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E-M:/ Why I am voting for Al Gore

Enviro-Mich message from <anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org>

Another piece: AW

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your dedication to forest protection.  My name is Mark 
Winstein, and I am the co-founder and former president of Save America's 
Forests.  In June, I began coordinating the Forest Unity Network, an 
initiative to unify grassroots and national environmental groups to achieve 
broad protection for our National Forests by 2002.
On Tuesday, November 7, you will have the rare opportunity to choose the 
president of the United States.  The last presidential race this close was 
in 1960, where the margin of victory for John F. Kennedy was 1 vote per 
precinct.  I am asking you recognize how powerful your one vote is in this 
election, and to please elect Al Gore as your President.
Perhaps you are considering voting for another candidate, or not voting at 
all.  Below are reasons that I think you and everyone who cares about 
forests should vote for Al Gore.
Some people think that there will be no difference between Al Gore and George 
W. Bush.  Ralph Nader makes this point often.  I appreciate the gifts Ralph 
Nader has given America in the past.  He is one of the leaders who inspired me 
to dedicate my life to protecting forests. And I sincerely appreciate his 
efforts to create a new-long term vision for our country.
But saving our last wild and natural forests is a SHORT-TERM BATTLE.  I have 
not been a big fan of the current administration, but the fact remains: 
under Clinton-Gore, the total National Forest logging volume has dropped to 
the lowest level since the 1930s.
If logging volumes return to the levels of the Reagan-Bush era, or even stay 
steady, there simply wont be much of our forest heritage left come 2004 or 
2008.  It is our job to create the impetus for action now.  I firmly believe 
that with Al Gore as president, we will have our best chance (and perhaps 
our last chance) to bring the logging volume down much, much more, rewrite 
the mission of the Forest Service, and once and for all end a century of 
devastation on our public lands while there are still wild forests left to 
Please remember:  not only will the next President appoint 5000 federal 
administrators, he will add scores of new federal judges at every level. 
The make-up of the various federal courts is critically important to all 
environmental protection efforts.  With so much riding on each and every 
single vote, I urge you to consider carefully, and understand the impact 
your one vote will have on the future of this nation.
Please pass this message along to as many people as you can.  In addition, 
if you would like to help in other ways to elect Al Gore, please write to 
Thank you for reading this far.  If you still doubt the value of electing Al 
Gore as President, please read on below.
Mark Winstein
(co-founder and former president, Save America's Forests; coordinator 
pro-tem, Forest Unity Network)
Note:  This is a one-time mailing to friends, colleagues, and associates.  I 
appreciate your taking the time to read my opinions.   If you would like to 
receive future email from me on forests and politics, please send a blank 
email to: Forest-Protection-subscribe@egroups.com.
President Kennedy said,  ask not what your country can do for you; ask 
what you can do for your country.  The people receiving this letter are 
leaders and doers, making the difference day in and day out for forests.  I 
ask you to consider:  Which candidate will, as President, provide you with 
the best opportunity for you to advance your work and achieve your dreams 
over the next four years?
My personal commitment is that by 2002, America achieves a new level of 
protection for our National Forests, including an end to the timber sale 
program, protection for the last core areas of forest biodiversity, and the 
establishment of a scientifically valid ecological restoration program for 
the federal forestlands.
Regardless of who is elected, I will work to achieve these goals by 2002. 
But as someone dedicated to forests, I want Al Gore to be our president.
Lets examine the commitments of the top three candidates:
AL GORE has committed to ending logging in roadless areas, old growth, and 
the Tongass.  This would go beyond the current policies of the Clinton 
administration. Despite numerous disappointments, the Clinton administration 
has reduced overall logging levels on our National Forests to the lowest 
volume since the 1930s.
GEORGE W. BUSH says he wants to INCREASE the cutting, reverse protections 
granted under Clinton, and change our environmental laws.  I hope that I 
will not have to fight against the cultivated ignorance of Governor Bush.
RALPH NADER knows the issues we care about.  But he is not proposing to win 
this election. Rather, he is committed to building a third party that will 
serve as watch dog over the other two, and reform the system over the long 
I am not inspired by the prospect of being a watch dog.  I have never 
considered myself a watch dog, and no matter who is elected, I will never be 
a watch dog.  I am a doer.
For those of you who are choosing between Gore and Nader, do you want to be 
a watch dog, who watches while others make the decisions, or do you want to 
lead and cause other leaders to get the job done for America?
In 1980, I voted for the independent John Anderson, who took some strong 
environmental positions. It was an idealistic vote. Ronald Reagan was 
elected.  President Reagan proceeded to mow down our public ancient forests 
at the highest rate in history.  We will never regain what was lost as a 
result of that election.
On the day I voted, I didnt know that during the previous 4 years under 
President Carter, logging on the National Forests was being reduced to the 
lowest level since the 1950s.  Reagan reversed that trend 180 degrees.  The 
forests of my dreams were wiped out by that election.
I still remember how my close friend, the lead campus organizer for 
Anderson, had a dramatic change of heart when he realized that a Reagan 
victory was looming.  He abandoned Anderson and used every ounce of his 
remaining energy to urge us to vote for Carter.  He was too late.
There are those who think that allowing George W. Bush to become president 
would somehow be a good thing for forests because hell be a clear 
adversary, and fighting against him will strengthen our movement.  I say, we 
already learned how to fight clear adversaries under Reagan-Bush.  The 
forest protection movement is already full of great fighters.
The next two years can be an opportunity to completely change the direction 
of our National Forests.  Lets not go backwards.  Lets not fight the 
battles of the past.  If our destiny is to fight, let us fight against every 
force that would stop Al Gore from fulfilling his own promises and dreams. 
Lets fight against fear, cynicism, and resignation.  Lets fight for honor, 
integrity, boldness, and for the forests.
Lets put Al Gore in office, and fight to have his commitments become real, 
now.  And lets inspire him through our action and leadership, and criticism 
where necessary, to do even more.
To those of you who say it doesnt matter who is president, please think 
ahead to the next four years, and ask yourself:  What will you be doing for 
the country, and who do you want to be dealing with in government?  We are 
not just electing a president, we are electing an entire administration. The 
new president and his aides will appoint 5000 people to carry out the job of 
governing this country, and will name scores of new federal judges at every 
level who decide the fate of forests on a day to day basis.
I urge you to think long and hard about the impact of Gore versus Bush on the 
judiciary.  Think about Scalia and Thomas, and a load of other judges, who 
consistently read the constitution and statutes in such a way as to elevate 
the rights of corporations and states at the expense of individuals and the 
environment.  One of the most critical tools the environmental movement has 
used to protect our natural wealth and heritage is the lawsuit, but without 
judges willing to faithfully apply the law, and willing to hold the 
bureaucracies' feet to the fire, we will not win those battles.  Even 
assuming Gore and Bush were otherwise interchangeable, as Nader asserts  and 
he is especially wrong when it comes to environmental issues  Gore with 
decent judges may not be perfect, but Bush with awful judges would be 
Do you want a government where every effort to save forests will be thwarted 
by administrators and judges who dont even know the basic facts about 
ecology?  Or do you want a government that, along with plenty of 
imperfections, resistance, and bumps along the way, holds the potential to 
achieve your dreams?  Or do you just want to be a watch dog?
President Clinton has not achieved the things I hoped he would for forests, 
namely implement the policies of the legislation Ive worked for a decade to 
advance in Congress.  I fought against some of his actions with all my 
strength, and criticized him publicly when I disagreed.  However, I have 
been encouraged this year to see that he understands some of the great 
environmental issues facing the planet, including the extinction crisis. 
That is a base on which we can build.  Knowledge is the essential first step 
toward action.  Gore knows the facts.  Think back in your own life when you 
first discovered what was really happening to our National Forests, and the 
actions you have taken since then.
To equate the future with Gore to the past with Clinton is to write off the 
fact that these are two very different people, with different backgrounds 
and commitments on the environment. Al Gore is his own man.  The presidency 
changes people.  We will never know what Al Gore will do as president unless 
we elect him on November 7.  We have waited 20 years to have the opportunity 
to vote for a president who has the knowledge, commitments, and the 
potential of Al Gore.  I say to you, vote for your own dreams, and your own 
success in achieving the things you care about the most.  Vote with your 
passion for forests. Vote for Al Gore.
Mark Winstein
(co-founder and former president, Save America's Forests; coordinator 
pro-tem, Forest Unity Network)
Note:  This is a one-time mailing to friends, colleagues, and associates.  I 
appreciate your taking the time to read my opinions.   If you would like to 
receive future email from me on forests and politics, please send a blank 
email to: Forest-Protection-subscribe@egroups.com.

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