of vested prejudices
17 syllables, 7 words and more situational application than you can shake a stick at, if that’s your idea of a good time.
If I started listing the different situations in the current news cycle that these 7 words could be applied, the list would soon be hiring than the Empire State Building and its 102 floors.
I adapted today’s haiku from a “Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West” written by Wallace Stegner and published in 1954.
Major John Wesley Powell was the one armed explorer of Wonderful World of Disney fame who rafted down the Colorado River in 1869 and located the Grand Canyon and invented a tourist sport at the same time.
Major Powell also served as the second Director of the United States Geological Survey, a post he held from 1881–1894.
When Mr. Stegner wrote about Major Powell, Stegner was able to comment about the problem of living out west.
Living out in the American West where there was LOTS of SUNSHINE, LOTS of WILD FIRES and VERY LITTLE WATER.
Mr. Stegner was able to comment about as Major Powell noticed that there would be issues.
Major Powell published in 1878 a government paper titled: Report on the Lands of the Arid Regions of the United States.
According to one account, Major Powell, “. . . unflinchingly described the scarcity of water, and summarized that much of the American south-west, if it must be settled, should be settled lightly and modestly. Overpopulate it, and it will be unforgiving.”
According to Mr. Stegner, “As a government scientist, Major Powell was now defying ignorance. He was taking on vested interests and the vested prejudices by which they maintained themselves.”
As one account puts it, Major Powell was a sage.
And what does sage mean?
According to the online Merriam-Webster it means:
Wise through reflection and experience.
Proceeding from or characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment.
One (such as a profound philosopher) distinguished for wisdom.
A mature or venerable person of sound judgment.
So what happened to Major Powell and his report?
No one listened to him.