Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Petro-Patriots, Tea-Party Suckers, and the BP Oil Rupture Catastrophe

To the editor,

Dear President Obama: I listened attentively to your Oval Office address concerning the BP catastrophe. I want to believe that the Gulf Coast—its fragile ecology, its wildlife, its culture, its economy, and its people can be “made whole.”

But we both know that’s false.

In fact, we both know “made whole” is a manipulation designed to prevent the demonstrations, the outrage, the demand to end all off-shore and on-shore drilling that would be fomenting if American citizens took seriously the facts about this disaster.

But what we also know is how easily we’re bribed into complacency, how thoroughly we’ve been bought off by corporations like BP who convince us to identify freedom with material wealth, liberty with shopping.

We need look no further than the bankrollers of the Tea Party: Freedom Works—Dick Armey’s corporate dream-come-true, Dick Cheney’s petro-patriots, to see how successfully we’ve been suckered. While we’re busy being bought by these faux-prophets of “freedom,” these “strict constitutionalists” of “buy gold-n-guns,” these play-soldiers of “Gun Owners of America” and the “Oath Keepers,” America has become America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupurt Murdoch, FOX, the oil corporations, the “health” insurance companies, “Big Pharma,” and “Big Box.”

What the Tea Party stands for: a “free” market whose calamitous consequences are as predictable as was the Deep Water Horizon explosion, a “free” that would impose a racist theocratic morality on American citizens—all the while giving the pass to corporate greed, false propaganda, and the exploitation of human beings, nonhuman animals, and the environment.

Were I Tony Hayward, I’d be laughing my arse off (while I pretended to “fix” stuff).


U.S. government officials…now estimate the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico is spewing…1.5 million gallons to 2.5 million gallons…per day (

BP consistently underestimates and underreports the amount of the New Horizon rupture (

BP spends more on advertising than on researching alternative fuel sources despite the name change from British to Beyond Petroleum (

On-shore drilling isn’t safer than off-shore. This is the lunacy of petro-patriots like Sarah Palin. “Take, for example, today’s (6.15) Chevron oil leak of 500 barrels (or about 17,000 gallons) into a Salt Lake City creek. At least 100 birds were covered in oil, and water quality has certainly been affected…Oil is not the only fossil fuel that poses risks—so does…natural gas…[J]ust as there were few (or at least unenforced) regulations of Deepwater Horizon’s drilling process, there are few regulations on hydro-fracking, a natural gas drilling process that is unregulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, despite regular and serious reports of it polluting drinking water in local communities” (

BP’s conduct is part-and-parcel of any enterprise whose objective is to turn a profit—as opposed to improve the quality of human life. This is the unregulated “free” market in action.

These are its inevitable consequences, and for as long as we continue to endorse an ideology that values profits over human life and the environment it depends on, we are the ones to blame for this catastrophe.

There is no “making whole,” Mr. President. There is no fixing the Gulf of Mexico. Until we get it that our oil-addiction is pathological, climate change is real, species extinction could include us, that our “American Dream” way of life is unsustainable—until we get it that if we gave a tinker’s damn about our children and our future we’d put a stop to the practices—mining, drilling, polluting, endless trash-producing, agribusiness, CAFOs that will lead to ecocide—there’s not only no “making whole,” there may not even be survival.

Wendy Lynne Lee (598 words)