While I was watching the USA-Brazil Electric Meltdown Boo-galoo II yesterday, I wrote a long and rambling post on the Waxman-Markey bill’s passage that I ultimately decided not to publish. For all the reasons 2-0 is the most dangerous score in soccer, trying to write about all the reasons other than a warming planet that we should limit carbon emissions is a bit of a fool’s errand, and an unnecessary one at that.
… But this transportation model has corrupted our most basic social arrangements by de-valuing actual community, an isolation enshrined by a complex communication system that leaves us poorly informed across a broad spectrum. With a wealth of information at our fingertips, we are unconcerned about where we’re going or what we’re about to do, and unsure about what happened yesterday, much less last week or five years ago. We have achieved an acute ability to wait until the last minute to do anything, which marks both our prowess and near-native anxiety.
We idle across unnecessary distances, sitting in traffic, hailing this voluntary expansion of sphere as progress even as we sacrifice depth of influence for mere distance of reach. Bold and innovative companies have brought us a succession of needless products demeaning the most basic tools as obsolete in favor of ever-greater complexity; this economy grooms us on its own pre-eminence, via the tenets of disposability, while weening us of any regard for unique settings or uses, moments or sensations in favor of collective experience. Activities that do not directly produce a financial benefit we have come to understand as non-performing. The reality that planetary preservation is an issue worth weaving into our advertising, spending habits, food, shelter and energy strategies, government policies, fashions and other cultural identifiers is a massive acknowledgment that undermines its own cause the wider its use and dissemination.
Is this model in jeopardy? Should it be?
Exhibit A for why I usually read instead of write on Sunday. Fortunately, Paul Krugman is/was having none of that and demonstratively points out that climate change is in fact more than reason enough to pass the bill:
But if you watched the debate on Friday, you didn’t see people who’ve thought hard about a crucial issue, and are trying to do the right thing. What you saw, instead, were people who show no sign of being interested in the truth. They don’t like the political and policy implications of climate change, so they’ve decided not to believe in it — and they’ll grab any argument, no matter how disreputable, that feeds their denial.
That’s the crux right there – they don’t like the policy implications, so they choose not to believe in the problem! It’s the ultimate in convenience, sort of like the new Shimmer – if someone was courageous enough to just point out that being a dessert topping AND a floor polish are converging conspiracies of household indulgence.
Speaking of which, here is a group that deserves special recognition: Democratic reps from districts Obama won who voted against bill. Jim Costa and Pete Stark of California; John Barrow of Georgia; Bill Foster of Illinois; Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana; Michael Arcuri of New York; Larry Kissell of North Carolina; Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio; Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon; Ciro D. Rodriguez and Solomon P. Ortiz of Texas; Glenn Nye of Virginia.