Obama’s Pelicans, Coming Home to Roost
Granted, when Obama entered office, he inherited an all-but-irredeemable mess:
- a country being run into the ground by the greed, fraud and corruption of the financial, defense, oil & gas, pharmaceutical and insurance industries;
- the legislative and judicial branches of government, long ago bought and paid for by these industries;
- a country whose laws, regulations and standards had been written by these same industries;
- and a malcontent citizenry, mad as hell at… someone.
It was all but irredeemable. But there remained this tiny thread of possibility that, given the right leadership, we could restore piece by piece — the same way it was dismantled — our democracy. And, no, I’m not talking tea party slogans about guns, communist take-overs and other xenophobic agendas, all written by the invisible hands from the above industries. I’m talking about Democracy with a capital D.
I’m talking about the same Democracy that established the separation of church and state; the Democracy that, albeit centuries late, passed the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act; the Democracy that created the OSHA and Environmental Protection Agency; the Democracy that gave women the right to vote and passed Roe v. Wade. I’m talking about certain truths that are self-evident, even when — and especially when — its citizenry takes to the streets in arms, convinced that there is a communist behind every bush, or a religion, race, color or creed in need of subjugating.
By the fall of 2008, it was all but irredeemable. But, still, there was this hope, much like the hope that seemingly arrived out of the blue in 1933, when FDR — just one month after taking office — began an effort that pulled our country from the brink of collapse.
After all, the blueprint had already been drafted for Obama — a blueprint that took FDR only a month to draft and put into action. Millions of people were put to work restoring the millions upon millions of acres of forest and agricultural lands that been destroyed over the previous century and had culminated in the Dust Bowl. Millions were put to work improving our country by building our infrastructure, by building national parks, by building roads and improving flood and fire control. Millions more were saved from starvation. And millions more, still, continue to benefit from the Social Security Act, signed just 2-1/2 years after FDR took office.
And this says nothing of FDR’s swift action on financial and banking industry reforms and regulations, to rein in the fraud and corruption of the financial industry and the corporate giants who were feeding from this cesspool. FDR’s reforms not only helped deliver our economy from the grave, but they have endured as some of our most important checks and balances for ensuring the integrity of these industries. Or, at least, they endured until the Reagan era. Just long enough, perhaps, for some people to forget.
Perhaps FDR could have responded to the Dust Bowl the way Obama has with the Gulf oil disaster. He could have visited the devastated lands, given a few speeches and then, with the full weight of his office, orchestrated a show to force someone — say, the timber industry — to compensate the farmers for their lost lands. Had FDR been an unremarkable man, and an even less remarkable president, he could have taken a short-term view and slapped a few band-aids on the cancer. But he didn’t, and because of that, this country has spent the better part of the last 75 years reaping the fruits of FDR’s courage, conviction and foresight.
But Obama is no FDR. Only the most naive and uninformed of Democrats still see Obama as anything but a sham president — a man made impotent by his own lack of courage, conviction, foresight and moral compass.
All that campaign rhetoric about ending torture, illegal detentions, extraordinary renditions?
A shell game.
All the promises to restore habeas corpus, restore our Constitution to its pre-Bush Era integrity, to rein in Israel, to end our wars for oil and, with them, our farce of a war on terror?
Just a mirage.
All the soaring rhetoric about repairing our infrastructure, “growing” our economy and restoring our manufacturing sector by getting a jump-start on cutting-edge, green technologies?
All those vows to restore environmental laws and protections, to upgrade our educational standards, to restore out relationship with the sciences, to reform our sham of a health care system?
All lies. All of it, just for show.
So it comes as no surprise to those of us who have been paying attention that BP and the parasites (politicians, industry and businesses alike) who feed off the oil industry are running the show in the Gulf, the same way the oil and defense industries have been running the show in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Colombia…. . It comes as no surprise — as we watch sea gulls, pelicans, sharks, fish, turtles and myriad other life forms washing up on shore, or alternately suffocating unseen in the depths, or being incinerated alive in the sea water — that Obama’s concern is the small picture, the tiny, narrow-minded short-term view: How to keep the oil folk, the shrimpers & fishermen, and the tourist industry happy?
But let’s get real. No one — not Obama, not the legislative branch, not the judicial branch, and certainly not the industries who line their pockets — is ready, just yet, to end the age of oil. As such, it remains necessary to keep the focus of this disaster on money, jobs and the economy. There is a concert of industries and individuals — from Obama, to BP, to a judge in Louisiana — working night and day to conceal and distract our attention from the environmental armageddon that has been spawned from this disaster — just long enough to get the propaganda machine cranked up and running, to spin this whole disaster into yet another Democratic plot to thwart industry and jobs.
Yesterday’s ruling by the federal judge to overturn Obama’s *cough* moratorium on deep water drilling is just the impetus necessary to get the ball rolling. As of yesterday — lifeless oceans, suffocating pelicans, torched turtles and tar balls aside — unless someone can prove that deep water drilling is unsafe, it’s unfair for government to put its boot-heel on the neck of industry. Here, the judge (a shareholder, himself, in the oil industry) drew a line in the sand, so to speak. So tell us, Mr. President: Are you pro-American or anti-American?
It’s only a matter of time before industry provides the tea baggers with their slogans and scripts. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes not only acceptable, but laudable and almost mandatory for politicians to rally on behalf of BP, to save them from the evil liberals who would conspire to put them out of business.
I predicted this at the start and, from all signs, it appears to going according to plan. After all, the blueprint had already been drafted for Obama. Reagan drew up the first crude draft; Cheney finessed it. So long as there is one drop of oil left to be drilled, or one ounce of precious minerals left to be extracted from this good earth, we will drill baby drill and — if the ends so justify the means — kill baby kill.
Rev. Wright got it right. Obama’s just another politician. He says and does what politicians say and do. Which means that, so long as we sit dumbly watching from the sidelines, our chickens will continue to come home to roost on our putrid, corrupt shores. And, so long as the sun still rises, the show will go on.