The U.S. is nothing if not a study in contradictions. The same people who rail against a woman’s right to choose and marriage equality on Tuesday, rage on Wednesday at what they see as liberals trying to limit their rights: to guns…or God…or tax evasion…or pollution and despoilment…
The folks who object to an influx of violence refugees on our southern border close ranks to prevent immigration reform legislation from getting a hearing in Congress while also slashing government funding that might at least provide more screening and enforcement capability to the department charged with maintaining border security.
But the contradictions don’t end at traditional political rivalries.
Look no further than the President himself to find a contradiction as vexing as any that plays out in Congress.
On the one hand, President Obama publicly dedicated his administration to curbing climate change. The EPA is proposing new regulations to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants; and that’s a good thing, as detailed today in Vermont ANR Secretary Deb Markowicz’ op ed.
But even if the EPA succeeds in making this one stick, the “other hand” of Obama has just dealt a resounding slap to the future of clean air by proposing to permit, by executive order, sonic exploration for oil and gas deposits beneath the ocean floor; and seems likely, in this election year, to cave to political pressures and endorse the Keystone XL Pipeline.
By itself, either of these two initiatives has the potential to release enough CO2 over the coming decades to completely dwarf current emissions from coal-fired power plants; nevermind the collateral environmental risks of each.
So, we have to ask if the Obama administration is just as short-sighted as its science-denying opposites.
Indeed, to accept the science but take anything but a hardline against fossil fuel expansion is worthy of even greater condemnation than might be directed toward the hopelessly ignorant.