If you've been anywhere near an electric outlet this week, you've had to catch wind of Ashley Judd's passionate national television ad campaign, on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (DWAF), condemning Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for her support of aerial kills of the Last Frontier's wolf population and exposing her "renewed anti-conservation agenda."
"I'm outraged," Judd declared, "by Palin's promotion of aerial wolf hunting and I will fight to stop her."
Palin's not one to take a celebrity-bashing lying down. In an official response, full of typical Palin venom and hyperbole, issued on the Governor's State of Alaska web site, Palin flashed her fangs back at the Action Fund:
It is reprehensible and hypocritical that the Defenders of Wildlife would use Alaska and my administration as a fundraising tool to deceive Americans into parting with their hard-earned money.
The ad campaign by this extreme fringe group, as Alaskans have witnessed over the last several years, distorts the facts about Alaska's wildlife management programs...
Shame on the Defenders of Wildlife for twisting the truth in an effort to raise funds from innocent and hard-pressed Americans struggling with these rough economic times.
The DWAF is hardly a "fringe group" (a frequently invoked Palin dismissal), but rather a widely respected organization dedicated to "saving imperiled wildlife and championing the Endangered Species Act, the landmark law that protects them." And since my ten-year-old son raised money on his own this year to protect imperiled penguins impacted by global warming, which Palin, of course, denies is "man made" (talk about fringe), I feel compelled to call lie to Palin's--and the State of Alaska's--duplicitous characterization of the Fund's work.
Rodger Schlickeisen, president of the DWAF, no slouch when it comes to defending endangered wildlife, has now issued his own response:
As we've seen before, what you often get in response from Governor Palin when she is challenged is not a rational defense of what she's doing, but rather name calling and a very transparent attempt at spin control. But then again, since there is no defense for her aerial wolf slaughter program, it may be that she feels there really isn't much else she can do...
Deception and deflection are all that that Governor Palin has ever offered in place of justification for her aerial killing program. By calling us 'extremists' she is suggesting that our opposition to her policies and actions is out of step with the way the majority of Americans view her brutal, unethical wildlife slaughter. But it is she who is the extremist in this case. And she knows it.
Okay, first three rounds go to the DWAF, with a standing-eight-count required of Palin following the last foray. Palin's--and Alaska's--assault on wildlife used to go somewhat unchecked as a result of the Last Frontier's geographical isolation. Now, because of Palin, the whole world is watching. Indeed, the DWAF has now devoted a web page to Palin's "extreme anti-conservation record on issues ranging from global warming, energy and drilling to wildlife and habitat protection."
The wolves of Alaska don't know they are Alaskan...or American. Wherever you are, these wolves are part of your world. They represent the best part of the Last Frontier; its wildness, its mystery and its promise of adventure. In short, they represent hope.