This should have been the moment in which Obama laid out a Kennedyesque we're-going-to-the-moon vision for a green transition away from our foolish, short-sighted, national security compromising, environmentally destructive, and unsustainable dependency on oil. Instead, he gave us mushy and uninspired promises totally disconnected from even the most nebulous outlines of actual policy, no less anything resembling a timeline:
The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America's innovation and seize control of our own destiny.Oh yay. Bipartisanship. Goody.
…Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And there are some who believe that we can't afford those costs right now. I say we can't afford not to change how we produce and use energy – because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.
So I'm happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party – as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels.
This is weak sauce from the leader of a nation that will crumble sooner rather than later under the weight of its obdurate unwillingness to stop guzzling oil as if it's not going out of style. His big plan is, apparently, "We've got to do something!" Yikes. Drum says, and rightfully so, "This gives pablum a bad name." Ouch.
It gets worse.
Because what would a hopey-changey-barfy-farty speech from Obama be without six fucking paragraphs about faith and prayer?
It's a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now.Were I a praying person, I'd be praying for a president who had a better goddamn plan than praying for shit to get better!
Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region's fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It's called "The Blessing of the Fleet," and today it's a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea – some for weeks at a time.
The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad. It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago – at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.
And still, they came and they prayed. For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, "The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always," a blessing that's granted "even in the midst of the storm."
The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again. What sees us through – what has always seen us through – is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it.
Tonight, we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf. And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
I just don't even know what to say anymore. What we have here is a failure to lead. And after eight years of an administration whose guiding principle of leadership on every major domestic issue was "Kick the Can Down the Road for the Next Guy," we needed a president who was going to steer us out of this fucking mess we're in, who had the vision and the backbone to do it.
That is not the leader we have, unfortunately.
I'd be thrilled if Obama would prove me wrong in that assessment.