Monday, June 8, 2009

Green with envy

You may have shared my once favorable opinion of the man, George Will. Like many conservative opinionators, he cultivates an air of objectivity and moderation. He's the guy who ostensibly would calmly explain to a bunch of feuding third graders that might does not lead to right, but only to further blows. Over the years, he has stood by and defended our role in Iraq, the widening gap between the rich and the poor in our country and around the world, the deteriorating state of the environment, torture, treason of the American dream, etc., and made it seem that in the end, the ideology of individual freedoms above social responsibilities deemed it so. And I don't watch the talk shows so I can't say with any fine grained detail how his world view may have been evolving most recently in the face of the collapse of all his most cherished verities. But the recent op-ed piece George wrote made it seem obvious to me that if I could get a close up view I would see some seriously pinwheeling eyes a la Disney cartoon evil bad guy.  In it, George is cheered by the fact that hard economic times may drive people to reject what he terms"greenness", the culture wars ally of "gayness", or "diversity". Seriously, he reminds me of the New Yorker cartoon of the two old people on the front porch as the rising flood waters wash away their yard, town, world, etc. In the cartoon one geezer turns to the other and says with great schadenfreude something like, "At least the tree-huggers across the street are going down." I will share my email response to George and encourage you to also contact him, georgewill@washpost.com, and help him "reengage with reality."
 George,

You lost me here, buddy. Your celebration of the bursting of the "green bubble" shows what a bubble head you've become. Thank God that the powers that be no longer are channeled into your version of reality or your right wing brand of fear mongering. Yes, it is true that much of what passes for green consumerism is mainly a reaction to guilt and the confusion produced by misinformation and ignorance of the issues. But there is no doubt that the crisis we face with global warming, climate change and the meltdown of our speculative, shell game of an economy has sparked a sea change in American spending habits and in our political culture --which has left you and your ilk hankering after the good old days when environmentalists could be dismissed as tree huggers in the public eye.

Reengagement with reality is indeed what is happening, as our country once again takes up its rightful place at the forefront of responsible nations seeking the path to a sustainable future, joined, I might add, in its efforts at establishing a new cap and trade system for carbon emissions by a list of large corporations that must make you swoon. But George, instead of joining with the forces of good and admitting you were wrong all these years, you are prematurely and backwardly braying, brandishing the widely discredited shibboleth of economic growth versus "greenness", whatever that vague term could mean (synonymous with redness perchance; you old red-baiter?).  Instead you will find that most people with any sense of objective reality will be celebrating the rationality which would lead us to a saner, scaled down version of the American dream. And yes, it is true that we are going through hard economic times, George. But to try to tie that in some vague way to the current greening of our culture (as seen most visibly in the Obama administration's recent policy proposals for higher fuel mileage in our cars and trucks) is to fight a rear guard action with lies. Give it up. I used to respect you as the voice of moderation. Now I see you are as crooked and unrepentant as Limbaugh.

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