Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Ghosts of America

I have become totally disenchanted with politics and politicians. It seems that our representatives on both sides of the aisle spend all of their time kowtowing to corporate lobbyists, posturing, and grandstanding -- the name of the game is no longer 'what is best for America?' but 'how low can I go?' When Marco Rubio ran for the US Senate here in Florida, I was convinced that he was no better than the rest. His ads were nothing more than clichéd sound bites and his capacity for thought seemed to be limited to bumper sticker slogans. So I was pleasantly surprised and unexpectedly impressed by an interview he did with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Who'da thunk a junior senator and a comedian could hold such an intelligent and thoughtful conversation on such wide-ranging issues?

Senator Rubio struck me with his apparent sincerity. He seems to genuinely want what is best for our country, not just what is best for his career. And he seems more interested in doing what is right than what will get him re-elected. I admire his heart and spirit even while I disagree with him on virtually everything.

Rubio bases his ideas on what are, in my opinion, false assumptions and misinformation. He is right when he says that only economic growth can pay down our deficit, but his assumption that growth is still possible is both naïve and unfounded. I could go into the whole ‘the delusion of limitless growth in a finite world’ argument, but I’ve been there and done that already. That delusion is troubling in and of itself, but when he said that ‘with all the new discoveries, America can become energy independent in a matter of years,' I felt as if a bucket of ice water had just been dumped over my head. When it comes to the energy situation, the senator is not only badly misinformed, but dangerously misguided. Set aside for now the spurious claims of the fossil fuel industry that we could ever drill and blast and frack our way to energy independence and consider instead the catastrophic environmental costs of attempting to do so. He has no idea.

I woke up this morning wishing that I could do for Marco Rubio what the ghosts of Christmas did for Ebenezer Scrooge. I wish I could take him back to America Past, when the forests and mountains and prairies were still intact and unpolluted. Then I would take him to America Present and let him see for himself the mountains being blown apart, the wild places being cracked open and injected with a chemical soup, the poisoning of our earth, air, and waters, the degrading of our landscapes, the dead and dying zones in our oceans, the destruction of our communities, the accelerated extermination of entire species. I would take him to Canada to see the total devastation of the boreal forests and the toxic wastelands that are the legacy of our consumptive greed. Then I would take him to America Future to see what would be left of our country as our grandchildren struggle in a denuded, toxic land to battle the extremes of climate chaos while trying to provide for the bare necessities -- food enough to stave off starvation, water clean enough to drink and plentiful enough to share with plants and animals, and shelter strong enough to withstand floods, wildfires, and mega storms.

America Future doesn’t have to be that way, any more than Christmas Future was pre-ordained for Mr. Scrooge. But it is the future we will get if we don’t change course now. Senator Rubio, I believe you do want the best for our country, but you are dangerously ignorant and misinformed. Please re-evaluate your assumptions, Sir. Go beyond bumper sticker slogans; take the time to understand the complexity and limits of the real world. Wake up, look around, and do what is right.

1 comment:

darius said...

Click your heels 3 times, and repeat "There's no place like the home that was..."