Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What can one say?

Seaside Heights Before Sandy (1980)

After Sandy


There are those of use that are very pleased with the result of last week's election in the United States. Obama meeting with his campaign staff sort of summed up our feelings. But we have so much work to do, it is a little daunting. I think that the very top of the list is climate change. The reality is that we are doing little or nothing to cut down the planet's carbon emissions. Even worse, the next big thing appears to be using methane as a fuel. Methane produces CO2 just as any hydrocarbon. In addition, methane as a greenhouse gas is much more potent than CO2 and much could be released in the extraction.

The next task is to control the spread of nuclear weapons and to actually, for all intents and purposes, eliminate them. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is sitting in our Senate, awaiting ratification. It is unclear how long it will be before it can muster the 66 votes necessary to pass it. It is truly amazing that something as important as this can be blocked by the political whims of 13 men.

Hopefully the economy will continue to meander upwards. I still think a major push in rebuilding infrastructure would be the equivalent of WWII in stimulating things. But our culture weighs against it. I have a suspicion that I am ignoring the true situation in that up until 2009, America was totally addicted to accumulating trash, not vitalizing our country. Every Christmas I would watch as families went on buying sprees having to purchase the latest gizmo for their children. One year it is "Tickle Me Elmo" and another it is Hannah Montana. The lifetime of most of this ephemera can be measured in milliseconds. It piles up, and piles up. It is hard to throw things away. All it does is inculcate a sense of entitlement and a sense of greed in our children. These children are soon teenagers and then adults. Such an ethos branded on their souls can't be good.

But, I am as guilty as they. There is something intrinsically pleasing about consuming. Given that the product always looks better in the magazine advertisement or on the web site that it does in reality. There is still that frisson of pleasure when one opens the package and takes out the new toy. And, I know, all this is necessary to create jobs so we can make more and more trash. The trouble is, the jobs will be in Walmart.

Finally, the most important thing for America is to somehow heal the rift that has been created between the two political groups. I can never remember a time in previous elections when the losing party harbored such hate for those who won. As I tried to point out in a post on violence in the Super Bowel, Americans have been brainwashed into thinking that there is only one outcome: winning. Of course not everybody can be a winner, and there is many a High School athlete who learns this the hard way. But to experience the rancor that is out there this past week toward Obama and others is a new experience. It does not bode well for the spirit of cooperation that will be needed to get the country rebuilding infrastructure, removing the peril of nuclear weapons, and literally changing the ethos of the polity.


Felix said...

A message that should be taken to heart in many places, Doc, not just in the US.

So very good to hear from you again :-)

Dr. C said...

Thanks, Felix. Took your advice to your friend to heart.