Saturday, May 8, 2010


I’ve got a major issue with teeth grinding and clenching when I sleep. A great tornado of tension and anxiety wreaks havoc on my choppers during sleepy-time and it’s not all because of an angsty artistic temperament. My recent bout of externally-induced jaw fatigue comes from British Petroleum’s arrogant disrespect for people, birds, fish, shrimp, oysters, dolphins, turtles, sea cucumbers, sand, water, plants, algae and life in general...

For those tea-bagger types who fear government’s intrusion into “their backyard,” I wonder how they feel about private, profit-driven, unregulated corporations controlling the nation’s backyard, specifically if it is the Gulf of Mexico, or farmland in the midwest, or protected parks and wetlands. These same people claim that they don’t want the government involved in their healthcare while insurance companies and big pharma mine sickness for profit. Idiots.

And when an oil rig explodes or the banks are broken by their own greedy unethical actors, these private, barely regulated creeps come running to the US government to bail them out of the pickle.

I’m confused about this populist sentiment about “government out of my backyard.” During the first week of the oil catastrophe, Fox News and other conservative outlets seemed more preoccupied with comparing Bush’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina (which they denied in 2002, by the way) to Obama’s reaction to the oil spill than they were with reporting the news-- the horrific failure of a private corporation to regulate themselves resulting in great devastation of the natural world. Incessant editorializing seems to be an accepted form of journalism on most 24 hour news channels. At least newspapers with standards of journalistic excellence know to separate editorial content from news stories...

I digress. Hurricane Katrina was a natural disaster and did indeed fall under the responsibility of the US government to come to the aid of the citizens suffering in the Gulf Coast-- a good use of tax money. British Petroleum is a private company and responsible for their own disaster. Clearly they are not strictly regulated by the government (thanks Bush!) and they do not regulate themselves internally much either. They had no properly functioning “plan B, plan C or plan D” in the event of disaster. Surely, the government must help, but Obama’s response cannot be compared to Bush’s delayed, lazy, insincere mobilization of forces in response to a natural disaster versus a corporate disaster.

I chuckle when Republican colleagues and neighbors parrot Palin’s small government rhetoric, then turn around and demand government intervention when they are personally involved with or suffering from some perceived injustice by a corporate goliath or crafty grifter.

Perhaps this highlights an inherit philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans tend to seek some impossible world of perfection and infallibility: Government is bad, private enterprise, when not regulated, is good. Ironically, they seem to want to censor the hell out of citizens and inject religion where it does not belong, but leave business alone! Democrats admit to overall imperfection and seek some compromise closer to reality while protecting a citizen’s first amendment rights. And separation of church and state protects both church and state. YES, we are grifted by our own government and YES we are grifted by private enterprise as well. There is no perfect system, yet we should work diligently to pull back the reins and regulate both powers, keep dancing the dance with the understanding that the closest we will ever come to any sort of social justice relies on maintaining the freedom of speech, as well as the freedom of the press.