The New Republic‘s Bradford Plumer has a post today — Why our reaction to the oil spill absolutely terrifies me — that’s, well, sorta terrifying. It’s about how the body politic seems just plain unable to deal with the Gulf oil leak in any sane way:
What’s especially unnerving, though, is that the recklessness that helped bring about the spill, and the political reaction that followed, seem to indicate a larger inability to prevent and cope with other large-scale ecological catastrophes-particularly climate change. True, the analogy’s not perfect: The Deepwater Horizon blowout was a sudden and local event, while global warming is slowly creeping up on us and, well, global. But the same set of human characteristics that precipitated the one calamity may well hinder us from stopping the other.
The piece isn’t just about a nation unable to deal with reality; it’s about an opposition party, the Republican party, actively fighting attempts to deal with a pressing problem. Plumer’s examples are damning. Read the whole piece with a stiff drink nearby, or a kitten to pet, or a loved one. This is cold, straight talk:
What the oil spill also shows is that there’s no longer any guarantee that people-and particularly politicians-will change their minds as a result of an environmental disaster. This hasn’t always been the case. In 1969, a platform blowout off the coast of Santa Barbara helped kick-start the modern green movement and spurred Congress to pass a series of landmark environmental laws. Yet the reaction to the Gulf oil spill has been far more stubborn. Many conservatives have simply assimilated the BP fiasco into their worldview: Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin have (nonsensically) blamed environmentalists for the spill. George Will has scoffed that oil slicks don’t kill nearly as many birds as wind turbines do. Even South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, who was once one of the few Republicans concerned about global warming, has decided to abandon the very climate bill he helped draft because it wouldn’t — wait for it — do enough to expand offshore drilling.