Written on June 16, 2010, on the morning after Obama’s historic Oval Office address to the Nation
Get ready, ’cause I’m getting on my high horse!
Those of you who know me realize that I’m a radical Obamist. I think the sun shines out of his ass. Really. I do. And I think he’s handled this old Spill in the Gulf thing as well as anyone could be expected to have. I mean, just how do you solve a problem like Maria? This thing is huge. What? He’s supposed to do nip-ups and make it disappear? He’s supposed to get pissed off and his divine wrath will somehow plug the hole? News flash: governments can only do so many things at once. Sure, the Minerals Management Service was a party on the rocks heading for the rocks, but we had two wars on the go, 47 million Americans without health care, and a global financial meltdown. Our President was, I think you’ll agree, a little busy. Reform, particularly reform of entrenched bureaucracies, takes time, especially when that entrenched bureaucracy is having as much fun as MMS seemed to. Rome wasn’t built in a day; nor was Sodom destroyed in one. No, wait. It was. Never mind.
In any case, my point is this. The responsibility for the oil spill ultimately lies on us – and by ‘us’, I include Canadians, because 1) I am an Americanadian and 2) Canadians are even bigger energy hawgs than Americans. According to the World Bank (last updated June 15, 2010), in 2007, Canadians consumed 8,169 kilograms of energy, per capita, while Americans consumed 7,666. Compare that to other industrialized countries:
- Australia – 5,992
- The Netherlands – 4,909
- Russia – 4,909
- France – 4,258
- Japan – 4,057
- Germany – 4,027
- United Kingdom – 3,464
- Italy – 3,001
- China – 1,484
What’s wrong with us? I’ll tell you what’s wrong: we’re a stiff-necked people. Never mind the Jews (Israelis, incidentally, use only 2,875 kilograms of energy a year). It’s us North Americans who have refused for decades to do one damn thing about our addiction to oil. What made Jimmy Carter, the first President I ever voted for, a one-term President? A little thing called the Iran hostage crisis. Oh, and the fact that he had the temerity to tell us that we had a problem with oil and that, if we didn’t do something about it, that problem would grow and grow and grow . . . just like the oil spill filling up the Gulf of Mexico right now. For advising us to turn the heat down and wear a cardigan, we banished him to that penumbral shadowland haunted by ex-Presidents, where he has labored ever since in the service of world peace, and put in his place – ta! da! — Ronald Reagan – a nice man, but a terrible President (don’t go all flinty-eyed on me; I said he was nice), and so far down the oil companies’ pockets that he was sucking lint with every breath.
Come on, people!
Stop criticizing the President for not being mad enough or empathetic enough or for wearing the wrong kind of pants. . . . (What is it with Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson anyway? (http://www.mediaite.com/tv/aghast-gretchen-carlson-accuses-obama-of-wearing-fancy-pants/) What does she want him to wear? Hip waders? Overalls? Hot pants? Oh, excuse me. He’s supposed to dress like Thad Allen? He’s supposed to pretend to be in the Coast Guard? The way Bush pretended to be a fly boy? Give me a break!
Instead look in the mirror and see the person who has not written his Congressman asking that a carbon tax be put in place; who has objected to wind turbines in her neighborhood because they aren’t pretty; who just had to buy that Hummer, but somehow didn’t have to buy that Prius (thus potentially martyring themselves for the cause); who invests their money on Wall Street in the hopes of making more money, but not in green investments in the hopes that our children might have an actual planet at the end of this wild ride. Criticize that person. Then do the right thing. Get off your duff and help us out a little here. We could sure use it.
The common wisdom is that we get the politicians we deserve. Not true in Obama’s case. We don’t deserve him, but we’ve got him. So let’s just be grateful he’s not a warmongering idiot like Bush and get on with it.