I was astonished last Saturday to wake up to a crowded inbox full of comments on my weekly blog The Gulf Oil Spill – It’s on You, America. I’ll be honest. Usually my little forays into cyberspace net a handful of nice comments from family members and a few high school buddies I haven’t seen for 35 years (and whose names appear to have mysteriously morphed although I think I know who they once were.) So I was unprepared for the love/hate that bubbled up like a witch’s brew from the ether over the next few days. Canadians pointed out that it was cold up here (I know, I live here), a number of people wanted to do bad and really quite imaginative things to me and my car, it would also appear that I am stupid, naive and (worse!) a progressive (to which I say, “Duh!”). . . and then a lot of people agreed with me that we should stop pointing fingers and get about the important business of ending our addiction to oil.
Which was, after all, my point.
Let me reiterate: I’m not saying that BP shouldn’t be held to account and I’m not saying that they are not to blame. They should and they are. For the oil spill.
Nor am I saying that the government’s response was all that it needed to be. I heard from some of you in the Gulf who pointed out any number of things the government could have done better. I believe you. And even the radical Obamist that I am admits that there are things he could have done better as well. You’ll notice I said ‘he’; not ‘He’. I may think that the sun shines out of his ass, but I don’t believe he’s infallible. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing a blog about politics; I’d be founding a new religion.
Let’s get real, folks. The ship of state is a big, creaky, rusted out old tub and, yes, for all you big-government loathers, it is bloated. How did it get that way? Well, I don’t want to let Republicans get all the credit, but both Reagan and W. did a really good job of not walking their government-is-the problem talk. Budgets, deficits and government all ballooned during their administrations; their legacy is the Jobba the Hutt size mess in which we currently find ourselves. Not to mention those two dandy wars. It’s a whole heck of a lot easier to jump into a tar pit than it is to clamber out of one and good luck coming clean any time soon.
No, it’s not big government that’s the problem, it’s bad government. And right now we have big bad government. It’s not bad because Obama happens to be President. It’s bad because it has no regulatory teeth in critical areas. Think about it. If the banks had been better regulated, we wouldn’t have lost our collective shirt back in 2008 and, if oil companies had been better regulated, we wouldn’t be filling up the Gulf of Mexico with crude even as I write — 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day worth. We have a systemic problem. Something’s broken. And that’s why it’s ultimately pointless to focus on Obama and how he’s handling the situation and especially on what he is wearing while handling the situation. Hello. This is not about outfits. This is not Sex in the City III, it’s Apocalypse Now and we can’t allow ourselves to be distracted. The ship is going down. Forget about the damned deck chairs.
Part of being adult is accepting responsibility, taking charge, and directing your energy towards being part of the solution, not part of the problem. Stop yelling, “Kill the ump!”, haul your ass out of the bleachers and get onto the field. Stop with the blame and get in the game. That’s what I’m saying.
By the way, I approve dissenting comments because I believe in a free exchange in the marketplace of ideas. I’m willing to admit it when I’m wrong and I listen to cogent arguments. Sometimes I’m even persuaded by them. From here on out, however, I will not approve comments that are weird, creepy, threatening, or so completely off the wall that I fear for their writers’ sanity. And, please, if you’re going to comment, don’t make things up. Check your facts. I do.