Monday, May 3, 2010

Recognizing The Need to Do It....

The Rich Man and Poor Lazarus

Rich Dude had the ability to stuff Lazarus the beggar 'neath his table with good food on a daily basis. Didn't, though. Couldn't see ol' Laz. Not 'til Rich Dude died.

We see poorly when smoke gets in our eyes. Rich Dude probably did, too. But fire... Now that's a whole different deal. Clears the vision right up, smoke and all.

As my friend Tom likes to say, "People don't change when they see the light. They change when they feel the heat."

Every now and again, but not so much lately, I would hear someone say, "We know what we need to do. We just need to find the political will to do it."

As in:
End homelessness.
Cut our dependence on foreign oil.
Stop deficit spending.
Cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2050.
Stop acidification of the oceans before it's too late.

Yada. Yada. Yada....

The term "political will" is an oxymoron. It wouldn't have to be, but it is.

We're wasting time searching and hoping for political will. Political will doesn't happen much in democracies. It happens in dictatorships, be they malignant or benign ones. When the majority of people get to decide, the majority will generally stay home and not participate. The minority that participate by educating themselves and making a wise choice based on the best information and a sense of the common good . . . well . . . that may be too much to hope for.

What we get instead are tons of advertising and red herrings and a majority of those who vote actually deciding on the basis of short-term self interest, not on the basis of long-term common good.

Take a listen to what this man, Peter Maass, has to say about how our thirst for oil translates into very unhealthy things for the planet and the people:

Forget greenhouse gases. Forget global warming, any of that touchy-feely environmental "hogwash" that many people perceive most calls for political will re: climate or energy to be. Just consider the amount of crude oil, refined products and waste products that get spilled onto the soil and into water and the air.

Consider who lives with that and how they live with it. And we can't see 'em?

People who benefit from cheap and plentiful oil will never change their ways when they get "political will". In an effort to pay little or nothing, they will fight, deny and delay action to such an extent that it will cost them (us, actually!!!) much more than doing the right thing in a timely fashion.

It's not a matter of politcal will. It's a matter of moral will. Rich Dude couldn't see Lazarus because he wouldn't see Lazarus. He refused to. Didn't have the moral will to do so. The five Sullivan brothers died in the Solomon Islands because they saw the need to fight. Today I think we'd have hit the remote and clamored for a tax cut.

Peter Maass says we have to make changes in how we use energy so that we drill less, spill less, kill less.

It ain't creation or evolution we're talking about. It's God's life support system. Not that God is on life support. It's that we are--through the system God created. We expect it to function just fine as a non-system. I guess we'll see, won't we?

We will not change until we recognize the need to do so. Abundant evidence of that need is already two decades, 20 years, behind us.

But we won't change if/when we see the light.

We'll only change when we feel the heat. Or . . . get some moral will maybe???

May be a warm "summer" ahead. D'ya think?


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