She’s not a cruise ship. She’s not a container ship. She is certainly not a warship. She isn’t a schooner, or a trawler, or a cabin cruiser. She’s an emergency flotation device; a tiny cork of a life raft bobbing with the current amidst merciless seas.
Well, maybe to us she doesn’t look so tiny, after all she’s some 5 trillion times the size of the biggest life rafts around. And while no doubt she is tough by her standards, she remains an uncertain and leak-prone cobble job by ours. She won’t sink, maybe, but this is the Bering Sea and all our communications are down, and there is no Coast Guard to call anyway. It’s just us and our raft.
If she swamps or capsizes, or our water or food supply is poisoned, or she catches fire, or any other of innumerable catastrophic things happen, that’s it for us.
Concerning us; despite the fact that our Earth is amazingly bountiful for a life raft of her type, our situation is dire, as usual. Life is rarely easy aboard a flotation device, and ours is no exception. However this time around it is us who have put our raft in peril, through our own wanton, greedy tantrums and subsequent obstinant ear-muffing.
Unfortunately our raft’s leadership is at best a shambles. We’ve never had an established, accepted Chain-of-Command. We’ve never really needed one. The raft is so big that knowledge of other groups of raft-goers, indeed knowledge of the extent of the raft itself, has not been either widely known or even necessary until very recently. The interests of most of the people and the different groups of people on the raft have hitherto consisted of either A) acquiring a bigger piece of the raft or B) enjoying more comfort therein.
There are those among us, some by circumstance and others seemingly by design, who are still unaware of their (our) true situation.
Once again, for millenia there has been no societal need for this knowledge.
Now the situation has changed, or rather we are starting to truly understand it. Among other things we are realizing that a raft-going society cannot be run this way. We are adrift and without succour, alone and lost in the howling dark; and as we have made contact with each other and begun to understand this precarious vessel on which we bob we’ve found that the friendly way is the best way as far as possible. All around the world, with several small exceptions and one big Red one, we are tuning in to this friendly way (read: democracy)
What that really means on a life raft, when you get down to brass tacks, is get along or die. Especially on the things that matter the most to us, such as the integrity of our raft. One would think that would take precedence over all else merely if it were called into question, let alone if there were consensus that it was poor and/or near failure.
And that is exactly what is happening. Our raft is in trouble, and it’s trouble we have created. We’re still getting a handle on the extent of the trouble, but there are people among us who have dedicated their lives to that very thing. Scientists are doing tireless work not only finding out what is going wrong, but also what efforts we can take to preserve our raft’s integrity before it’s too late. Their toil has been yeilding measurable results for decades.
By their standards; that is, the scientific consensus of the human race, our raft is in big trouble, trouble we ourselves have caused and still have a chance to reverse. But the clock IS ticking.
However, there is the incessantly pesky matter of ourselves. Two matters.
Firstly, concerning the Chain-of-Command:
Many hold different beliefs than mine on the matter, specifically that an established heirarchy has existed in the past and still exists in absentia now. The trouble is that a plethora of viewpoints exist on who or what was/is at the top of the CoC structure, and there is much dispute over that and even more over what any standing orders might be. This, by itself, wouldn’t be too troublesome as far as our raft is concerned if it were not for one thing.
Some believe that this missing Skipper of the Life Raft Earth left an extremely suspect standing order; that we shouldn’t be troubled by the state of our little lifeboat, that she is ours to do with what we will, that even if we think she is in trouble everything will be alright so long as you believe, that the Skipper will take care of everything, and of course that anyone who says differently and says the Earth is taking on water or otherwise in danger is gainsaying the Skipper and guilty of mutiny.
To say the least this
steaming pile of dangerous bullcrap viewpoint is deeply troubling; frustrating as hell, too. When they get that look in their eye, that one that says “you, sir, have with your logic offended my faith“, it sets my freaking teeth on edge.
I calm down, though. Take a deep breath. Maintain. These nuts are hard to crack, but I have patience with them personally. They really do believe they are doing what is right; their conviction is like freaking Mt Everest. While it is a sisyphean task to argue with that, to be honest it’s also hard to hate it. It’s hard to hate someone just because they are a sheep.
And, once in a while, a metaphor gets through to them. Occasionally that incredulous look gets replaced with a cautious grin and a nod. Not often by any stretch, but sometimes.
The other side of the coin is worse:
We have long had a really bad habit; acquisition and accumulation of land and comfort (read: power and money) at the expense of everything and everybody else. Far too many of those of us at the top levels of our leadership, even now in these “enlightened” days, espouse this habit as though it were a virtue; as though wanton use and abuse of our only lifeboat is somehow to be admired, even exalted.
And you dare to call yourselves “conservatives”. Bleh! Teddy Roosevelt would whip your “conservative” ass with his big stick if he were around today. Just what in hell’s name do you think you’re conserving?
Nothing, that’s what. Nothing at all but your own continued and unimpeded land and comfort free-for-all, to be continued until you own the raft and everything in it, seemingly. The worst part with you greedy sharks is that there are no illusions for you anymore. Those doing the science have written on the wall, but the believers refuse to even teach their kids to read. You can read. You are well aware of what you are doing, you must be. Your greed is your only excuse. Go along to get along for yourself alone and the whole world besides be damned. It’s despicable and it makes me ill when I encounter it. I’ll generally leave the room, if I can.
I lose patience with the sharks much more quickly than with the sheep.
It’s not that they’re stupid, they just don’t seem to give a damn.
crossposted from http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Hammerhand/