The other day (about a week ago), at work, we were listening to NPR and a report came on that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had met with representatives of the Arctic Circle nations. The issue of global warming was brought up and the melting of the polar ice caps was addressed along with all the problems it could and is creating and, in the same breath (without a hint of irony or a nod to the absurdity), it was stated quite clearly and positively that the melting of the ice caps would open up large amounts of the ocean's untapped oil and natural gas.
I kid you not. I and a coworker laughed out loud. We had to because it sounded like a story from The Onion. And, directly after the laugh, we shouted in raged disbelief.
It is one thing to flat-out deny all the evidence of global warming's existence. It is quite another to acknowledge that global warming is happening and to, furthermore, make statements or plans to worsen it.
We speak constantly about the dangers of our dependence on foreign oil, but rarely do we talk about the whole and all-encompassing dangers of our dependence on OIL in general. Or fossil fuels, in general. We do not put pressure on our government to change. We talk about the prices going up and we complain and, then, we continue to pay. We continue to circulate stories of Charlie Sheen's rants and pictures and tales of his love goddesses and push aside the fact that there are places in the ocean where trash and plastic and debris go 90 feet deep.
A few days ago, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin pressed the state's court to put a ban on letting same sex partners have visitation rights in hospitals and other basic rights (note that these are simply the smallest amount of rights that could be given to same sex couples- even that seemed too much for Scott Walker to handle). To ban two people who love each other from seeing each other in their most dire moments is, in my mind, simply disgusting. And that comes right on the heels of the bans in Wisconsin and Ohio of teachers' and fire fighters and public workers' collective bargaining and striking rights. Are there issues to be dealt with for public workers abusing the system? Sure. So, find a way to deal with them that does not punish those who are using the system properly. And, we must remember, if the only thing listed in the public worker bans was the prohibition of striking, those bills would still have the makings of a government of the people, by SOME of the people, for all of the people. And, that is not America.
And some will say that we are in a financial crisis, so drastic measures must be taken. But how, then, can tax breaks be given to multi-billion dollar companies like BP who polluted the Gulf of Mexico. How, then, can bills be even proposed and taken seriously to continue off-shore drilling when it threatens not only a loss in money, but in human life and our environment's safety? How, then, can the government bail out multi-millionaires who put us in a financial crisis and, then, not hold them accountable in helping our recovery?
We have been led to believe that we, as a people (as a country), are divided. That we, as a people (as a country), are warring with each other. But, it's becoming all the more clear that we, as a people (as a country), are being misled by politicians who are working to support corporate lobbyists at the expense of our environment, our safety, our education, and our overall freedoms. Sure, there are some extremist citizens, too. And, sure, there are compound issues that need to be negotiated. But, we are not as polarized as extremists and lobbyists and their buzz words and buzz issues would have us believe.
Here are some interesting stats:
60% of Americans oppose the weakening of collective bargaining rights of public employee unions.
72% of Americans believe that corporations should be limited on financing political campaigns and that there needed to be transparency on campaign funds.
(The Supreme Court, however, ruled in favor of the corporations.)
65% of Americans would pay up to 10% or more for “the development of renewable energy sources that protect the air and water better than other alternatives.”
62% of Americans prefer a universal healthcare system to the current employer-based system.
96% of Americans believe that genetically modified foods should be labeled.
53% of Americans favor legalizing gay marriage.
69% of Americans oppose the elimination of congressional funding for public broadcasting.
61% of Americans think that increasing taxes to the wealthy should be the first step toward balancing the budget. This belief was reflected in 58% of responders who made between $50,000 and $100,000 a year and even in 46% of responders who made more than $100,000 a year.
36% of Americans would fix Washington first, if given a choice of anywhere in the world (beating out the Middle East and Haiti for the number one spot).
In the past few months, lawmakers and representatives of America (and thereby, representatives of us) from both sides of the political spectrum have made decisions and pushed for policy that is directly opposed to the majority of the country- arguing and bickering and dangling healthcare, union rights, environmental issues, and social issues around like they were toys.
But, the people who want change are not a minority in this country. We are a majority.
It is time for us to see each other clearly again.
Originally Posted On Facebook.