Saturday, September 25, 2010

Game Over!

First, let's clear up any misconceptions: I am the same person I was yesterday, joyful to a fault and utterly convinced of the worth of the human condition. I don't think people should avoid going to the voting booth in November to keep the Tea Party at bay, and I think there are plenty of things the average citizen can do to stave off disaster. But on Sept. 25, I was slightly more willing to snap up that Republican bumper sticker, "How's that hopey changey thing working out for you?" I was slightly more ready to mouth the anarchist mantra, "If voting could change anything, it would be illegal."

The feeling has been there in the background since Scientific American published a study a few months back, saying that on at least four vectors of ten, the environment has already passed the tipping point of irreversible damage. This is not an excuse for inaction, but a reminder that the world's a shit and we're knee-deep in it.

Yesterday, I saw the movie Gasland after heavy prodding from my friend Hilary, and I'm very glad I did. Josh Fox demonstrates that natural-gas drilling is perhaps the most toxic form of resource extraction, yet there is little that can be done to mitigate the poisoning and brain lesions, because Dick Cheney's secret energy-policy meeting of 2001 was set up primarily to craft a 2005 Energy Act that exempted oil and gas drillers entirely from the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. Since hundreds of thousands of new natural-gas drilling sites now dot the U.S. landscape, it's almost too late for catch-up. And now several oil drilling advocates are actually rejoicing about the North Polar ice cap melting, since it will allow tankers to traverse the North Pole, making further exploitation easier. Shit, we won't stop until the last landscape is devastated.

Meanwhile, my annoyance with the present administration went up a notch on Friday when the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force raided peace centers and activists' homes in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, and California. Oh, sure, they have great stories about looking for FARC and Palestinian connections, but at the end of the day, it sure looks like a Bush administration action - meet the new boss, same as the old boss. And this is not surprising. Obama and Clinton, as I am never tired of reminding everyone, were candidates of the Democratic Leadership Council. This is the minuscule range for change allowed in this country, yet it enrages the paleo-right to talk about "socialism in America." The only question left is whether the republic or the environmental landscape collapses first, but time's pretty much up.

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