Posted 25 May 2004 - 01:35 PM
I tried to think of this as if in some hypothetical time and place in which a politician wants to use my profession for his campaign, talking a lot about the time when he worked in that professoin and showing pictures of himself and some of his co-workers from that time, including me. I have a bit over three years of experience since college working in natural resources management, mostly forestry, and still tend to think of myself as a forester even though I am currently employed otherwise after a relocation and don't know when I'll get back into forestry in this area.
If any old ordinary politician were to make his/her past work in forestry a campaign theme, I wouldn't care. It might even mildly amuse me, at least at first. If it were not just anybody, but a politician that I strongly disliked, I'd be somewhat annoyed by his/her attempt to associate himself/herself with me and my fellow foresters and past foresters, but still not think it was really a big deal. If (s)he really was a forester once before and that's something voters would care about, they should know about it and (s)he should tell them. I wouldn't even care much about the negative appraisals of him that I kept hearing from those who've worked with him before in forestry, or his supporters' contradictory claims that those people don't exist and every forester or ranger who ever met him loved and admired him. I understand that different people will have different experiences and impressions of the same thing or person, and in any case it was long enough ago for him to have changed since then EITHER WAY.
But this is a step beyond that. Here we're talking about a former forester who has consistently shown an overpowering contempt for forestry and foresters since then, from voting as a legislator to weaken the profession, to making speeches about how wrong everything foresters do is and how wicked the fundamental purposes and methods of forestry are and how many problems in the world are foresters' fault, to making a big public display of throwing away his old firefighter patches and outstanding-forest-management plaques (with the bronze leaf and silver tree on them), to claiming to have participated in crimes against humanity and/or deliberately created environmental disasters as a forester because that kind of thing was routine and openly encouraged as part and parcel of the foul, twisted nature of forestry. And now he has decided that acting like he's for us instead of against us is good for his political career, and we're supposed to just ignore all that he's done and said before, including the claims to have committed serious heavy-duty crimes in the name of forestry, because that all wasn't for real but mere political convenience, of course; THIS is what's real now.
So now I end up in pictures with him from the past, with his supporters putting words of praise for him in my mouth, while he tries to absorb from me as much as possible of the legitimacy and respect that I wouldn't even have anymore myself if he'd had his way.
I'd want it stopped, too.