Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day!/?

photo of purple prairie clover
Happy Independence Day! I hope you enjoy it. This is the day we celebrate our Declaration of Independence from England. Having been born and bred in Boston, I know more than a little about the original Tea Party and am not easily fooled by foolish imposters. Our original declaration of independence increased our interdependence as individuals and as states. Our war of independence was won, in part, due to our dependence on France. Too many contemporary conservatives would have us believe that we suffer from too much government. Someone should tell them that the time has passed when we can head for the mountains and live as Jeremiah Johnson did. Or, if they really want to be independent, get a gun and a horse and get the hell out of town. Just don't use fossil fuel vehicles, or roads, or plastic containers or ... I'm sure you get the picture. Roads are build to link people and communities. They increase and ease interdependence. Fossil fuels and plastics are only produced by the joint, interdependent effort of many people with many different skills and tools. All of which is a long-winded way of getting to the Fourth Freedom, Freedom from Fear. Roosevelt said this "means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world." I hope, and expect, that if he were writing the Four Freedoms speech today, he would also reference worldwide reduction in greenhouse gases as a requisite to freedom from fear. The thought of a world with increased frequency and intensity of tornadoes and hurricanes and droughts and floods and wars (over oil) and pestilence (West Nile virus) scares the hell out of me. In fact, it brings to mind the lines from Bob Dylan's (now there's an independent soul) great song "Masters of War"
You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed...

But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.
The real difference is that with climate change, there are no Masters of War. There's just all us independent, interdependent souls trying to get ahead and live the good life, aided and abetted by co-conspirators British Petroleum (Deepwater Horizon), Exxon (Valdez), TransCanada (Keystone Pipeline), General Motors, Saudi Arabia (15 of 19 9/11 hijackers)... the list goes on, leading to the question: what the hell are we going to do about it? Our leaders these days only seem capable of following us. We need to reach agreement so they can act. Our independence and freedom from fear depend on it. Let's meet after the parade on Main Street. (Do you still have a Main Street, or has it been buried in a Big Box?) Thanks for listening. By the way, I thought the purple prairie clover in the picture looked a little like "bombs bursting in air," but was much prettier and quieter. What do you think? Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.