(rare political vent on our family blog. if it bores you, feel free to skip. if the governing rule of this country concerns you, feel free to chime in about it here or write something on your own blog. get the word out, copy it and send it to your congressman, do whatever it takes, but make sure you keep the power with the people and not the management.)
Michael & I were fairly disheartened to see the most recent energy bill pass in Congress today. (You can read about it HERE or do a Google search for "energy bill" and I'm sure you'll find plenty of other news coverage). Of course the reps. from our Republican-dominated state voted against the bill (Michael did his civic duty today and called them to make sure they knew where he stood) but as I read some of the news coverage about the passing of this bill I couldn't help but shake my head in wonder at how out-of-touch most of the politicians in this country are. They are swayed by powerful contributors, they are swayed by powerful leaders (from other members of congress to the President himself), they are swayed by news reports, they are even swayed by whatever recent scientific trend has reared its ugly head. They get their cushy payrolls and their expanding expense accounts, living the high life (as long as they keep receipts that they can write off as "part of the job") but they don't know anything about who they work for. The people. You know, the citizens of this country. Politicians are voted for by people who expect them to REPRESENT them and their interests. If you live in a farm state, you expect your representatives to vote for bills and push ideas that support your farm or agriculture business. If you live in lower-income areas you expect your representatives to pass literacy initiatives and keep job production on the agenda.
The main issue behind this bill at first glance appears to be carbon emissions. And really, in the midst of the tanking economy, the failing joke of a "stimulus" package, the rapid job loss and the declining health care affordability, what average-joe American gives a hoot about carbon emissions??? But really, reading between the lines, that's not the point of this bill at all. The world in general has developed an ominously unhealthy opinion of the United States in the last decade. People blame it on George Bush, but whatever the reason I have found myself in recent years, when visiting other countries, almost cringing at the prospect of answering the question "Where are you from?" (although, sometimes for safety reasons, it's best just to say Canada. Thanks for being there for me, Canada.) What I do notice is that some of the points made in the news reports show how proud the supporters are that the US will now be a world leader on climate change. It looks like the Obama administration is using this energy bill as the new "face" of America for the world to see and ultimately respect once again. Will it work? It hardly seems likely. Probably for the more environment-conscience European countries, but for major exporters like, oh, I don't know, say CHINA? They couldn't possibly care less about the environment. They care about their bottom line. And for the bill to include language saying we won't import from countries (like China) if they aren't compliant to our energy bill??? What a joke. Check the labels on EVERYTHING in your house. If at least 70% of them don't say "Made in China" (or Vietnam or Bangladesh or some other Asian country with a government that only cares about its high rollers and not the real people) I'll eat my own head. I think if this administration is hoping for a makeover, they've only gambled on the jobs and the income of the average American against putting Obama and the US back in the limelight. And I'm afraid they've made a losing bet.