While Staunch Environmentalists are Dead Set Against the Pipeline’s Construction, the Reality of the Situation Favors Indifference and it Just May be the Sacrifice We Need to Enact Real Change
While many are down on Ed Schultz for his stance on the Keystone Pipeline, a point that many progressives and liberals such as myself, disagree with. Though, in the end, Schultz is correct in his pragmatic assessment and it very well may be the bargaining chip we need to get things like immigration reform and stimulus achieved.
One of the big problems in Washington these days is that nobody understands how to compromise. If you study the history of American government, as I have, you will know that the bicameral system and federalism, keep any party from having absolute control of the country, by design of the Founding Fathers.Yet big things can be done and will be done by professional politicians who know how to grease the wheels.
Of course, these days, we also have the added problem of lobbyists and big money Super PACs to make things all the worse. Obama may stand for the people, though let’s face it, the people he sees every day are representations of corporate interest. The extreme corporate worshiping right-wingers, that are hopelessly out of touch with the American people, are screaming in one ear, while the business sympathizing “Left” (more like moderate) are tugging at Obama’s other ear. While this goes beyond being a Left-Right issue, many on the Right are bathed in the corporate waters from cradle to grave and kiss up to ruthless, immoral capitalists as if Jesus himself baptized corporate greed with a the Gordon Gecko speech from Wall Street, instead of damning the rich to hell in his infamous camel through the eye of the needle speech.
I have no illusions about Democrats, or the Liberal movement in general for that matter. The way I see it, Liberals are rich people who care, conservatives are rich people that don’t.
So that brings us back to Big Ed. He moved his TV show back to Minnesota, where his original radio show was, and this has placed him outside of, the self-proclaimed “center-of-the-universe”, New York city. He is back in touch with people that think the 20,000 or so jobs that the Keystone Pipeline will create are a godsend. He is also correct in his assertion that if we don’t build the pipeline, the oil companies will send the oil anyway via train, which is not only far more dangerous, it burns more fuel to get the oil to its destination in the first place.
While many liberals are aware that eating meat is one of the largest sources of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, many are ignorant to the subject. Eating beef means cattle that are poorly fed with cheap corn. The corn is grown, harvested by combine (which takes fuel) and then shipped to the cows (which takes fuel). Then the cows are shipped (which takes fuel) to the slaughter house. Then they are killed on the factory floor and “harvested’ (which takes fuel). then the freshly slaughtered steaks are shipped to grocery stores (which takes fuel) and the leftovers are ground in to byproducts and shipped (which takes fuel). The end result is a massive expense of fuel just so you can have a good steak.
Do you feel guilty yet? Not if your a vegetarian right? Well, just remember that cheap produce also comes from dubious sources and involves a great expenditure of fuel to get it from garden to table. So when you are driving to the store, are you concious of the fuel you are burning? If you bike to the grocery store like I do, are you concious that even then, every item in the store was trucked in via big rig? You still have a carbon foot print, but at least you are making a difference.
That is why Ed Schultz stance is not really that big of a departure from my own pragmatically progressive stance. Will green-lighting the Keystone XL Pipeline signal a pure, unabashed commitment to oil? Probably not. Will it dramatically increase carbon emissions? Probably not (though it will contribute). The oil is going to be used one way or the other because it is profitable. Renewable and sustainable energy is on the way and we need to continue our relentless pursuit of such technology. Wind and solar farms that power electric vehicles are the future. Hydrogen fuel cells that expel vapor exhaust are the future. Mass transit and mixed use developments that afford residents to live and work within walking distance are the future. Many of these things are here today and this positive change is what we need to focus on.
It is, however, a disappointing reality that we are all guilty of contributing to. I see where Ed is coming from, even if I disagree. I hate oil pipelines but I have no illusions that oil will disappear anytime soon. However, where I ultimately disagree with Schultz is the purpose of the pipeline to begin with. I don’t see the strategic advantage of allowing a Canadian oil company or the several American ones in Nebraska to ship our oil to China. Turning the once bicycle driven economy into the next big oil user could tip the scales on Climate Change firmly over the tipping point. That would mean disaster for our nation, for our people and for our strategic stance. I don’t have any love, or respect, for oil companies. I think we should tax them into the ground. They need the oil, our oil, and will pay our demands because it is so profitable. The most profitable corporations in the world are oil companies. Hands down! So why should we do them any favors? We shouldn’t. We certainly shouldn’t be subsidizing them as we currently do. They are not allied to us, they are allied to the almighty Greenback. They have no loyalty to us, their loyalty is to the stock holders with controlling stakes.
So I get Ed Schultz’s view. In the end, however, I disagree. I still love his show, his pro-union, blue-collar working folk stance and I think it is the direction the Democratic party needs to go. While the hipster, Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel appeal of the contemporary party works today, being the true party of the people and pushing a populist, pro-middle-class agenda is good for the Left and it’s good for the nation. And to get this agenda through Congress, we may need to give a few bargaining chips.
If Republicans are so married to this stupid pipeline that they will give us Immigration, I would be cool with that. Compromising your values for real world gains is not sexy, but most things in life are not. Compromise is the way things get done in Washington and it is high time that Congress gets off its lazy ass and start working! The days of energizing your base into a constant flood of stalemate are coming to an end. While this is a plague that has hit both parties, I think the Republicans are married to this issue the most. It will be their Waterloo.
So be kind to centrist Progressives like Ed Schultz. They are a huge key to making real change in this country. We need to stick together and let the Conservatives cannibalize themselves. They have no ideas anyway and are essentially the party of status quo. We are the party of progress, the party of change, the party of equality, the party of good paying jobs and the party of healthcare. The GOP is the party of obstruction and denying reality. The party of antiquated talking points and the pro-corporate blow-job fest that is modern conservatism.
Since even reality now has a liberal bias, apparently, the Republicans are on the brink of obscurity. Hopefully to be replaced by a conservative party that doesn’t think the Earth is 6,000 years old.
Our future, our hopes, our dreams depend upon a functioning democracy. If that means having to give away something that is near and dear, yet ultimately indifferent, to get something with real long-term results, it is worth considering.
The Progressive Revolution is underway. All we need to do is last.