Look into the eyes of another political victim.
I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog that we have a true treasure near our house. That treasure is the The Wildlife Prairie Park which is located in Edwards, IL. Linda and I have been to many parks and zoos around the country and when it comes to the smaller budget outfits WPP stands heads and shoulders above the others. Their environment is well maintained, their animals are placed in natural habitats and when it comes to wolves in particular, there is not a more lively and accessible pack. They have plenty of area filled with trees and prairie and tend to stay visible most of the time, always providing great opportunities to snap a few pictures for your pleasure or portfolio.
It is actually very enjoyable to sit and watch the pack interaction from an overlook built off the side of their habitat. Give it enough time and you will be able to distinguish the alpha from the subordinates and although it is difficult at first to tell all the wolves apart, you can actually start ordering them by their rank in the pack by who bothers who, who has first dibs at the food and which ones are willing to intrude on another’s kill. Eventually Linda will drag me away from their area to go check out the other occupants of the park, but I always try and stop by before I leave to say goodbye. Up to now, that has been acknowledgment of a temporary parting with an expectation that I’ll be back soon to check on their progress and take some pictures for the walls.
But now things have changed thanks to our wonderful Illinois politics which has managed to not only become a disgrace compared to the rest of the states but put us on the brink of financial ruin. I will not go into the history of illegal activity by our past governors and you have probably seen stories on the recent one that was impeached and now awaiting a jury decision on ethics violations. Instead, I would like to highlight the recent actions of the individual who took over for the impeached governor with promises to right the titanic. Before the impeached governor decided to make a public mockery of himself on wiretaps, he cut funding to a large number of parks which included our very own Wildlife Prairie Park as well as Jubilee Park that I do most of my training runs in. It was downstate so what the hell did he care and besides his wife thought all the roads to the hick cities were ugly and wanted wildflowers planted to keep her eyes from having to look at the filth (note to politicians and their spouses, I never forget). However, when our temporary governor was sworn in, he promised to restore the funding gaining the trust and appreciation for all of downstate hicks. Finally, a governor with more in the skull than a hair mop. As of this week , this promise has become as hollow as the rest of the governors’ statements.
Apparently he has decided to cut ALL funding to Wildlife Prairie Park putting the fate of our favorite park in jeopardy. We are members of the park and thus help to provide additional funding to compensate for the shortfalls from the state’s donation. Although, our fees were really distributed across the overall expenses of the park, I liked to think it went to providing food for the wolves.
My favorite time to actually go to the park is on Sundays when they feed the animals. Or from our selfish perspective, when “we” get to feed the wolves. Not sure just how powerful those jaws are? Wonder what those teeth can do to bones? Let me tell you, it is quite impressive and makes me glad to be on the outside of their habitat. But now all of that is in jeopardy because our Chicago based political machine has run our state into the ground. We will likely now try to give some additional money to the park to help it through this tough time, but that is just another personal financial takeaway in a time when our current federal government has decided that spending trillions of dollars at the cost of middle income tax hikes (yeah, we’ve read the details they’ve tried to hide) is more important than worrying about paying THEIR OWN taxes (sound familiar presidential appointees?) or giving more than just a few thousand dollars to charity (sound familiar Mr. VP?). All I can say, is my voice will be loud an clear at every future election. My only hope is others see the reality as well. Until then, I hope to visit the park as much as I can this year. I can’t imagine what a loss this will be if they have to shut the gates and displace my furry friends.
This one’s for you Pat…. thanks for another gutless action.
By the way, to check out a few additional pictures as well as the ones here in their full sizes, feel free to visit the Eddiesoft Photography site