What has driven me to the computer this morning is the lack of sense in the America of Today. And this is not about the erosion of constitutional rights, mercenaries fighting our wars, or the unprecedented rise of The Corporation. It is about people learning to get along-I think we may be slowly forgetting how to live in civil society. 2 items have driven this to the fore for me. This past Sunday I attended our Unitarian Church and was struck by several unfortunate instances of bad ‘progressiveness’. One of the largest failings on the Left is our apparent need to out Extreme each other, perhaps seconded by an unwillingness to compromise which is beginning to smack of liberal fundamentalism. I’ll delve more into the latter.We were sitting in a meeting after the service listening to thoughts on whether or not our congregation should begin application for Green Sanctuary status, and also a brainstorming session on ways to be more energy efficient as a congregation. The beauty of the Compact Fluorescent Bulb is virtually self evident-easily saving 4-500lbs of emissions per bulb, and repaying the small initial investment 7-10x over in its lifetime. But what should have been a no brainer languished 10 minutes in a fruitless debate over the hazardous levels of mercury in CFL’s. Do they have more Mercury than incandescents? Yes. However we are talking 4mg per bulb, and considering the largest emitter of Mercury is coal fired power stations, each CFL actually reduces mercury in the environment by a factor of 2, and if properly recycled by a factor of 5. Due to his lack of research before hijacking the discussion he did damage (several nodding heads) that I will have to repair next week instead of progressing ahead on useful items that will create change.
The kicker is that I learned something because of this guy. I didn’t know about the mercury issue until he brought it up, but the Google search to answer it took all of .25 seconds. The problem wasn’t the concern (scepticism is good) but the knee jerk reaction to a solution. I think that a very vocal minority on the left has become so used to saying NO! to everything that they are forgetting how to say yes-or at least “we’ll see”. They have become so antiestablishment that they can’t trust Honda to make a clean car, GE to make a clean bulb, or the Democrats to front a decent candidate. When I have been mulling this over the past few days I think it comes down to compromise. Electric Cars are cleaner than Hybrids, CFL’s have Mercury in them, and no electable politician can be perfect. But my Insight is a hell of a lot cleaner than a Taurus, CFL’s reduce net Mercury, and I’ll take a mispeaking Kerry over a world conquering Bush anyday. There are better options to all of these, but the likelihood of convincing people to trade their Impala’s for Hybrid Camry’s is far greater than getting them to bicycle to work. But get into a batch of liberal fundamentalists with this crazy talk and you’ll be a Sell Out.
Just because I consider the status quo wrong I refuse to believe that what I am proposing is the only Right way. While I use a reel mower I would be perfectly happy if my neighbor’s would just use less chemicals and put a catalytic converter on their mower. But the fact that for 1090 meals of the year I am vegetarian but eat about 8 ounces of meat a year in social settings where refusing my relative’s meals would be rude, is enough to get decried as having “blood on my hands”.
The cup will never be full or empty. Much like the Hell and Damnation wacko on the streetcorner will never convert the masses, if we liberals can’t celebrate progress we’ll never achieve any.
PS even if you disagree with me,
please vote today.
The democratic tradition is dying in this country and your commitment to the process is more important to me than the issues.