But good enough is the friend of disaster, enemy of justice and the executioner of real change.
Listening to Obama’s 2nd Inaugural speech today, while also being on twitter as I am most of the time was an exquisite lesson in juxtaposition. Every word the man uttered in this speech was jumped upon and compared, contrasted to realities and opinions that rebutted it.
Plenty of people were bringing up the drone wars, whistle blower treatment and detention without trial, things I spend a lot of (wasted ?) effort reading about and sharing. Juxtaposed against the presidents comment about “a decade of war is ending” the reality of increasing covert conflicts across the globe is a painful and ironic truth that most would rather brush off or ignore.
And of course a fair few were begging for even a fleeting mention of climate change which Obama did address, characterized as a moral obligation to future generations and also reminded us of recent weather events which are a promise of what’s to come.
For that I am happy, but enough talk already! I can hear millions of people scream.
Best on one thing, the same or worst on another….
This is the major area of conflict for me. I applaud the Obama administration, EPA, Department of Energy, and Department of the Interior for the work they have done advancing us towards cleaner energy goals, even though the lions share of the work remains to be done.
The conflict comes when we look at other areas of “progress” the Obama admin has championed. The massive expansion of domestic surveillance, the treatment and almost literal hunting down of dissidents, whistle blowers and journalists, continued signature drone strikes where the guilt of the people executed is not even known, setting precedent for extra judicial killing of a citizen and refusal to tell anyone the legal basis for such activity.
I remember my optimism in the first years of the Obama admin, when Eric Holder was sworn in as attorney general, I remember hearing rumors and reading profiles, op-eds that said this was the guy who would prosecute the worst of the criminal activity we saw under the Bush admin.
I actually believed that. Actually believed it.
Not even 4 years later and Holder stands in front of a bunch of law students and actually attempts to explain the rational (not really the full legal basis) behind extra-judicial drone assassination of a citizen.
Best is just greedy …
Am I greedy or unrealistic for wanting to live in a world where we can have cleaner energy and not need to use drones, or the right to due process is held intact ? Oh how naive of me. How idealistic.
This was the perspective offered by Rocky Anderson, the justice party candidate I voted for who’s favorite tag line of mine was “It shouldn’t be a crime to blow the whistle on war crimes” A statement learned to be bitterly untrue currently by John Kirakou and Bradly Manning.
Anderson championed both action on climate change and a society where those who seek to keep military power accountable to the people are honored, not stripped naked and locked up.
Am I greedy or ignorant or naive to believe that action on climate change isn’t really worth it if we continue the worst abuses possible against our fellow man? globally and domestically?
Am I an idiot for wanting the best possible leadership which will expose the absolute myth of progress which we are soothed with? one that calls for and accomplishes real substantive change?
I am just greedy, unrealistic and stupid for pointing out areas where our president is failing us and future generations at the moment he promises to take action.
Climate and Empire
I remember Obama’s first state of the union address where he rebutted the claim that “America is in decline” I’ll cede that point and always characterize it as more of an “uncontrolled necessary transition”. That transition does include among many things one away from empire, which is of course characterized by “decline” in global influence. Which quite frankly is a good thing, as long, as I can hear you pointing out, everyone steps back from building empires together.
Climate change mitigation and Empire are in my opinion mutually exclusive. Empire is what supports our growth model. Our growth model is one that shits all over the climate. Therefore can we really tolerate the idea that we need drone strikes in Yemen to protect (allegedly) burgeoning natural gas infrastructure ? or bases in Afghanistan to protect pipeline routes ? (or world uranium supplies) …. or I’m sorry, kill those bad guys before they … 9/11!!!!!!!!!!1
We’re going to try and mitigate climate change while attempting to prop up part of the system which is doing most of the damage – rapacious capitalistic empire building greed. For the good of the world economy, to be sure.
We’re in the dark
We don’t have the full picture. Those thousands of folks watching today, their hearts are in the right place, but they don’t have the full picture. We can promise to address chunks or subsets of problems, but unless we address the full picture, one that includes on a fundamental basis our relationship to the planet and each other, we are headed for disaster.
The things which we are trying to sustain will be ripped from us unless we forgo our idiotic follies of dominion over others and the earth itself, we must relent. I don’t think a possible future exists where Pakistani kids are bombed and the climate is “fixed”.