Petroleum and My Prayer



Bush to Visit Iowa Flood Site

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Dearest Mister George Walker Bush . . .

This morning as I sat in what I would wish to think of as my safe little sanctuary from danger, I watched you mount the stairs and ascend into Air Force One.  The television announcer spoke of your impending trip to the Midwest.  As one with family in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois, I was grateful for your travel.  I am certain the people in these regions will be comforted by your presence.  Most will feel they have reason to hope that you will offer help.  I truly appreciate you “swift” response to their needs.  I am gratified that you have decided to fly high above the flooded terrain, and perhaps spend a moment with an individual or two.  Perchance, you will speak to my sister or my Dad.

As I observed the day’s news break on screen, I perused the printed page and realized the American people may have another reason to thank you.  The New York Times reported Bush Calls for End to Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling.  I am confident those on dry land, still able to drive through the streets are pleased.  Your grand gesture will gratify them, belatedly if at all.  The United States House Committee on Natural Resources thinks the move will not improve circumstances.   I sigh.

There is no reason to let little details such as well-researched assessment get in the way of the glorious work you do Mister Bush.  As you well know, the public cares not what the future might bring.  The people prefer to be catered to in the immediate.  I know you understand this Mister President.  You felt the repercussions of a delayed action.  I remember your late response to Katrina, and even to the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center Towers.  

Woe, to the politician who does not take measures to calm the citizens quickly.  Mister Bush, I am consoled as I witness all you have learned.  Indeed, today, you quieted fears and felt the people’s pain.  You did as is necessary.

In this nation, an elected official who bows to the will of his or her constituency will be judged well.  After all, as you are aware Mister Bush, the people are the power.  The populace casts a ballot at the poll.  Even for those such as you, an individual who cannot hold the office of the President again, that is as long as the Constitution remains unchanged, legacies are the legends of history.  

Mister Bush, I applaud your heroism, your ability to reach out and to touch the common folk.  Yet, while I might admire the actions you took on this 19th day of June, I only wish that consolations would clean the mess you created.  

I fear each of the events of the day is the result of earlier enactments.  What occurred in the Midwest is as much that the world has seen recently.  Granted Mister President, you only preside over a portion of a North American continent; nonetheless, what is in our air travels overseas.  Water also journeys to shores far beyond our horizon.

Contaminants and toxins permissible in the United States will be found in the heavens above foreign soil.  Oceans, far from our homeland, will contain elements hurled into American waterways.

I know you might muse Mister Bush, as you did for near a decade ago, humans have little effect on the environment.  Ah, but President Bush, as you now relent, we do alter the balance of nature.  Decisions you made in our name, accelerated the cycle of unwelcome warmth on a globe too fragile to fight off the effects of a fever.

You, Mister Bush may have learned the laws of motion in your studies.  As Sir Isaac Newton discovered in an Earthly environment, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Perchance, as a Chief Executive and one who received a Master’s degree in Business Administration, you are more familiar with a similar premise, economic in nature, “You scrub my back, and I will cleanse yours.”  

In the financial world, the policies you endorsed illustrate that you embrace this “theoretical” truth.  I recall your first hundred days in the Oval Office.  Much to the benefit of business buds, who supported your rise, you chose to initiate practices that filled your friends’ purses.  . . . and oh, yes, these very guidelines damaged the milieu.  Ooops.

  • Bush administration marks 100 days in office (04/29/01)
  • EPA drops objections to Florida rule that undermines Clean Water Act protections (04/26/01)
  • Gale Norton nominates William G. Myers III as solicitor for Department of the Interior (04/24/01)
  • Yellowstone snowmobile ban goes into effect, but perhaps not for long (04/23/01)
  • Bush seeks to relax requirements of Endangered Species Act (04/09/01)
  • Bush administration delays hard-rock mining regulations that protect watersheds (03/21/01)
  • Bush withdraws new arsenic-in-drinking-water standard (03/20/01)
  • Bush appoints industry apologist as regulatory gatekeeper (03/06/01)
  • EPA upholds Clinton decision to clean up diesel pollution (02/28/01)
  • EPA delays, then upholds, new rule protecting wetlands (02/15/01)
  • White House announces regulatory freeze (01/20/01)

Indeed, you were a busy man Mister Bush, just as you have been today, and throughout your terms.  You entered the White House and released the latch on barn doors throughout the nation.  Domesticated animals, Americans, did not rush out, for they had long felt as though they were not in harm’s way.  Centuries of relative calm encouraged citizens, beasts of few burdens, to believe they were sheltered from storms.  However, once the portals were open, predators, or was it you Mister President, ran in.  

Marauders came though back gateways, side entries, windows, and slats in the ceiling.  Perhaps these too were but friends of the fellow we all know as George, you, Mister Bush.

Oh, Sir, you must know, corporations, intent on earnings, ignored the warnings of environmentalists.  Scientists could not be heard above the hum of oil drills.  The clang of change as it fell into deep pockets muffled the melodious mantra of the few concerned citizens.  This circumstances Mister Bush caused the globe to warm.  Now the water falls from the sky without end.  Levees poorly maintained or engineered break.

My Dad hopes his sump pump will not fail.  My sister prays that her home will remain on a hill.  My best friend fears for his roof.  A friend in Racine, Wisconsin I hope is well.  No one has been able to reach him.

Mister Bush, when you first arrived in Washington District of Columbia you changed the fabric of the land.  You did not steward the territory we each occupy.  Economic favors flourished as did environmental hazards.  The rich grew richer; the poor did not prosper.  Those who had wealth garnered dividends.  Those with few resources received less.  Now, we all suffer.

Wind and water does not discriminate.  Homes, bought and paid for wash away in a torrid tempest just as shacks do.

Oh my dear Mister Bush, you promised to be the Compassionate Conservative.  If only you had chosen to be the Consummate Conservationist.

Each day Mother Nature cries out.  She weeps and the terrain floods.  Her heart breaks, and tectonic plates move.  Cyclones are the swell of tears her eyes cannot hold.  Mother Earth pounds us with hail; she means no harm.  Her children, under the tutelage of an oil moneyed man are out of control.  She knows not what to do to get their attention.  She throws what she has at hand, and hopes, perhaps, her brood will stop the insanity.

Mister Bush, please I plead, do not pander, or patronize.  My Dad does not need cheaper fuel.  He is a patient man and willing to wait for alternatives that do not leave him soaked and sorrowful in the next five-hundred year flood, which may occur only a month from now.

My sister would be content, if she could tell he son with certainty, she will leave him a world better than the one she grew up in.  Sensitive as she is, my sibling hopes to bequeath her grandchildren with a glorious existence.  However, as you fly to her home with promises too late, and replete of a skewed reality, she fears a dependency on fossil fuels will never end.  

She too, just as Daddy, does not concern herself with what cannot be salvaged.  Each requests that we secure the future, clean the environment, and do not drill for more oil, offshore or anywhere.

Mister Bush, the time is now.  For as much as any American would wish to believe they are safe in their now dry homes, as long as we continue to rape the few resources we have left, as long as we waste, and want more and more “conveniences” no one will be secure.  

As you peruse the cities and crops destroyed by rains and runoff, you might realize climate change is evidence of what you sowed.  No promises will repair broken hearts.  No policies that allow for more petroleum usage will produce calm or clean seas.  We now reap the rewards of gluttony and gratification.  It is not a pretty picture.

Mister Bush, tomorrow does come.  Our actions today will be the cause.  The effects of your past performances are what you see today in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri . . .  Let us no longer wash the back of a egocentric executive, at the expense of the environment.  Instead, kiss my sister, hug my Dad, and if you can find my friend, lost in the tragedy, please tell him I love him.

Resources, No More Oil . . .