Monday, May 10, 2010

Past as prologue, Palin, Obama and all things "green" - Your Weekly Dose

I'm generally not a big fan of Keith Olbermann even though I often agree with his politics. I just find him a little too "Limbaughesque" in the style department some times.

But I have to admit I loved him showing a tape recently on "Countdown" of Sarah Palin leading her groupies, barely a fortnight before the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster, in chants of "Drill baby drill, not stall baby stall", while she assured her groveling groupies that deep sea drilling for oil was perfectly safe.

Olbermann lost me, however, when, after repeatedly showing the tape, he said, "That woman is an idiot."

The tape made that reality about Palin crystal clear to anyone with half a brain. There was really no need for Olbermann's additional commentary. It made him seem, well, "Limbaughesque".

But anyway, here we are facing a man made marine disaster of likely unprecedented proportions that isn't just about the greed of big oil companies. It's about our own selfishness, stupidity, ongoing love affair with things like Status Utility Vehicles, and our deep denial of the dangers our continued dependence on oil, be it foreign or domestic, poses to both the global environment and our national security.

I don't care if people view themselves as faux green Obama-maniacs fretting about climate change and global warming while driving their Range Rovers and Denalis on some of greater Newburtport's best maintained roads; or science denying Dodge Ram, monster pickup truck driving, rednecks who sport stickers on their bumpers with slogans like, "My Wife Yes, My Dog Maybe, My Gun - NEVER!"; the truth is most Americans, across the board, have yet to grasp what's really at stake here - both in terms of the environment and our long term economic and national security.

As much as I may have enjoyed watching Olbermann lampoon Palin for her sophomoric "Drill baby drill" pep rally, I was also well aware President Obama had recently announced that he would allow new drilling leases to be issued to oil companies in numerous coastal regions of the country.

Now, I expect Sarah Palin to do and say stupid things. It is, after all, par for her course.

But when I heard a man as intelligent as President Obama reopen the door to increased off shore oil drilling, in direct contradiction to a promise he'd made on the campaign trail, my heart sank.

That announcement was not a profile in political courage. It was a profile in political expediency.

If Barack Obama was truly a leader, he would not have called for his own version of "drill baby drill", or tried to do a half hearted Sarah Palin/Dick Cheney imitation on energy.

He would have called the American people to action. He would have told us the truth; we are not going to drill ourselves to economic, energy, environmental, or national security.

He would have spoken the word to which no American politician dares give voice - SACRIFICE.

He would have told Americans that our choice is not "to drill or not to drill". The choice before us is whether we are going to continue on the path we have been on for more than a century. A path that has led us to this precarious place in terms of not only our economic and strategic security, but also our environmental and ecological security.

The clock, as they, say is ticking and, thus far, very few Americans have showed any real signs that they grasp what's actually at stake.

I see and hear it all the time, from Costa Rica to Cape Cod. More and more people are talking "green" but they aren't walking "green" - not by a long shot.

Most Americans, regardless of party affiliation or political ideology, are living proof of NY Times columnist Tom Friedman's assertion in his compelling book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded", that people are for more interested in a "green party" than they are a genuine "green revolution".

Being "green" is all the rage. It's the new cause celebre in America, but not much else.

That's truly tragic because we are running out of time, quicker than most people realize, to, as Friedman put it in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded", "...manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable..." in terms of both climate change and global biodiversity loss.

As the disaster in the Gulf continues to wreak its havoc, perhaps one positive to come out of it will be an awakening, a true awakening, especially among those who claim to care about all things green, that the time has come for a genuine "green revolution", not just a hip and trendy "green party".

However, with past often being prologue, I, sadly, am not holding my breath.

Michael Cook

1 comment:

SJS said...

Mr. Cook, a later post than this one reveals that we are, happily, neighbors. But, if I were you, I would leave my address out in future.