All Tragedies Great and Small

I don’t get out much, but yesterday I took my dog to the vet for a routine physical and vaccinations.  I’m either really loyal or in a rut, because I’ve been going to the same veterinary practice for 20 years now.  I recently got the news that Dr. Z has retired. This was a shock.  The docs are all 5 to 10 years younger than we are. We are friendly, but not friends.

As is typical, we chatted about our weather.  We’ve had more sunshine than is normal and far less snow this season than usual.  No one is complaining.  But as Dr. X said, “it still seems like it’s been a long hard winter.”  I agreed and posited that it’s because the news is unrelentingly bleak.  Everywhere you look, bad shit is happening.  It seems like the whole planet is in meltdown.

We’re approaching the one year anniversary of the Fukushima triple whammy and that nightmare won’t end for decades, if ever, for the people living anywhere near that plant.  Of course, the corporation that ran it (and cut corners and lied about it…typical corporate behavior) will probably declare bankruptcy and get off scot free for their actions.  That scenario plays out again and again……Bhopal, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Massey Coal, BP……all cause huge environmental disasters and death for anyone unfortunate enough to live or work anywhere near these death machines and the perpetrators of the disasters walk away with millions in their pockets.

We need the energy.  We’re willing to kill our planet and ourselves to get it.  It has occurred to apparently no one that the solution to the energy crisis is to change our lifestyles.  That is unacceptable.  So the death toll continues.

Here at home we argue over the Keystone project.  Canada is subjecting their indigenous people to a long slow death courtesy of the Tar Sands project and wants to run the oil down to the Gulf of Mexico for sale overseas.  This is a no brainer, which means that we’ll probably end up with it and then will be suitably horrified when something goes wrong and we have another disaster that kills people and poisons the environment for decades.

And, my personal favorite, we continue to fight over whether or not women get to control their own fertility.  In 2012, we’re actually having a debate about contraception and the State’s interest in what a woman does with her body.  It’s unbelievable.  Thanks again to Virginia and Alabama for just being them.  I spend a little time every day wondering what the United States would look like today if Lincoln had just said good riddance to the slave states.  If those idiot 11 had been allowed to secede, would it have been so terrible?  Over 600,000 people died in the Civil War and slavery didn’t end.  It changed form.  Just look at our prison populations today.  My argument is that, if we had waited 10 or 20 years (a little longer than Reconstruction), the Slave states would have gone financially bankrupt (morally, too late) and have been begging the US to be allowed back into the Union.  Lotta leverage lost.

These are the kind of thoughts that were going through my mind as I watched Dr. Z enter the clinic.  I knew immediately that he’s sick.  At the end of the visit with Dr. X, I had a chance to talk to Dr. Z and found out that he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  His is, apparently, aggressive and he can no longer perform the job that he clearly loves.  As we were talking, he volunteered that one of his best friends has an inoperable brain tumor, so he’s been helping his friend out with speech therapy, knowing that sooner or later, he’s going to need this kind of therapy as well.

Here in our little town, there is a Super Fund pollution site.  We live in a cancer cluster.

Whether its mountaintop removal, nuclear power, fracking, tar sands, industrial agriculture, or just the usual by products of civilization, we’re killing ourselves to maintain a lifestyle that cannot be maintained.

And we’re the ones with the big brains?

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One Response to All Tragedies Great and Small

  1. Sigh says:

    Your blogs are always provocative and this one makes me think of the phrase: “Think globally, act locally”. Although, as you point out, it’s depressing from every perspective.

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