We could have rallied for positive change
Roads not taken. We all have them scattered throughout our lives. We each know little regrets; a few big “Whew’s” and then some of us make colossal mistakes that could alter the very course of mankind and the planet itself.
In the wake of the attacks, I felt furious. I needed a course of action to slay my impotent rage. So many innocents, killed. Many or most of us felt that way, I am sure. I thought at the time that President Bush needed to rally the nation into constructive action. We all felt so patriotic. We were all willing to follow our leader. Together, we could do something vast. There are so few moments when an individual could alter the course of human history: few moments when the forces of nature and civilization converge to make such a move possible. I thought that last fall was the perfect moment to unleash the creative genius of the American people, to begin the process of weaning our nation from our addiction to foreign oil while simultaneously addressing the terrorist threat and our destruction of the biosphere.
We all know that, at its core, our problem with the Middle East, the reason that the psychos have support and a place to prosper, the reason that we are so deeply hated, is our government’s policy of supporting tyrants provided they supply us with cheap oil. The dictators profit, we continue to squander energy, all the while the masses live in squalor, turning out more alienated suicide bombers with little to lose.
If Bush had challenged us, the same way President Kennedy did with his vision of landing on the moon, the same way President Johnson pushed through the Civil Rights Act, and said “We are going to develop alternatives. We are going to conserve. We are going to throw all of our nations, talent, resources and human energy toward eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. We are going to boost our economy because we will be able to sell this technology to the rest of the world. We are going to begin the process of reversing the global warming that the burning of fossil fuels has threatened the planet with. We are going to do it in ten years. It is the patriotic thing to do,” we would already be on our way.
Instead, he wants to destroy Alaska’s North Slope for a few weeks’ supply. We have an administration stocked with oil barons who are clearly more concerned with enriching themselves and their crone’s than they are with promoting the interests of the nation and the rest of humanity. Cheney said, “They will not be able to conserve their way out of this crisis,” referring to the previous summer’s energy crunch in California. Of course, that is exactly what the Californians did. Ashcroft was more concerned with covering the breasts on the statue of justice than increasing the anti-terrorism budget prior to 9/11. Bush let Bin Laden escape while he thundered about Iraq. And New York and Washington burned while the Bush administration fiddled.
Instead of constructive action he is actively inviting the ire of the entire Muslim world, along with our allies, neurotically insisting on chest thumping about Saddam’s nuclear threat (which he cannot even pronounce correctly!) when he could, instead, be freeing all of mankind from its irresponsible addiction to fossil fuels. Just one example: As I understand it, there are only two commercial wind generators in all of North Dakota, the nation’s windiest state. This, while wind power is currently within a few cents of coal- and gas-fired electrical power. One big push by the government and we would be paying less for a source of power that would not require us to help keep religiously fanatical governments, that covertly support terrorists, such as the Saudis, in place while pumping up our lagging economy at the same time.
It occurs to me that Bush’s catastrophic path not taken may be the single most enormous screw up in all of human history! In our lifetimes we could have co-opted the maniac terrorists and made our lives much more secure, taken a step toward renewable energy and thus, possibly averted global climatological catastrophe, shaken the country out of its economic doldrums and enriched not only ourselves but all the peoples of the world, set all of humanity on a sustainable path to prosperity, quit propping up evil governments and maybe even have averted an environmental nightmare. (How did you like this summer’s weather?)
History will tell if I am right. But even if I am only half right, the Bush administration’s unwillingness to place the good of the country and that of mankind ahead of enriching themselves is so profoundly irresponsible as to be immoral. His policies expose the country to continued attack, ignore the consequences of continuing to squander fossil fuels, discount a flagging economy at home and promote unimaginable poverty abroad.
We have got to get rid of Bush and his oil patch pals before they do to the entire planet what his patron buddies at Enron did to their stockholders and employees.
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