There's that terrific line in a song of Professor Higgins, when he is describing the expert linguist who thinks he can expose the fraud of Liza Doolittle at her coming-out ball - only to fall flat on his face: "Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way around the floor..."
President Obama, oozing charm, oiled his way across the airwaves last evening to re-assure the American public that, while there's still a good deal of damage to come, he and his team are on the job and they're gonna get the bad guys and clean up the mess. And then they're gonna discover new sources of energy so that we don't have to rely on nasty, dirty, beach-fouling fossil fuels ever again.
He had four preliminatry points and one major point. The four prelimiary points were (1) what he and his team have been and are doing to stop the "gusher" (Sara Palin is right - this is hardly a "leak"); (2) that he will "force" BP to escrow enough money to cover all reparations, and have that fund administered by an "independent third party"; (3) that Navy Secretary Mabus is beginning to develop a long-range plan to restore the Gulf; (4) that a reformed Minerals Management Service will begin working with a new National Commission to develop a plan for future disaster prevention.
All this was the warm-ups. Then came the real agenda: comprehensive energy and climate reform. He congratulated the House for having already passed such a bill, and seemed to admonish the Senate for dragging its feet. He nailed "big oil" and all other fossil fuel producers and promised that, like going to the moon, we will solve the problem of alternative fuels.
I hope we will, but I don't think we're going to be able to shut down our need for fossil fuels in anything but a gradual way, over at least a generation, and I don't think we're helping ourselves by vilifying the oil companies and bashing them over and over and over. So can we get past this and begin to talk about all Americans partnering together for a new energy future?
The low point of the speech for me was the end. The President confidently declared that "God is with us" in the midst of this crisis, and that he, the President, is counting on the hope that "a hand may guide us" to a brighter future, and so God bless us, etc.
That struck me as very presumptuous. We are a nation that has slaughtered unborn children like spilled barrels of oil, except with less regret. We have pushed the mention of God's Name off every square inch of public property and out of every meaningful policy discussion. We have derided and ignored His Word, flouted His Law, and sat by while His people were brutally persecuted in countries with whom we do business. And we dare to presume that He "is with us" and "will bless us"?
Mr. President, that's a stretch. You, as a Christian should know better. But, alas, you don't.
T. M. Moore
- T.M. Moore
- June 16, 2010
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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