“More than four decades after the first Earth Day,” declared President Obama in an address this week, “millions of Americans have answered the call to protect the environment. Today, let us do so again by joining together, raising our voices, and standing up for our planet and our future.”
But only last week, when millions of these very Americans “raised their voices,” an angry President Obama insulted them as “willful liars.” I refer, of course, to the defeat of the President’s pet gun-control bill at the hands of the so-called gun-lobby, made up (mostly, but not exclusively) of American sportsmen.
During his first presidential campaign Obama insulted many of these Americans as bitter yahoos who “cling to guns and bibles.”
Now stand back for an item willfully unknown or willfully ignored, by greenie-granola types:
For the last couple of decades hunters and fishermen have contributed over $1.5 billion per year towards environmental protection in the most genuine sense. To date, hunters and fisherpersons have shelled out over $20 billion for this worthy cause. A study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that for every taxpayer dollar invested in wildlife conservation, American hunters and fishermen contribute nine.
The Pittman-Robertson Act (1937), you see, imposed an excise tax of 10 per cent on all hunting gear. Then the Dingell-Johnson act (1950) did the same for fishing gear. The Wallop-Breaux amendment (1984) extended the tax to the fuel for boats. All of this lucre goes to “protect the environment” in the form of buying and maintaining National Wildlife Refuges, along with state programs for buying and maintaining various forms of wildlife habitat.
So please note: to "preserve nature," they don’t tax Birkenstock hiking boots and Ying-Yang pendants – but do tax my shotgun. They don’t tax Yoga manuals and Tofu tid-bits wrapped in recycled paper – but do tax my 30.06 deer rifle. They don’t tax binoculars or birding Field Guides with cutesy photos of the red-cockaded woodpecker and spotted Owl – but do tax the shotgun shells I blast at Mallards before arraying on my grill as Duck-K-Bobs (cooked rare and lovingly basted with plenty of butter, Cajun seasoning and teriyaki sauce).
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.