Winter has slipped by, leaving the Rocky Mountains and Sierra’s bereft of the “normal” snow-pack, and in turn predicting a grim summer of drought, fires, smoke-choked skies, and rationing of water down-stream in Arizona, California and throughout the West. To the east, rain and snow has been more than usual, hinting perhaps at floods. In the same moment our political dialog remains in stasis, the special interests of oil buying the airwaves to insist the evidence is not in, never mind the flooding of lower Manhattan and extensive coastal damage in the east caused by Hurricane Sandy some months ago – global warming is a myth, and it’s full steam ahead on the Keystone Canadian tar sands XL pipeline, despite the recurrent leaks and ruptures in the pipeline infrastructures around the globe. Recall Deepwater Horizon, BP’s little incident on the gulf? Business as usual in the oil biz.
The Presidential election over, and the rather convincing evidence of a culturally “liberal” national consensus being revealed, our Republicans are falling over themselves cozying up to same-sex marriage and other right-wing taboos, just as they fell all over themselves embracing evangelicals and tea-partiers not so long ago. In the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Ct., even the matter of some kind of gun control has become speakable in Republican language, though the NRA is doing its best to enforce its control. And yet we seem intractably frozen in our large communal conversation, unable to actually even speak, much less act in the face of piles of problems, accumulating as time goes by. Whether with the accelerating collapse of the “middle class” or the utter ignoring of the now 30% of the population who are “poor,” or the ever increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of our fiscal pyramid, or with the very real consequences which will visit us from global warming – water crises, evacuations of major urban concentrations, diminishing food supplies for an expanding populace – our inability to even begin a conversation will write our epitaph. Cruising for a bruising.