Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The Blame Game

So I watched the Democratic debate tonight (Thank you, WAPO, for live streaming it!), and one thing kind of stuck in my craw.

More than once, Bernie Sanders said that global warming was the fault of major corporations and their greed.  Now, I grant that corporations exist to make money, and not much else, and they don't much care about costs they can offload on others.  I've worked (somewhat) in Texas oil fields and seen just how nasty those areas can be, all in the name of extracting the black gold and devil take the hindmost when it comes to the environment around the drilling or the storage sites.   Oil people ain't tree huggers, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But really?  Greedy corporations forced me to buy gasoline for my car for the past 45 years and burn it without too much consideration of the consequences?  I knew the problems of air pollution and the need for pollution controls on internal combustion engines back in high school, so by the time I was driving I was already learning what my car was doing, and I was already concerned about it.

But I had no idea it was the gas company's greed that was making me burn gasoline in my car; or use electricity provided by coal, or natural gas (not much hydro in Texas.  None, so far as I know.).  I had no idea it was coal companies and gas companies that were coercing me into burning fossil fuels with abandon because they wanted my money.

I mean, maybe that argument would have appealed to me when I was 18.  But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.  And trying to tell me our biggest, most intractable problems are problems because Exxon doesn't want to talk about global warming and the Koch Brothers spend money on propaganda about it, when the real problems of global warming is giving up our cars and our electricity production (unless we go to nuclear, because solar is never gonna supply enough) and our life styles which depend so much on fossil fuel, well....

It's like that old line I heard attributed to Huey Long about taxes:  "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that feller behind the tree!"  Yeah, Exxon is a big rich greedy corporation.  But I'm the one buying gas at the fuel pump.  I'm the one paying the electric bill so I can type on the computer machine.

I'm not the problem, though!  Greedy corporations are!  Yeah!  Let's blame them!

Whoever "them" are.  Don't blame you, don't blame me; blame that feller behind the tree!


  1. Since I'm suffering from debate overload, I didn't watch last night. Though I began as a Sanders supporter, the more I heard and saw him in speeches and debates, the less I liked him as a candidate for the presidency. When it came time to vote in the Louisiana primary, I cast my vote for Clinton.

    His waving and pointing in the debates are major distractions. At times, Clinton was no more than a few seconds into her time when Sanders started waving his arm to be recognized. It smacked a bit too much of the practice of shushing the woman that I've faced throughout much of my life.

    Regarding the quote, "Don't tax you...", that would be Russell, son of Huey Long, who originally used the exact words, although similar iterations were around earlier.

  2. Yeah, I found Russell attached to the quote, but since he was Huey's son, I decided close enough was good enough.

    But still, I appreciate the correction, especially from a long-time Louisiana resident!