Christmas. That one time of the year when humanity and compassion should outshine all other aspects of life. A time given to us to be at our best, to use our skills and abilities to these ends.
Often, Tim Mowry has made us laugh even as we nod in familiarity at the narrations he shares of Alaska life. We find in his words a Patrick McManus-like humor and commonality. Many of these columns rest in my desk drawer and, upon rereading, never fail to bring one of those "Oh, yeah" smiles.
With all this in mind, it is so sad he marked this Christmas not with a creation of which he and his readership could be proud, could fully, laughingly enjoy, but instead with a subtle diatribe against wolves. I'm sure his fellow wolf-haters in the Alaska Outdoors Council and the Alaska Trappers Association were delighted, for are these not the ranks from which come the amoral cowards who pursue wolves by plane and snow machine, gunning them down after running them to exhaustion? Are these not the same folks who when questioned about the twice-expressed Alaska voters' opposition on ethical grounds ask, "What's ethics got to do with it?" What Tim scripted and the News-Miner chose to print fits so well with this crowd and so poorly with the spirit of Christmas.
Worse yet is the vehicle by which he accomplished this: Taking a beloved poem that for generations has been read to children throughout the land as the embodiment of the magic and wonder of Christmas. He turned something good, something eloquently magical, into a death wish for a species that unlike his own has never been responsible for the extinction of another species.
Then, in a final show of disdain, he uses a closing line whose last notable application was a similar death wish for a segment of humanity, the Native American, of which it was once also said, "the only good one is a dead one."
Merry Christmas, and welcome to the world of the Alaskan wolf-hater a la Mowry.
Art Greenwalt / Fairbanks AK