Monday, May 31, 2010

Leonard Pitts says it best....

The news from the Gulf of Mexico continues to be tragic. Although this blog is Spokane-centric, I think what Leonard Pitts has to say this morning really applies well to our region.

We have a lot of folks who learned a mantra 30 years ago and still can't stop repeating it, much to the detriment of our nation and the Inland Northwest. It is nonsensical, childish and has been proven wrong time and time again. Yet, many of us have joined a bunch that seeks out "facts" to bolster the way they "feel," and we have a media that is much too happy to oblige. It sounds like a recipe for disaster and now we see what that recipe produces... again.

After you read this article, ask yourself why aren't our national news sources asking the governor of Louisiana, and other "conservatives" how they reconcile their talk with these results. Why won't anyone in the "liberal" media ask about Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration's role in this disaster, namely exempting oil companies from having a safeguard (one that other nations insist upon) that would have prevented this tragedy?

All to say, this is a national phenomenon that will be coming to a polling place (your mailbox) again soon. In essence, do you want to give the Bush Administration another chance?

Look at the results that we continue to pay for. Come on people, at some point you have to pay attention to what the people you want to elect vote for, stand for and who they carry water for. If you don't think it really matters, look to Louisiana.

I wouldn't be surprised that after the federal government bails out Louisiana, the same folks who voted Republican will continue to do so. It would be interesting to let them live by their philosophy and not spend a dime there. I think you would have people singing a different tune if they had to live with what they profess. But we are too responsible to let that happen. And in the lingo, we are "enablers" of those who continue to vote for this failed philosophy.

Here's the article and the title above is a link to the site.

Singing new tune in oil spill's wake

``There has never been a challenge that the American people, with as little interference as possible by the federal government, cannot handle.'' -- Bobby Jindal, March 24, 2009

That was then.

This is now: 11 people dead in an oil rig explosion, fragile marshlands damaged, perhaps irreparably, uncalculated millions (billions?) in lost revenue for the tourism and fishing industries, and a short attention span nation transfixed by a compelling image from a deep sea camera, brown gunk billowing out from a hole in the ocean floor, Things Getting Worse in real time.

And Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, off whose coast this tragedy is centered, is singing a new song, starkly at odds with what he said last year in a speech before the Republican faithful. Now he's begging for federal ``interference.'' He wants federal money, federal supplies, wants the feds to help create barrier islands to protect Louisiana wetlands from oil.

Not to pick on Jindal. He is but one prominent voice in a chorus of Gulf state officials who once preached the virtues of tiny government but have discovered, in the wake of this spreading disaster, the virtues of government that is robust enough, at a minimum, to help them out of a jam.

One hears pointed questions about President Obama's engagement or lack thereof in the unfolding crisis. One hears accusations that the government was lax in its oversight duties and too cozy with the oil industry it was supposed to be regulating. One hears nothing about deregulation, about leaving the free market alone to do its magic.

You know what they say: it's all fun and games till somebody gets hurt. Well, the Gulf Coast is hurt, hurt in ways that may take years to fully assess, much less repair. And the sudden silence from the apostles of small government and free markets is telling.

The thing is, their argument is not fundamentally wrong.

Who among us does not believe government is frequently bloated, inefficient and bound by preposterous rules?

Who among us does not think it is often wasteful, hideously complex and redundantly redundant?

Yes, government is not perfect. Nor is it perfectable. As adults, we should understand that. Any bureaucracy serving 309 million people and representing their interests in a world of 6.8 billion people, is likely always to have flaws. Thus, fixing government, making it more streamlined and responsive, is and will always be an ongoing project.

But instead of undertaking that project, people like Jindal rail against the very concept of government itself, selling the delusional notion that taxation and regulation represent the evisceration of some essential American principle.

They wax eloquent about what great things the free market and the free American could do if government would just get off their backs.

One thinks of one's meat oozing with salmonella, one's paint filled with lead, one's car getting 12 miles to the gallon, one's self being breezily denied a job for reasons of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation and, yes, one's ocean covered from horizon to horizon with a sheen of oil.

And one shudders.

You see, government is not our enemy.

Government is the imperfect embodiment of our common will. That is a not-so-fine distinction Jindal and others like him have lost in the rush to stoke the sense of grievance that burns in some conservative souls. It is a distinction they recalled with great clarity as oil began spilling upon their waters.

As there are no atheists in foxholes, it turns out there are no small-government disciples in massive oil spills. No, with BP oil soaking the sands of his coastline, Bobby Jindal turned righteously to that big, sometimes bloated, often intrusive federal government, and asked for help. He said, Send money, send resources.

You will notice he never once said, Send less.

The Miami Herald

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