Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Oil Addiction

I wonder, Bush, how the world would look today had we elected George McGovern instead of Richard Nixon, back in the early 1970s? I wonder how it would look had we honored President Jimmy Carter's pledge to end US dependency on foreign oil instead of increasing it, as we have done? I wonder how the world would look had we not swallowed--hook, line and sinker--the bait of the giant SUV and embraced the electric car instead of killing it?

These sadly idle thoughts inspired by two recently-viewed DVDs in our household, Bush: "One Bright, Shining Moment"--the story of Senator George McGovern and his run for the presidency against Nixon in 1972; and "Who Killed the Electric Car"--about the design, brief life and premature death of General Motor's EV1, a vehicle much loved by its owners and equal in performance to its gas-consuming cousins but soon recalled for demolition by the manufacturer.

I voted for George McGovern, Bush. No surprise there. He was among the most liberal of politicians of the past fifty years. He was also clearly a thoroughly decent, caring, intelligent man of absolute integrity and perhaps precisely for those qualities was roundly mocked and soundly defeated by the red-blooded American electorate. We reelected Richard Nixon instead, and look what we got. A prolonged and unnecessary war in Vietnam. More needless deaths--on both sides of that conflict. And Watergate.

As for Carter's pledge, this was no idle promise. It was delivered with an unquestionable seriousness of purpose. I didn't write down the exact words, but I can assure you they were unambiguous. Never again, he said--and I paraphrase--will we allow this country to be held hostage to the interests of foreign oil producers. Well, we know what happened to that solemn vow. Ronald Reagan soon put paid to those good intentions, and we were back on the mainline.

The EV1? A wonderful little car, by all accounts, with enormous promise for the future. It was capable of driving perfectly acceptable mileage before recharging, and the battery technology was already dramatically improving. The new hybrids, as I understand it, have capitalized on developments for the electric car. And yet no sooner had the public begun to cotton to its potential when GM got cold feet, pulled back the entire fleet, and literally crushed it. The short-term profits from the despicable Hummer and other SUVs--promoted by the hype machines which had all but ignored the EV1--were preferable to energy independence and the future of the planet.

In the McGovern film, such terrible reminders of the long-denied similarities between our ill-fated ventures in Vietnam and Iraq. "I will never be swayed," said LBJ, by those protestors in the streets. By the will of the American public, then. Not unlike your good self, Bush. Remember the promise of "Vietnamization"? Handing over the responsibilty for the war to the Vietnamese... Sound familiar? It may be a cliche, but history certainly seems to be repeating itself as you dig yourself ever deeper and ever more stubbornly into the bloody hole of Iraq.

Thanks to my reader for having alerted me to these two important movies, Bush. You'd do well to spend a couple of hours with them yourself. As a former alcoholic by your own admission, you should understand something about addiction, particularly the ways in which denial can blind you to the realities that surround you. Sadly, despite all the talk of change, I heard your recent pronouncement on Iraq in a news clip: "When all's said and done," you said, "I will make decisions based on principles--and I'm not changing my principles."

Which doesn't bode well for Iraq, for the United States and its military forces at risk there, nor for the future of the world.

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3 comments:

Carly said...

Seeing Bush

A crown, a royal tip
of a giant berg
floating around
aimlessly, sinking ships
The footage reveals
to one, astonished and amazed
"That's the face of a dictator"!
Close-up in scrutiny
a face not only revolting
but of frightening proportion
Were he a Soviet
he would be Stalin!
But an inept Stalin
an incapable Stalin
a negative clone
Parse the details
and countenance alone
and see
a pinched shape of hardened feelings
frozen into creases
of clues
to emotional neglect
by self and others
By the father
Starved of self importance
esteem, self reliance, self worth.
the glancing around
unavoidable to the camera
of mean looks in a down home coat
ex-alcoholic, a manly cheerleader
frustrated in aims
of domination.
A countenance which wants to run away
But can't. Won't
A floater. A drifter
with the determination
which lands one in a bad spot.
a contentious contender
a doer who cannot
All covered in superficial splendor
by bluster
Naked of clothes
this horrifying aspect
of puffed up self-importance
and self illusion
unforgivably conscious
swaggering before foes
Self-invention with feet of crows
styled on bits and pieces
of other not-so-greats
from the not-so-great past
All the right moves
but a face which moves
like a chimpanzee's
monkey see, monkey do
and a mind of equal
simplicity
a child of three
in a mask of honor and integrity
a mask of shame
a mask of death
From the very root of insecurity itself
Simplicimuss
determined to surmount the awareness
of its own pitiful weakness
and lack of strength
a void, a question mark
Behind steely eyes of The Weak
insufficient brain cells
in failure to connect
and make the connections
so vital to soaring
A face connected to boring
its boots in concrete
topped by this godless skull
God have mercy.

barstoolcadaver said...

There may still be some hope for an electric car on the horizon, Peter. But I really don't think that any of the big three will be at the vanguard of the change, when it comes(it will). The Tesla motors website comes to mind. Their current, soon to be production model is rather pricey and kinda impractical for most, but a sedan is in the works and costs will eventually drop. A cure for the common greed-head could take a few more generations though.

PK said...

Well Peter, I don't think it's his principles he won't change, as I don't see any on that horizon, it's just his mind he stubbornly doesn't want to change... Cars, now there's the meat of it. We have vehicles that can practically run on nothing... we also have tires that will barely wear down in 10 years, had those in the '60's or 70's, don't remember which, we've had vehicles that would not only run on land, but make it down the launch ramp at the nearest lake, and cruise out in the water [saw that one in Seattle many years ago]. I'm sure we have some lovely old soul out there who has one now that can lift out of traffic and fly... but is afraid someone will either steal his idea, or no one will want it, just like the rest of the inventions that went along the wayside. And now I will go back;D. These are squashed because of big business and all those gobs of green it's bringing in to them. We could be living in such a green world it's not even funny. But no, let's stay in this mess... that way the Dr.'s get more patients too... think of all the people you see with lung problems, that's not all from tobacco! If more would get off their collective tushes, and out of their apathy, we could even have soar energy in every home. I could rant for pages on all the idiocy, but I guess I'll just wish you a peaceful day Peter;D.