The British Petroleum Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is just the type of disaster we asked for. The surprise is that it didn’t come sooner. It’s a result of many factors, beginning with the Reagan-Thatcherite realignment of wealth and power, the infantile belief in magical thinking — the “invisible hand” of the market that will solve all problems (anyone who has read Adam Smith will know that the invisible hand requires a certain amount of guidance and regulation but…heck…who reads anymore) — the deregulation mantra that we have chanted like deranged Krishna’s and the eight year Bush-Cheney rape and pillage of the country and much of the world. We got what we asked for. We asked for deregulation. We asked for the “private sector” to take care of our problems. Unfortunately, our ESPN/Justin Bieber/Brangelina high-def navel gazing has so atrophied our critical thinking skills that we were just too dumb to have foreseen the obvious consequences of all of this. And now…here is where things get even more interesting.
This disaster can bring out the best – and the worst – in people. For example, Lynn Cheney is beating the drums for an investigation of the Joe Sestak – White House Job Offer scandal which lawyers of both parties admit is a non-issue. But that doesn’t matter. A little blow job in the White House was no real issue either but it was a wonderful distraction from any real issues of the day. So while the Gulf burns, will the Joe Sestak story or some other story, become Obama’s “blow job”? Will the Sestak story or some other inane event be used to bring down his presidency and distract him from doing what is necessary to deal with the largest ecological disaster this country has ever faced? If so, what will that tell you about the moral fiber of those who will spearhead the assault on his presidency? What will it tell you about the true character of those who come from a party that “claims” to be more moral, more patriotic, more American than “the other party”?
The ultimate test of character is NOT what disaster you may have prevented, though there is certainly something to be said for such a person who is able to prevent a disaster, but is what you do WHEN disaster strikes. It is at this moment that you must make painful gut-wrenching decisions…decisions that are likely to be detrimental to the decision maker in the short term but which is the right thing to do for everyone else in the long term. Therefore, I say, to hell with abortion as a political litmus test. The Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster is the REAL litmus. This will let us know who, among Republicans, Democrats, political pundits and various news outlets, who we should really be rallying behind. This will let us know who REALLY has the interest of the people at heart and who is concerned solely with self-aggrandizement.