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"The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" screamed Chicken Little in a childhood morality tale written long before nuclear fall-out, air pollution, climate change, or bombs and rockets were realities. Hundreds of story versions reach 25 centuries back to the Buddha's telling of a hare who, certain that a falling fruit signaled the end of the world, caused panic among his fellow creatures. Finally a lion taught them "the necessity for deductive reasoning and subsequent investigation," according to Wikipedia. In more modern versions, that wise lion seems to have disappeared.

Chicken Little's response to an acorn hitting his/her head was to assume the worst and to sound an irrational alarm, obviously both an ancient and universal tendency. So how should we analyze what's going on from our ground level view of our political and environmental barnyard in 2016? Is the sky finally falling or are nuts just plummeting our heads?

Republicans generally espouse that climate change, much of which comes from conditions in the sky and in ocean currents, isn't real, and they govern accordingly, ignoring scientific investigations into weather. Their rationalizations instead gladly allow the continual propagation of sources of global warming carbon from the mining, drilling, refining, transport and burning of fossil fuels, while blocking regulations at every turn. Most of this year's crop of Republican presidential candidates even promised to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency altogether, and Mr. Trump led that charge. By doing so, he is fulfilling the wishes of Big Energy's corporate masters' club, all the while denying to his followers that he holds a membership. In this way he resembles the Chicken Little story's character, Foxy Loxy, the shrewd pied piper leading the farm yard's poultry into his dark voting booth ... er, den. He manages this by making them very afraid of everyone and everything, except him, of course.

The Democrats, led by Gander Lander (Obama), have spooked their flock with their inconsistent proclamations on the condition and use of the sky and the water below it. While acknowledging climate change as real and largely caused by humans burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas), the Gander's actions have been all over the board. In 2012 he promoted the Keystone pipeline, which would move crude swill from the rape of tar sands in Canada to our beleaguered Gulf Coast. The pipeline would expose rivers and huge aquifers along its path to potential devastation from leaks, and when burned, the dirty tar sand oil would add billions of tons of carbon to the atmosphere. Finally, in an "aha" moment of clarity, he fortunately withdrew his support of the pipeline,triggering TransCanada to sue the U.S. for 15 billion dollars under the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Ironically Gander loves free trade agreements, particularly the TPP, which is another complex horror story for our nation's environmental laws yet apt to get his signature during lame duck season.

BP's catastrophic Deep Water Horizon oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico is described as the worst environmental disaster in the nation's history, and, granted, our leader did pursue billions of dollars from BP in damages. However, enviros still have had to continually fight his off-shore drilling permitting from the Arctic Sea to the Atlantic coast, and have seen millions more acres opened for oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf has already come dangerously close to being an oily "sacrifice zone." Any more spills might finish it off completely.

Probably thinking of his legacy, Gander has been busy doing good environmental deeds, designating protections for various public lands in his waning time in office before Ducky Lucky, and her husband, Cocky Locky, or that wily Foxy Loxy take Gander's place. Sadly, they are all like Goosey Loosey when it comes to grasping what it takes for the sky to fall. Worse, they seem to lack the courage to face off with the dark forces of Exxon's minions and their ilk or to challenge the brothers Grimm, David and Charles Koch, barons who throw down million-dollar acorns to buy whatever politics they want to rule.

Whether our awakening comes in the shape of a mushroom cloud, dark unbreathable toxic air, more extreme storms, or even exploding bombs in wars fought over life's basics of air and water, at some point in time we are going to have to look up at the sky and deal with what we've brought down upon ourselves. Chicken Little may have been right all along.

Commentary on 08/30/2016

Print Headline: Raining confusion

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