The Gulf Oil Spill, I'm capitalizing the words for a reason, is a watershed moment in U.S. History. Oh, I know. That phrase has been bandied about before, but this time, this time, it's true.
You see, the problem isn't whether or not deep sea drilling should be allowed or whether or not BP should pay for the clean-up and put money into the pockets of the working families affected. The problem is that we as a nation are already debating these things when the most important goal hasn't been realized.
Oil is still spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. By the thousands upon thousands. By the thousands upon thousands of gallons each and every second.
The ramifications of this are extreme. Extreme enough, I believe, to signal the end of the American Economic Empire. Every empire in the history of the world has fallen. Our's has been due to fall for a while. Now, I'm convinced that it is on its way to falling. Oh, we'll still have a say, but our ability to truly change the world will be greatly diminished.
I'm not saying it's gong to happen overnight. I'm just saying that the Gulf Oil Spill is the sign. It's the one great sign because we have no idea what to do and we have never, ever, as a nation, been in that position.
At least we had a response to the Great Depression. At least we had a response to 9/11. But this? We have no response for this because...there isn't one. There is no enemy here except for our own outdated and ridiculous notion that everything in the nation will always stay the same, that the standard of living, which, hate to break it to you, has always been a mirage, will stay the same. That we can continually pump billions of gallons of oil out of the Earth and somehow, someway, it's always going to be hunky-dory and a-okay. We're like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons, except our mighty god has always been the "dollar, dollar bill y'all!" Our mighty god has led us to cut corners and forget about the basic tenet of life, that all things are connected, somehow, someway...
Well, it looks like that's all about to change. The Age of A-Okay is over. There's just no way a nation like the United States, given our current economic condition, can recover from this insane mess because our very ideology, who we are, will prevent us from doing so. We won't allow ourselves to admit that, "You know what? Maybe, we should change who we are!"
So, as Governor Jindal screams at the Obama Administration and the Obama Administration screams at BP and BP screams at...well, life, I suppose...the oil will keep flowing and out of work families will keep struggling and the American way of life will eventually become...oh, damn...just life.
For a lot of us switching from eating fresh salmon to farm raised catfish might do the trick. But for a lot of us, this change is going to be a real kick in the ass.
A real, big, kick in the ass. Hey, that's life, right? All empires fall.
We just received, and are receiving, the sign that ours is about to.