Teddy Roosevelt

I bet you didn’t know that Teddy and I were tight. Oh, yeah. I was such good friends with him I could tell exactly what he was thinking and what was on his mind.

I’m sure by this point you are wondering if I have lost my mind. Well, I have always said that to lose something means that at one time you had to have possessed what you claim to have lost in order to have actually lost it. Yeah, Teddy and I were inseparable. Mind you we never met but that doesn’t matter. I still can tell you everything about the man because I read a lot, or well, I’ve heard many people talk about him and everything he stood for, well actually, I do recall the name. So, I feel like I really know him and if we had lived at a time together, I know we would have hung out together. Probably done some hunting together too. Teddy was a big hunter you know.

The truth is, I must confess, that Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t my best friend. Actually, I know very little about Teddy. I heard via the grapevine that teddy bears were named after him and that he was a nerdy kind of fellow who did a few things to help set an example of how we should protect our natural resources and make sure we had some wildlife left to enjoy. That’s about it.

If more people would be honest with themselves they too would admit that they don’t know Teddy Roosevelt and they should stop pretending that they know “what Teddy Roosevelt would have done”. Poor ole Teddy. I wonder what Teddy would say if he knew how many people dropped his name on a daily basis as a means for finding support for their agendas?

In Maine last year (follow this link and click on “Baxter Land Swap” category), supporters of an effort to trade off some of Maine’s public lands in order to acquire an additional 6,000 acres of restricted sanctuary land to be added to Baxter State Park, used the fact that Teddy Roosevelt visited the park therefore he would have wanted the land protected.

Last week in a debate in Montana over whether that state should outlaw hunting in so-called “high-fence” preserves, one opponent of the practice said that Teddy Roosevelt would roll over in his grave if he knew hunters were shooting game behind fences. A Montana senator replied that if we were to infringe on the hunting rights of individuals, “I think Teddy Roosevelt would crawl out of his grave and come get us.” Poor ole Teddy! Does he ever get any rest?

Just today, a member of the Humane Society of the United States, in an opinion piece in the Arizona Daily Star, chastises the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a proposal to allow hunting mountain lions in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge near Yuma, Arizona. The author rants on as if she had been best friends with Teddy (I’m jealous).

The first National Wildlife Refuge was created by President Theodore Roosevelt on Pelican Island, Fla., in 1903 as a place where birds would be safe from the guns and snares of hunters. Today the National Wildlife Refuge System includes more than 93 million acres of wildlife habitat in all 50 states.
For a good portion of their history, the vast majority of these refuges were maintained as Roosevelt had intended they should be: safe havens where animals would be secure from hunters.

And I thought I was the only one who knew him well enough to know what he was thinking then and what he would be thinking today if he were alive. Poor ole Teddy!

Do any of us really know Teddy Roosevelt other than what we read in a few books and the “lore” that has been passed down from one story to the next? Not really, no more than we could say what Abe Lincoln would do, Thomas Jefferson or Fred Arbuckle (Fred was a neighbor of a friend living next door to a second cousin of my best buddy’s brother). I think Teddy did what Teddy thought was cool for his day. If Teddy were alive today, he might have had a chance in the last 88 years since his death, to have revisited some of his beliefs and pet projects. Maybe he would have made a few adjustments. Maybe not.

Do I have a right to say I know Stephen King because I read his books? Do I have a right to say I know what Ronald Reagan would do because he was our President? Do I have a right to say I know what Fred Arbuckle would do because he was a neighbor of a friend……….?

I wonder if any of these people could even make an argument without dropping names like poor ole Teddy Roosevelt?

But there’s one thing for sure that I know to be fact. If Teddy were alive today, he would agree with me!

Tom Remington

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