Considering all the blame for the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico being thrown at everyone from BP to the President, I would just like to say, this oil spill is my fault too.
The oil spill is my fault.
I am complicit in this country’s reliance on oil and the quest to obtain it at all cost.
I could have written letters of complaint to my representatives and the media when Ronald Reagan rolled back the higher CAFE (mileage) goals that Jimmy Carter had set during his Presidency. (We could have had cars that average 50 mpg by now, as the Europeans do).
I could have demanded and bought a more fuel efficient car – surely even if I needed an SUV the car companies would have fast-tracked better technology to make them more fuel efficient, especially if the public voted with their wallets and choice of car.
Instead of complaining about gas prices (knowing prices in the US are among the lowest in the world) I should have been complaining about CAFE standards.
If there was to be a raising of the gas tax, I should have insisted it went to public transportation infrastructure, fast trains and the like.
I shouldn’t have voted for politicians that I knew were taking money from oil companies – I mean, did I think that their votes wouldn’t be influenced by the millions of dollars flowing into their campaign coffers from Exxon and the rest?
I should have voted such corrupt politicians doing the bidding of their corporate sponsors out of office.
I should have been advocating for campaign finance reform and publicly funded election campaigns, so my representatives weren’t so concerned with answering to their corporate donors instead of answering to us, as well as spending all of their time raising money instead of working on the work of the people and the protection of our precious assets.
I should have protested in the street and demanded the records be released when Vice President Cheney held his secretive energy policy meetings with all of the big wigs in the oil industry with not one environmentalist involved.
I should have paid closer attention to the dismantling of regulations and the stacking of the agencies overseeing those regulations with industry insiders, over many years, as happened with the MMS and throughout our government.
I should have been more suspicious of the leanings of an administration that was so stacked with ex-oil people that even the Secretary of State worked for Chevron and had an oil tanker named after her.
I should have protested louder when my country went to war with Iraq, knowing full well that that country had nothing to do with 9/11 and we were probably going there, with the cost being borne by us all, and most excruciatingly by our young soldiers and their families, for oil.
I should have been more suspicious when our troops were directed to protect the Iraqi oil wells and the Ministry of Oil, rather than the munition sites, or even the museums and other institutions housing the priceless treasures of the region where civilization began.
I should have realized that the response to the attacks of 9/11 needn’t have been war, rather it would have been more harmful to our attackers to reduce the source of income that is funding those repressive regimes and their dictators whose existence act as incubators for the terrorists – our reliance on their oil.
I should have turned off CNN and stopped buying the NY Times, etc. when those media outlets, through either knowingly complicit or, at best, lazy journalism, started pushing the corporate line, and aiding the dissemination of propaganda instead of reporting facts.
I should have written letters to the editor.
I should have protested on the street.
I should have screamed at the top of my lungs when the Supreme Court ruled that Exxon could ultimately get away with the Exxon Valdiz spill and the environmental damage it brought upon the pristine Alaskan landscape with a mere financial slap on the wrist, while the concern for fishermen and others whose lives revolved around and relied upon the health of that environment faded away.
I should have complained louder about the subsidies the oil companies were getting to make their billion dollar profits.
I should have loudly supported a windfall profits tax that would have to go to green energy development.
I shouldn’t have laughed at those Europeans with their "silly" small cars (except a few of the really silly ones).
I should have called the Mayor of Malibu when I lay and walked on that beautiful beach and found tar balls sticking to the soles of my feet and on my beach towel, the product of oil drilling off the coast of California. That’s not cool.
I should have attended Republican campaign events and thrown some of those tar balls when someone chanted, "Drill Baby, Drill"
I could have called, wrote letters/emails/faxes to my Representatives, Senators, President, etc., saying that this wasn’t a future I wanted for my children.
It’s my fault.