Musings of a Malcontent: I get no respect I tell ya – No Respect! (Congressman throws hissy fit and walks out)

Musings of a Malcontent: Environmental Irony in an Imperfect (but humorous?) World“Musings of a Malcontent” is a weekly op-ed by GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Carlyle Coash

Remind me to never testify in front of Congress.

Or the Senate for that matter.

In fact I would like to stay away from being questioned by the government in any form whatsoever. In case you missed it this week, a CSPAN video surfaced of a great interchange between Rice University Professor Douglas Brinkley and Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young. They were at a hearing for the House Natural Resources Committee on the possibility of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge entitled ANWR: Jobs, Energy and Deficit Reduction.

Good times, right?

To quote the Committee’s website: “This hearing will specifically examine the benefits of developing a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska as an opportunity to create new jobs and generate new revenue for the government. Responsible energy production on less than three percent of ANWR’s total land could create thousands of jobs and $150 billion or more in revenue over the life of production. Earlier this month, Chairman Doc Hastings announced plans to recommend increased offshore and onshore drilling – including in the ANWR – to the Joint Select Committee as a way to help reach their deficit reduction goals, without raising taxes and at no cost to the government.”

Thank God for that – no cost to the government. Cost to a few other things – but those other things are all stupid like the environment and animals. They are just there to get in the way really. Pesky wildlife, who do they think they are. Roaming around doing nothing. Eating grass and humping each other – really! Get a job! So what if you don’t have opposable thumbs!

Watching the video I did understand why the environment is in so much trouble.


The level of disdain for the whole process of dialogue was stunning. I guess the basic approach is to be mean and rude. Rep. Young reminded me of a 2 year old when they don’t get their way – just older with a bigger vocabulary. Although actually all he really managed to say was “Be Quiet!” to Dr. Brinkley. I was glad that there was a transcript of the dialogue since some of it is lost on the video. I will not recount it all here – there are fifty other articles doing that – but I must say that Dr. Brinkley really took the whole thing on. I know he broke protocol by talking back, but frankly if that is the protocol he should have been throwing raw vegetables at the Committee. What kind of protocol is based on abuse? That definitely needs some serious push back.

My favorite line was, “You don’t own me. I pay your salary.”

You wouldn’t know it given Rep. Young’s behavior. If I were like that to my employer I would be packing my desk. And that is the point – we are at the whim of some very powerful people who do not seem have our best interest in mind – or the planet’s for that matter. Young was clearly annoyed he had to listen to anyone at all countering the proposal to drill in a designated refuge area.

Also some of what Rep. Young was trying to say left me baffled. Apparently after the environmentalists gave their testimony he was given a chance to speak. At one point he said about the Wildlife Refuge that it “is not the pristine area with wolves laying next to caribou, it’ll be a cold day in Saudi Arabia when that happens,” and added: “We’ve heard from environmentalists, and I understand their beliefs, but they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

I’m sorry but is anyone saying wolves will be laying down next to Caribou? I mean maybe laying down and eating the Caribou’s entrails – I’ll give you that. I realize that environmentalists can wax poetic about nature, but they also know what nature tends to be like.

At least I hope so.

Just to be clear – let’s work this out for those unsure – one of those animals has lots of pointy sharp teeth-like objects and the other has lots of chewy like flesh bits that taste awful good to the toothy one.

Of course it would be a cold day in the desert if they hung out together, unless Jesus happened to be around that day. The point is that we want to protect those places where the natural balance gets to actually do its thing – chewing on each other and the like – because it keeps things in balance. I know this is kinda tough to suss out – the whole balance thing – but if we did not have it then we would not be alive. It is the interconnected nature of things that makes it all work.

How do I know this? Well let’s keep it simple. All it takes for death to occur is one major anatomical system to crash and the others are likely to follow. There is a balance that is needed. Your heart stops pumping effectively and other systems in your body start to compensate for the system that is not working. If the imbalance continues for long enough then the other systems start to weaken as well – from the stress. Even the healthiest body will get pulled down eventually if the imbalance remains.

The environment is no different. It can only take so much.

The damage that will be done to the environment will far outlast the short-term benefit of getting an unsustainable resource out of the ground. This last year is living proof of that particular equation. Oil; oil everywhere – in the water, on the beaches, in the rivers.

So my wish is for Rep. Young to continue to be pestered by others determined to bring balance to the conversation and bite back a little. My hope is for a daily experience of this so that maybe we can get back to some kind of middle ground. I have seen some of his comments and he may actually have good ideas for a better future. Yet as long as he calls someone else’s viewpoint garbage – there is no way to have a real conversation. All it creates is mutual disdain.

I know the environmentalists can be hard to listen to as well – so change is required from both sides. Easy to make Rep. Young the villain, but clearly he is frustrated too. Perhaps it is the mechanism of dialogue – i.e. a governmental panel – that is not the best way. Go set up some tables right in the middle of the wilderness refuge and then have the conversation. I bet it would get solved in no time.

After all if the wolves and caribou can get along, why can’t we?

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  1. Big up and thx to you for these wryly humorous, insightful posts on the defining issue of our times…

    The only thing that stopped me from chuckling was the reminder that this sort of behavior and these types of mindsets are real, alive and well and populating our Congress!


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