As the vote on Trump’s tax plan approaches, Academy Award-winning actor, director and environmentalist Robert Redford has slammed the Republicans rewrite of the tax laws a “scam” and “a dirty deal.”
Redford, now 81-years-old and still active on the big screen, is particularly incensed that tucked into the 500-page giveaway to the rich and big corporations is a section opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling for the first time since it was designated as a national park half a century ago by then-President Dwight Eisenhower.
“Oil and gas companies,” writes Redford in a Time Magazine essay, “have coveted those lands ever since. They’ve tried, and failed, more than a dozen times to break down the protection that guards the refuge from drilling and the harm they cause.”
Redford waxes poetically about how America’s wide open landscapes reflect the “unique American spirit” that defines us as a people and inspired us “from the start as a nation.”
He points out that until Trump took office, America’s leaders promised to “protect and preserve the natural splendor of this country, not just for some, but for all of us. And not just for today, but for all time.”
“President Donald Trump is trying to break that promise and sacrifice spectacular lands for the sake of oil and gas profits,” laments Redford.
Trump’s target is the Arctic Refuge, which Redford calls a “national treasure, so majestic and wild and beautiful the Gwich’in people call it ‘The Sacred Place Where Life Begins.’”
The deal Trump has cut to let that place be exploited adds to the tragedy, in Redford’s opinion: “They are claiming to pay for proposed tax cuts by charging oil companies $100 million a year to mine the Refuge but we all know what’s really going on.”
“$100 million dollars sounds great,” adds Redford, “but don’t be fooled. It won’t even pay the interest on our new debt for even a single day.”
Redford says it is not worth the trade-off.
“It’s a dirty deal – but it’s not a done deal. Republicans are scrambling to get their tax scam out of Congress and onto Trump’s desk by Christmas.”
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) December 18, 2017
Redford has been an active environmental activist for more than 40 years, and founded the Sundance Institute as part of efforts to save fragile lands in Utah and elsewhere, as well as to put on the iconic annual film festival.
Redford implores all Americans to join him to save the Arctic Refuge and “stand up for this special place.”
“Remind them,” pleads Redford, “of our American spirit, the will to fight to stand up for causes and ideas bigger than ourselves.”
Redford joins the majority of Americans, according to polls, who are against Trump’s tax scheme to rob the poor to make the rich richer.
However, the Republicans – determined to pay back their big money donors – continue to rush toward passing this terrible, unfair, deceitful tax legislation that will hurt working people and the middle class.
If the world had more Redfords and a lot fewer Trumps, it would be a better, safer, more beautiful place.
Until then all of us must work like Redford to resist the dreadful Republican efforts to rape and pillage beautiful places like the Arctic Refuge.