Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Negotiating the "not negotiable"
At the Earth Summit in 1992, George H.W. Bush forcefully declared, "The American way of life is not negotiable."
As an American, I'm in negotiation about that.
Indeed, all Americans are in negotiation about that, except the corporadoes who have become richer as the recession stole life savings and homes. Most of us are lowering expectations, though more of us are seeing the benefits and the hope of reducing carbon consumption and concomitantly reducing our contributions to the waste stream.
As we do this, we mitigate the 'need' for armed force to preserve and protect this fantasy "American way of life." We also undercut the dependence upon the royal family of Saudi Arabia as we learn to live a new American way of life that can ultimately help attenuate the income disparities in the US and in Saudi Arabia and all other nations with oil who are our client states--that is, our multinationals profit from the oil and the despots get enough military aid to terrorize their own people. This arrangement keeps the corporations profiteering and the dictators ruling in opulence while their people in oil-rich nations make a fraction (in Saudi Arabia about one-quarter) the average US income. Relating to these nations without the pathetic dependence on their oil will change the American way of life indeed.
It will make us freer.
It will make them freer.
It will liberate us from the spiral of anti-Americanism even as it liberates us from the whims of the oil cartels.
So even though the corporations and their political servants declare that this way of life is not negotiable, frankly, more of us are declaring that stopping it is not negotiable. We refuse. We refuse massive dependence on private gasoline vehicles. We refuse to pay exorbitant prices for unseasonable food flown in from thousands of miles away.
Mostly, we need to reduce our oil consumption to reduce our commitment to war.
Freedom from war.
This is one negotiation that we will undertake positively--by changing our ways and offering nonviolent resistance to war--or negatively, by allowing war to continue, despoliating our ecology and eviscerating our economy.
Let the negotiations begin!