Politicians like to find uncontroversial, cost-free win-win situations that can result in gaining political capital at no political cost. John McCain and Sarah Palin have such an opportunity in this election campaign by appealing to environmentalists and nature lovers in an appealing way.
John McCain lives in Arizona, where a population of endangered California Condors, North America’s largest and most endangered bird species reside. Condors also reside in California and other states where McCain could use some political leverage in the upcoming election.
California condors are obligate scavengers. They feed on carrion, including the remains of hunter-killed animals like deer. The problem for condors is that traditional hunting ammunition contains lead in the bullets, and led is highly toxic to condors, and is also toxic to other birds, like bald eagles, golden eagles, red-tail hawks and the like. All of these birds have been known to get sick and die from feeding on animals shot by hunters that wandered off to die because the hunter could not locate them, or from fragments of lead in the remains left behind by hunters when field dressing their kills.
There is an easy solution and it does not cost politicians anything and costs hunters nothing beyond what they are already paying. The solution is to substitute non-toxic ammunition for ammunition, which contains lead. This ammunition is now readily available for hunting most game species and it is highly affective in the field and has met with outstanding approval from hunters who have tried it.
The need to treat sick California Condors from lead ingestion has been at taxpayer expense, and the death of condors is a financial blow to the endangered species program. It would be a win-win solution and would seemingly represent Republican values of market-driven solutions if the McCain/Palin campaign and especially Sarah Palin were to get directly involved.
All that would need to happen would be for Sarah Palin, a woman big game hunter, governor of Alaska, and vice-presidential candidate to take a public stand promoting use of non-toxic ammunition for hunters everywhere in the U.S. Publicity from Sarah Palin could easily affect market forces to drive demand for the non-toxic ammunition and could raise public awareness of a little known problem. Not only California Condors would benefit, but eagles and hawks and other scavengers all across America would benefit it we could once and for all end the use of lead in the bullets of hunters.
By utilizing this unique opportunity, McCain/Palin could gain political capital among wildlife lovers and environmentalists. It would REALLY be a win-win if the Democrats took up the issue, too. Perhaps Democrats could respond by dealing with the parallel issue of lead in fishing tackle, which also poisons the environment.
It would be a great thing if the two political parties actually began competing to save the environment, instead of fighting each other over environmental issues. The issue of saving California Condors with Sarah Palin as spokesman for non-toxic hunting ammo would be a great place to start.