Changing the Way We Live

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Adam's Apple, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple

    Adam's Apple Senior Member

    Apr 25, 2004
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    Don't Mess With Mother Nature
    By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek
    September 19, 2005 issue

    The dark aftermath of the frontier, of the vast promise of possibility this country first offered, is an inflated sense of American entitlement today. We want what we want, and we want it now. Easy credit. Fast food. A straight shot down the interstate from point A to point B. The endless highway is crowded with the kinds of cars large enough to take a mountain pass in high snow. Instead they are used to take children from soccer practice to Pizza Hut. In the process they burn fuel like there's no tomorrow. But tomorrow's coming.

    The cataclysm named Katrina has inspired a Hummer-load of rumination, about class, about race, about the pathetic failure of the Feds after four long years of much-vaunted homeland-security plans. The president made himself foolish, calling for an investigation into who fouled up, perhaps ignorant of Harry Truman's desk plaque reading THE BUCK STOPS HERE. The press rose to the occasion, awakened out of its recent somnambulant state, galvanized into empathy and rage. The public was remarkable, opening their homes and their wallets.

    But the failure by government, in the midst of a hurricane season forecast early on to be a monstrous one, illustrates once again the lack of a long view. The long view at the moment is not about patching levees, or building houses, or getting oil rigs back up and running, or assigning blame. It's about changing the way we all live now.

    Both the left, with its endless talk of rights, and the right, with its disdain for government oversight, suggest that you can do what you please. Americans have taken the message to heart, and nowhere is that clearer than in the mess we've made of the natural environment. How many times do we have to watch homes cantilevered over canyons surrender to a river of mud or beach houses on stilts slide into the surf to know that when we do high-stakes battle with Mother Nature, Mother takes all?

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