This is in response to the article, “Environmental ‘gut check time’ for Obama?” by Thom Patterson, CNN, updated 10:26 AM EST, Fri October 7, 2011.
While I feel anger at the plight of the welder, the fact is Ms. Hight is right. Again we have a manufactured situation where it appears there will be an everyday American winner if the pipeline goes through, when in fact we’ll all lose, including the welder, while a small group of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals will get even richer and more powerful as this blip on the economic scene will do nothing for anyone on Main Street. Mr. Pedigo could have a job doing almost anything he wanted if American corporations weren’t making a fortune off of outsourcing right now. Instead of this one, relatively short-lived option in an economic wasteland that seeks to possibly make a literal wasteland out of the most fragile parts of the heartland (it is already making a wasteland out of Canada. See here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/03/canadian-oil-sands/kunzig-text), he could have his choice of lucrative jobs welding if President Obama were serious about updating to a green infrastructure, energy grid, and mass transit system. Europe, with its decades-old maglev trains and finely-tuned transportation systems, has been laughing at us for years. This is because America doesn’t have its priorities straight. It thinks it needs this pipeline, when, clearly, what it really needs is to be laughed at by Europe, and to deserve it. That, and it needs real leadership in Washington, and policies that will take us into the clean and renewable future we envision in science fiction’s advanced societies and beyond. That is what a vision is: recognizing that it is time to make science fiction science fact, and abandon the dying, destructive, and unsustainable technologies of the past. Can Obama do it? By himself, no. He will only do it if we force him to, which is what these protests are for. These protests have come to force him to start listening to the people who got him elected in the first place; to force his enemies to reconsider the true and inherent strengths of their positions; and to create change in America whether the people who walk the halls of Congress– and the narrow (and currently very comfortable) special interests who fund them– want it or not.