Taken as a whole, [Jeffrey] Feldman argues persuasively that the right wing’s use of violent language and imagery over the past 30 years has gravely, deeply—perhaps even mortally—wounded the American body politic. As social theorists from John Dewey to Miss Manners have pointed out—and as my Canadian neighbors seem to understand as the central fact of their civic existence—civility is the necessary ingredient that allows democracies to function. Without it, there is no common good, no mutual respect, no reason to have faith in our ability to govern together wisely and well. When these basic agreements fail, so does our ability to self-govern. Reading this book from my peaceable perch on a mountainside in western Canada, the destruction of America’s civic order, as Feldman describes it, looks utter and complete.
Somehow, we need to find our way back to each other. And, as simple as it sounds, it may start with a determined resolution that we are going to be civil to each other. Always. Even to your obnoxious Dittohead neighbor. Even to your annoying fundamentalist sister-in-law. Even to that jerk with the faded W’04 bumper sticker who stole your parking space. Even to the whinging concern troll in the comments thread. Catharsis feels like a birthright in our I-want-it-now society; but it’s a luxury that progressives can no longer afford. Every time we give into it, the culture splits a little wider, and our odds of ever healing again it grow a bit more remote. It’s time for progressives to step up and show the rest of the country how grownups behave. We’ve got an example to set, and a hundred million people to educate.
“Imagine mixing a bucket of roofing tar into a child’s sandbox. Then boil some water, pour it into the sandbox, and try to wash the tar out of the sand.”
In the era of extreme energy, we are indeed, “scraping the bottom of the barrel.” Because it’s environmentally unsustainable, it’s becoming politically unpalatable for Canada, our major oil supplier, to extract from tar sands, and we want more.
A group of lawmakers are calling on the Obama administration to take a closer look at the significant environmental impacts of a proposed massive pipeline that would carry Canadian tar sands oil 2,000 miles from northern Alberta all the way down to refineries in Texas and tankers off the Gulf Coast. Tar sands mining emits three times more greenhouse gas pollution than traditional oil and has come under heavy criticism from environmental and indigenous groups. Democracy Now!’s Mike Burke speaks to Clayton Thomas-Müller, a Canadian indigenous activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
When I woke up this morning, I thought one of the neighbor’s firepits was still going. I thought “How rude!” Little did I know that the problem was much bigger. This drives home the degree to which we are all one people on one Spaceship Earth. We all live downwind.
This is an AP report, and I can’t redistribute it, so you’ll have to follow the link for the story.
I’ve heard about these, but I’ve never seen a picture of one. It’s quite striking. Wildlife doesn’t observe the boundaries humans place on its habitats, but it will use these overpasses (and underpasses).
This, my friends, is what I like to call awesome. It’s a wildlife overpass….kind of like a pedestrian bridge, only the pedestrians it caters to are the four legged kinds. Deer, elk, moose, wolf, and lynx alike, as well as their kin, will use this little bridge to safely cross the human road, what was once a barrier.
Alberta, Canada, 1999 Photography by Joel Sartore