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Dick Heller Headshot

The Madding Crowd

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June 2010 and the country is in any number of messes. The oddest thing to me is that we don't need to be in all this confusion but there are a number of very loud sources of disinformation keeping meaningless debate alive and stifling true discussion.

The most obvious and urgent mess is the physical mess created by the sad events in the Gulf of Mexico and the continuing ooze of slime on our shores. Eleven men will never "get their lives back." Thousands, probably millions of living creatures will never be the same. Drop the partisan noise and let's look at the facts. BP was utterly unprepared for a very real possible scenario. It has now happened. While every effort must be made to stop this particular continued sludging of our environment, the fact is that every potential well dug into the seabed brings with it this potential level of foul results. Until there is a clear and active solution to that probability, all the calls for more off-shore drilling should be squelched and the moratorium must continue.

The second mess, Afghanistan, is not going at all positively. The facts should be faced. Our enemy is not a recognizable state but a state of mind. Today we learned that the terrain of Afghanistan is full of potential riches. They could become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium." Let them. More power to them. The history of the Afghan people, both ancient and modern, is deeply tribal. The many disparate regional factions all seem to declare fierce loyalty to the last warlord who subdues them. But their loyalty is reserved for internal interests. They will never declare loyalty and fealty to the US, as they never did to Russia or to England before that. We should help them master their own resources and get out of their way. I am sure that clever Americans will find ways to profit hugely, just as Cheney and Co. have done so well with the existing petroleum states.

The many political messes at home are more complex. What's messiest about them is the fact they are discussed largely without facts. Spitting opinions rather than the weighing of sound arguments rules the debate. Folks gripe and march about raised taxes when federal taxes are actual going down. People seem to want the sane, wise gentleman who won the last election to prove himself to be more of an emotional hysteric. We are distracted, denying clear data, by on-going chatter about the legitimacy of the place of the President's birth. And there is, even in the face of the first mess, resistance to the clear need for energy initiatives that pose less of a danger to the planet.

What to do? Trust the reasonable man at the helm. Don't deride him for calling things complicated. These messes are complicated. Their causes are complicated. Their cures are complicated. Let's quiet down, listen for the rational discussion, and let cooler heads prevail, while every urgent action is taken to move the messes toward resolution.