Some friends and I had an interesting discussion last evening and, naturally, the BP gulf disaster arose as a topic of debate. What became clear to me during the discussion is that this nation can never again go back to the weepy-eyed days of yesteryear, the nostalgic times that the right-wing nincompoops dream of. Never. This nation of ours is too big, too diverse and much too complex to go ‘back’ to those so-called good old days. Rather, it needs MORE government, not less.
The Gulf oil disaster puts this all together in a neat, but ugly package. It is interesting that this disaster is effecting all five tenants of that philosophy, that political ideology. Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, the states most impacted, are customarily red on the political map whose citizens decry ‘big government’ and who believe in ‘states rights’ and other post-confederacy ideals.
Yet now they beg for ‘big government’ to come to their rescue. And they plead for the President- the man that they voted overwhelmingly against – to help them out. Odd paradox, indeed.
The right wing has decried 5 issues which have contributed to this ongoing disaster: environmental protection, regulations, taxes, alternate energy sources and the reach of the Federal government. Those GOP-voting states are now living the nightmare of the arcane political philosophy for which they voted. ‘Drill baby, drill!’ encapsulates the mind-set perfectly.
From whose lips did that phrase roll so smirkily? Those less-government, no-regulations, tax-credits for the oil companies crowd. Those people. The 1950’s nincompoops. The ones now crying for help.
After the disaster and the clean-up is over, will those people have learned an important lesson on governance of this nation in the 21st century? Will they come to the realization that a nation of this size, of this diversity and this complexity cannot be governed by platitudes that may have been relevant 50 or 60 years ago?
Don’t bet your shrimp cocktail on it.