I met Jack at my local Starbuck’s Saturday night. I was reading Ain’t My America by Bill Kaufman and he was writing something on his computer. Proximity led to conversation which eventually led us to climate change. I shared with Jack my dilemma on not just the issue itself but my dilemma in not wanting to even discuss the issue with people anymore: there are many smart, professional scientists who cannot agree on the cause of rising average global temperatures, so how then are common people supposed to discuss the topic?
American social protocol often involves quiet small talk about the weather. Beyond that, more in-depth discussion of global temperatures often involves nothing more than one person parroting the thoughts of his favorite TV or radio talk show host. Every time I hear someone share “their” feelings on the matter I’m reminded of Matt Damon’s famous intellectual bar fight scene in Good Will Hunting in which Damon’s character says to an obnoxious Harvard grad student, “Yea, I read that too. Were you going to plagiarize the whole thing for us—or do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter?”
If scientists can’t come to a reasonable consensus on the matter, how are those of us who wiled away the hours in Science class practicing our signature or flirting with insanely cute Cari Londal (or both) supposed to advance the discussion in any appreciable manner?
So it was with my discussion with Jack fresh on my mind that I was reading today and again across the head-shakingly-stupid Republican platitude “drill, baby, drill.” For a Republican Party so comfortable telling us that they are pro-business, support of a policy that squelches innovation and the creation of new businesses and new economies seems highly ironic. It seems an odd juxtaposition of positions.
“Drill, baby, drill” is not about finding solutions to America’s energy problems. DBD is about partisan politics—it’s about telling the Democrats “No” on global warming. Global Warming is Al Gore’s issue. Denying Global Warming is the sad effort of non-Democrats to assert their independence from Democratic policies and positions. If the U.S. pursues drilling, it not only taps into a resource the United States has at its disposal to help address our dependence on foreign oil (an indisputable fact) but it also says to the Democrats “there is nothing wrong with oil.” If Congress allows drilling, it’s akin to a national consensus that Global Warming is a hoax and we are free from the meteorological propaganda begun by the Democrats. We should not let the Democrats off the hook here, either. NOT drilling is their opposite assertion that Global Warming is indisputably the result of human behavior, primarily linked to fossil fuel consumption.
“Drill, baby, drill,” as it is understood by those advancing the position, represents the very worst of the Republican Party. If Republicans want to describe themselves as “conservative” then they ought to begin finding progressive, innovative ways to conserve America’s greatest natural resource—the ability of Americans to turn challenges into opportunities and opportunities into new businesses rather than letting playground squabbles over who’s dad’s the better bowler dictate long-term strategies for economic growth and American success in the 21st century.