Friday, May 21, 2010

Oops, We Accidentally Destroyed Space

By Baynard Woods

I was in the seventh grade. I was staying home with strep throat. I was rewinding the Skate Visions video on the VCR. The Challenger exploded.
Bad analogies are dangerous—not as dangerous as space shuttles and underwater oil wells, maybe, but close.  Here I am writing my second column as the oil continues to flow from BP’s drilling disaster in the gulf.  And yet Lindsey Graham told the Greenville News last week that “backing away from offshore drilling because of the spill would be like halting space exploration because of the Challenger accident.”
The Challenger was certainly a disaster. The entire crew died. But it is absurd to compare it to this disaster. There was little damage beyond the loss of the crew and the shuttle itself. In the case of the BP oil spill, the entire ecology of the gulf is being destroyed. Unless by “The Gulf” we simply mean the location—not the contents, the being of that location—then BP is destroying the gulf itself.
So in order for the analogy to hold up, the Challenger would’ve destroyed space itself—or a very significant portion of it.
For the record, Sanford is an opponent of offshore drilling. DeMint probably likes it precisely for its destructive value. I can imagine him sitting at home at night getting romantic to pictures of oil stained birds. But who knows, maybe he’s not as weird as he looks. But Graham, what is he up to?
John Kerry and Joe Lieberman finally introduced the Climate Bill that Graham had once helped them craft. Graham drafted the language regarding offshore drilling, which has been amended since the gulf disaster. The president has vowed to end the “cozy” relationship between regulators and oil companies. Forecasts now imagine the disaster to be ten times worse than originally thought.
But Lindsey told the Times, “The problems created by the historic oil spill in the gulf, along with the uncertainty of immigration politics, have made it extremely difficult for transformational legislation in the area of energy and climate to garner bipartisan support at this time.”
God forbid we do anything extremely difficult—or even to try it. I mean, we’re only the United States of America, after all. No need for the Senate to try to do anything difficult. To paraphrase Lindsey, “The obvious urgency of this issue and a completely unrelated thing make it impossible to act on the urgent issue.” You are facing the issue of a lifetime, Senator Graham, and you are acting like a goddamned baby about it. Man up and do the right thing and try to enact transformative legislation. It will not be enough—but it will be a start.
It is almost as if Graham is simply admitting that he and his colleagues are too petty to do anything significant. He wants to be able to push his drill-bit after the disaster, so he is going to sit on his hands.
He and his party argued that the world would end if health care was passed. They continue to argue that government action is the devil. And yet, for many fishermen, the world is ending not because of what the government did, but because of what it didn’t do.
This is another bit of the bitter fruit that the seeds of deregulation have sown. Economic meltdown, environmental catastrophe. And now, they want to blame Obama for not acting quicker. Damn right, everybody should be doing more. But the people who say that the government shouldn’t do anything don’t get to make that call. Sorry guys, you can’t have it both ways.  According to you, BP and Halliburton should be one hundred percent responsible for this clean up. Big government has no role.
Lindsey, Jim, Joe and the rest of you idiots that make our state look bad: please just resign. Or, since you’ve done such a good job clogging up our government with your bullshit, maybe you can volunteer it to BP and they can use it to clog up the leak.  It might be the first useful action any of you have ever taken.

talkback@columbiacitypaper.com

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