Posted by: chibotaichi | January 1, 2015

I Like Birds

The premise the Public is sold whenever taxes are being gobbled up to fund the construction of stadiums which (can) generate massive profits for billionaire owners, is that the team is a community asset. Local pride, economic activity, entertainment value, among others, are reasons we are told we should be happy to help chip in. The whole community benefits. We are all going to benefit.

As a citizen of the metropolitan area “served” by the Minnesota Vikings, I can readily admit that the building of a new football stadium will create some Good for the community. The Purple Faithful are a passionate bunch, and you can bet every week during football season thousands of dollars, if not plenty more, get shuffled about as fans buy up food and other accessories to bring to the game for tailgating, to deck out their homes and kitchens to host friends and family.

I myself am frequently caught up in the battle between the oft-liberal (though certainly not exclusively) “non-sports lobby” and the “fans” and owners and other supporters of sports.

I am hardly the most dedicated or longest tenured Vikings fan on the block. Not even close. But I am emotionally invested enough to know how to handle the Cordarelle Patterson situation (you should get at me in person if this interests you because I would love talk about it, but won’t mess things up, just in case Norv Turner is as smart as I give him credit for), and to have a variety of opinions about the roster and play-calling.

So it is, as a genuine fan, that I bring this case to the Internet.

There has been great concern about the design of the expensive (and significantly publicly funded) football palace being constructed in downtown Minneapolis. The towering structure with pristine and clear glass walls is an obvious hazard to migratory, and other, birds. There has been a lot of somewhat subdued conversation regarding the matter, ranging from pointless competitions of ignorance-on-display, to more meaningful discussions about potential solutions.

I want to bring the logic we apply in justifying the construction of the stadium in the first place to bear on this matter of the birds.

The way I see it,

I am a citizen of Minnesota, of the United States of America, of North America, of the planet Earth, to be exact. The birds which exist naturally, and have established their flight patterns over thousands of years of migration, I see them as a community asset (in Truth, I see them as part of the community, but that’s another debate). They role they fulfill in the ecosystem perhaps most importantly, but also for the aesthetic appeal, the sense of wonder they inspire, the beauty of their Wild nature.

Point being, they too are bringing much to the table, and doing so without asking for any tax-dollars. If the Vikings are deserving of financial support from the whole community, why are the birds not granted any kind of support from the very organization which suggests that community-benefit is Everything?

My argument is loose at best here, but all I really want to express is the absurdity of claiming a football team is a necessary asset to the community while suggesting that birds are not. If mutual benefit is the benchmark for what gets our support, birds certainly could make a claim (and yes, to some extent DNR and wildlife management monies benefit my feathered friends).

I’m just looking for meaningful compromise here. I want to watch my local team play football on Sundays, but I don’t believe so many birds need to die to make that happen. If the Good of the “community” is really anybody’s concern, this should be an obvious opportunity to make good on that ethos.


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