring hulk of steel and the reminder that new gods reign.

The gods of profit and politics, lording it over a people in poverty.

Monuments of subjugation.

Yes, making payments to the occasional landowner, and buying off the quislings in town government too lazy or stupid to balance a budget otherwise. It is a mess of pottage given to few to despoil and destroy the birthright of many. It is the vagary of greed and political opportunism set afire in the lives and homes of people whose homelands will never look or truly be the same.

We love these forested hills and the skies above them.

They are sacred to us.

We see God in them, we feel our ancestors in them, our children will grow beneath them.

And they are taken from us so a politician gets a campaign boast and a profiteer gets a government subsidy.

For scarcely any good.

The turbines seldom turn, and the winter skies are the second-cloudiest in the country. And if everything worked all the time the area electrified would be smaller than the area despoiled.

But because the government subsidizes these projects, and because the governor wants to look green, and because the state has so ravaged our economy, and because we have no true voice whatsoever in state government, the towers go up, and the fields are papered over with solar arrays.

And the state legislators, counting campaign contributions from corporations far away, tout our despoiling as a profitable exchange, and a great boon, and proclaim themselves our benefactors.

They are right. Money is exchanged. Just as there is money exchanged in prostitution. But the recipient of that money is not truly benefited, and neither are we.

We are conquered. We are disrespected.

We lose the one thing we thought was ours forever – the sight of the far hills, the soil and the trees and the sacred line between forest and sky. Fields where rain falls and sun shines and where, if the farmer leaves it fallow, the meadow and then the scrub and the wood follow. Fields where now the soil will be darkened, deprived of sun, so that con men scamming a government program can buy themselves luxury far away.

They are the mark of the beast upon our land.

The tokens of subjugation.

We hate them, we don’t want them, they wound us to the core and disrespect our land and our history, and the land and the history of the people who went before us.

And yet they will come.

Because we are powerless.

Or so the people in the city and the Capitol think.

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