MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Obama's actions on global warming have long been similar to his go-to practices in general: He prefers lofty rhetoric over action, particularly when there are powerful financial forces that might aggressively challenge him. Yes, you can argue that Obama has supported renewables and - occasionally - has pointed out the destructive developing ecosphere that we are facing. However, distinguished rhetoric will not save the planet.
David Bromwich, an English professor at Yale, is perhaps the most astute dissector of the role Obama has played while in office. (You can here a few minutes of his acutely accurate analysis of Obama's role as president in a "Ring of Fire" excerpt here.) As early as 2012, Bromwich understood the unusual dichotomy of Obama: "a blend of high resolve and extreme detachment, romantic idealism and an almost opaque unconcern with follow-through."
In addition to being a supporter of Wall Street pirates doing business as usual, Obama has deferred to the military-industrial-surveillance establishment -- despite his campaign promises. Sometimes his obeisance to the status quo reaches absurd and illogical extremes.
Take for instance this March 15 Associated Press (AP) article, "Obama seeks to stay neutral in CIA-Senate spat." Of the epic stand-off between Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and the head of the CIA, John Brennan AP states, "In brief comments on the dispute, Obama said taking sides was “not something that is an appropriate role for me and the White House to wade into at this point.”
Obama's reluctance to avoid a fight over vital issues that he had promised to actively address as president -- coupled with his general support of the Bush-era intelligence staffing and financial kingpins no matter what their wrongdoings -- has put the world in peril.
Dahr Jamail, who writes for Truthout (TO) on the deteriorating condition of Earth (among other topics), just penned an article on TO today, "Reporting on a World of Environmental Catastrophes - All in Just One Month." The earth's ecosphere is rapidly unraveling, and it is mystifying that Obama is only vaguely concerned about the dystopian climactic future.
He could as a president fight for trying to halt the demolition of the planet and its re-emergence as a home that is not hospitable to life as we know it.
That, however, would require a moral courage and a recognition that detachment and supporting the status quo gluttony of developed nations will mean that the upcoming generation will pay the price for his lack of commitment to dramatic change.
For those who claim that he has tried and can do no more because of the right-wing fabulists who deny climate change, that is not a good enough excuse. Climate change is not a business-as-usual challenge: it's a red alert alarm.
Obama should be at the forefront, leading with the the moral (and survival) fervor of the Civil Rights Movement, which kept its "eye on the prize."
There is a difference between words that promise change and actions that passionately achieve it.
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