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The Gulf Oil Spill

May 1, 2010 – Special Edition.

The Gulf Oil Spill. 210,000 gallons a day. The height of migration. Dolphins coated in oil? It’s a certainty. Estuaries irretrievably lost? It’s looking that way. Untold numbers of fish killed. The height of migration. Senator Mary Landrieu declaring she will not turn her back on offshore drilling. The oil companies have Mary bought and paid for. What are Mary’s constituents saying to her? Check back in a few weeks …..

I am a bird watcher. My heart aches. My head pounds. My tears fall, unbidden. Louisiana. Mississippi. Alabama. Florida … ? When, oh when, will we realize that the changes are coming, whether we’re ready or not? We have traded our birthright for a mess of pottage. This, our Garden of Eden. How much more of it will we destroy outright?

This is the last warning. We have been called to account. Governments can ignore citizens. The created cannot ignore their Creator. What exactly, I wonder, will be the breaking point? The animals coated in oil? The mass graves we dig for them with bulldozers? The beaches and estuaries gone, forever? The stark enormity of the damage? Mile upon mile of devastated landscape, where once there was such beauty?
The lives lost, some as the result of suicide? The livelihoods lost, the work of lifetimes? The amazement as we come together in failed attempts to undo what’s been done? The tears, as Southerners – once again – become environmental refugees? The closing of an entire region of our country?

The failure of insurance companies to pay the millions of claims? The lawsuits, the lawsuits, the lawsuits? The weariness, as workers drop in their tracks? The impotent anger, the screaming, the crying? How many will lose their homes? How many will lose their minds? The little birds that drop from the sky, exhausted, as they seek in vain for a safe place to land after crossing the Gulf of Mexico? The endless stories, as year after year we learn more about what we had and what we lost? At what point do we say, “Enough!” On what day do we decide to do what we know is right?

What we have lost cannot be tallied. There are no dollar signs in front of the numbers, because the hole that has opened swallowed up the inestimable. Would you like to lose more? Stay on the same path, by all means! Let fear be your guide! Americans as pioneers, breaking a new path? It’s outlandish! The notion that we should have been leading the world all along in alternative energy source development?? Why, that’s the stuff of dreams…imagination…invention! Where is there a nation that will take the lead and boldly go where no nation has gone before? WHERE?

I heard once of a nation like that. If I didn’t know better, I’d even say I’d been there, once upon a time.


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