Yesterday here in Silver City members of the Interim Water and Natural Resources Committee listened to testimony about the planned diversion project on the Gila River. There is great controversy about this project. A strong and loud group wants to keep the Gila River free of any diversion in the state, the last and only river to so qualify, as a symbol of the Gila Wilderness. Another part of the population can’t see just giving Arizona all that water in a thirsty desert Southwest.
I’m of a split mind over the diversion. On the one side the preservationist platform is idealistic to the core–noble, but I wonder how practical. The diversionists, if we can call them that, are perhaps more practical, but also rather selfish. What concerns me is what concerned the legislators who were at the meeting. The money allotted for such a project is only a small percentage of the actual cost of the project, and the diversionists are not talking very openly about where the money will come from. We all know–taxes and costs of water. This will ride on the backs of the every-day Joe and Jane who use water to wash dishes or irrigate fields. The issues generally thrown around have very little to do with the actual issue at hand: Somebody has a chance at getting quite wealthy on the backs of people who can ill afford it.
But isn’t that life? The issue is rarely the issue. The source of the anxiety that drives things is rarely owned publically, because it is so often unacceptable–so we find acceptable labels to put on it. The reality is that anxiety springs from within and is triggered by things around us. Blaming another for making me anxious is an exercise in diversion; it throws stones to hide my hands. As such it rarely gets what it is after. Making the other change rarely handles the anxiety within on a long-term basis.
What we need is honesty within and a capacity to sit in the anxiety until the real cause surfaces, which is usually quite a while. Can we as a people learn to hold the burn in our hearts without trying to shove it off onto another, who is already holding their own burn? Then might have a chance at growing up as a people, owning humbly our own agendas, and beginning to live in peace.