Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oh, yeah, I'm just FILLED with hope

For two nights now I've watched C-Span. When I'm home alone I tend to watch high-fiber television. Each night I've tuned in some Congressional discussion of our nation's energy situation.

The T. Boone Pickens Show over on the Senate side wasn't bad. I wonder a little bit about his timing, which makes much more business sense than environmental sense, but he will be the first to tell you he's a business man, not an environmentalist. "The environment is Page Two," he says. "I'm worried about Page One: getting us off foreign oil."

Now that alternative energy looks like the only way to go, the big money is lining up to carve out its chunks of the industry. You couldn't drive them to it with a cattle prod while the easier money was still in oil. Now they're shoving to the front and picking up big signs as if they'd been there all along. Hey, whatever gets it one.

In Congress, all I saw was Republicans repeating over and over that oil is still going to be king for the next twenty or thirty years, and that we'd be all set if not for the Democrats blocking access to it. Let's not speak positively in terms of a solution. We have to make sure everyone knows who's to blame.

I do not give a rat's hind end who's to blame, but I can guarantee that the fault does not lie with a single political party.

Part of the myth of nationhood is that a country's people represent a true single purpose or set of ideals. Ask any fervid member of a political party and they will tell you that the members of the other party are not as American, because Party A represents true American values. Party B is a bunch of scoundrels, liars and traitors only escaping prison because of our lax and overworked legal system. And that wouldn't be so bolloxed up and overloaded if Party B hadn't managed to finagle itself into some positions of power by hoodwinking innocent voters and marshaling the forces of corruption into a voting bloc.

While we argue over who gets credit and who gets blame, we might accidentally institute some sort of orderly transition from hydrocarbons to a kinder, gentler energy portfolio. I can tell you this: no matter what powers your car, you can still drive it like an asshole.

Government will still be 90 percent misdirection and sleight of hand. It's not a grand conspiracy. If we were that organized, we would either have thoroughly ruined the environment or never ruined it at all. Instead it's like a free-for-all chess game with several hundred sets of pieces being moved by dozens of players pursuing their own strategies and goals. So there's mischief aplenty, and no sinister genius behind it all. There's no one to fight and defeat because everyone is just tugging at the carcass of the nation and the world, trying to haul off a big chunk.

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