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Save Our Tree

September 4, 2010

In the field behind my house on the other side of the cattle fence were two Ponderosa pine trees infested with pine beetles. I asked the owner to cut them down; he wouldn’t. I asked the county to force him to cut them down; they couldn’t. Finally, I cut one of them down. But by that time, the beetles had attacked one of my trees, which was bigger, straighter, older and yet stronger than the two infected trees. The forester later told me that the beetles instinctively know when a tree is vulnerable and swarm to it.

It took a lot of hits–I counted something over 200 pitch tubes, meaning the beetles had gotten through the bark and into the tree’s core. The County forester told me it was beyond hope, that I should cut it down and treat the wood to prevent it from infecting my other trees.  You can’t replace a 100-year old tree overnight. I hadn’t planted it obviously; I’d gotten it with the land I bought. But I decided it was worth saving and against conventional wisdom, I tried.

I sprayed it with insecticide using a spray bottle and a garden hose. I couldn’t reach the highest hits but I did the best I could. By some miracle it survived. The beetles didn’t infect any other trees the next year. That was seven or eight years ago. The tree still stands.

Unless you live in Black Forest like I do, why should you care about my tree? Because the story is a fitting analogy for this year’s Colorado governor’s race.

The two trees on the other side of the fence are Tancredo and Hickenlooper. Dan Maes is our tree. We in the Liberty movement and the Republican Party didn’t plant him or grow him. We listened to his message and because it is like ours, we bought into him and his candidacy. It was our support rather than his brilliance as a politician and campaigner that brought victory at the state assembly and the primary election. He’s not the most beautiful or strongest tree in the forest, but he’s our tree. And he’s a whole lot better than those two infected trees on the other side of the fence.

He’s taken some hits this week. The beetles that are the establishment press, the pundits, and the self-appointed power brokers are focused on destroying him. When they’re done with him (or their ratings start to decline), they’ll move on to the next target. Abandoning him will not save the other candidates on the ticket–quite the contrary, it will embolden these insects to attack someone else.

No, We the People and the new alternative media are the insecticide. You see, the beetles are not all-powerful. Not all of the beetles carry the fungus that destroys the tree. Strong trees can survive and even thrive if assisted. The insecticide I used was pretty old; I wasn’t sure it was going to work. Our insecticide is old too–it dates from 1776.

Dan said yesterday that he is in it to win it. Always has been.

Are we?

One Comment
  1. Jan T permalink
    September 4, 2010 10:50 am

    I agree. Dan is “my tree.” And sometimes those trees can and do surprise us. Especially if given extra attention.

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