Taking it to the streets

Today was Arctic Refuge Action Day. ARAD to dorks. What it means to most people: Nothing. What it means to Congress: Little bit. What it means to me and the people there: Trying our hardest to make government listen to common sense despite staggering odds that they won’t. What it means to me and my co-workers: a 13-hour work day.

Basically all of the environmental groups in the country, plus a few religious groups and Indian tribes, got together in the thousands to storm the Capitol. Brief rundown is that since 1980, grassroots groups and Congressional Democrats have either held the votes or pulled fancy tricks to stop drilling in one of the last untouched areas in the world. This year we don’t have either. Republicans have such strong numbers, that rather than taking Arctic drilling to the floor and risking a filibuster, they’ve tacked it on to the president’s budget, knowing that party line ought to hold and toss the oil industry a kajillion dollar payoff. Oil and gas giants win, proving that the richest special interest in the world never loses, and keeping the world spiraling toward self-destructive oil dependency (foreign and domestic) for generations to come, at the expense of the last tiny chunk of America’s Arctic heritage and hundreds of wildlife species. Oh, and 10 years from now, we get 6 months of oil that doesn’t lower gas prices a dime.

But hey, we need oil, right? (wrong). That’s enough of that. Going to this rally, on the lawn of the nation’s Capitol no less, and actually facilitating the process (all week we were wrangling Virginians to pound on the door of their swing vote Rep) was a pretty great experience. Big speakers showed up: Kerry, Hillary, Lieberman, Raul Grijalva, Ed Markey (my favorite), Tom Udall. Great stuff. And even though the odds are stacked against the cause, and moderates are saying ‘why not just let them drill?’ and skeptical liberals are saying it’s a lost cause, politics are politics, and anything can happen. And just the fact that in this political climate, an event like this can happen, and this many ordinary folks gather from around the country, and this many A-list politicans make fire and brimstone speeches on the Capitol lawn… it feels good. And it feels good to be there, no matter what happens. Because at least this many people care that progress may lose the day in the end. And they’re going to kick and scream and shout and dress up like bears as long as it takes to stop something that just isn’t right and doesn’t make sense. If it’s all a waste of time, at least all those people said something. Got a sunburn for it. That’s all.

Capitol. Can’t tell or remember the speaker.

Guy dressed like a bear, cause everyone likes a little dress up.

Me holding a sign. I didn’t make up that ridiculous slogan. I did draw the caribou, and I’m really proud of it. I was holding this sign and this little fat train worker came up and said: “Hey, last year it cost me 50 bucks to fill my Escalade. This year it costs 100.” I said, “Maybe it’s time to buy a different car.” He said, “That’s your answer! Fuck the deer!”

Me looking busy and serious.

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18 Responses to

  1. Eats With Face says:

    How can you say we don’t need oil after Delta and Northwest file bankruptcy on the same day? Do we also not need airplanes? I’m pretty sure they haven’t sound a way for those to run on electricity? Now you know I like Caribou, and I don’t want to get into the same old argument, but isn’t your attack a little broad? Maybe we shouldn’t drill in the refuge, but to say we don’t need oil and to attack an entire industry that in many ways provides us with the most basic services and objects we use everday is obtuse. There I said it. I respect your work to save the refuge, but you broader attack on the industry, is obtuse.

  2. Mr. Chair says:

    The industry is short-sighted and has only dominated the world’s usage because that’s the way it’s always been, and the haves continue to keep it that way. The long-term solution is alternative sources of energy, which are readily available if the gas and oil lobby would allow government to demand them. Then there’s stuff like plastic. Plastic is useful, but not necessary. Oil dependence is a matter of overconsumption, laziness and greed. Oil has a place in our resource consumption, but our dependence on it is benefiting nobody but the Saudis, Exxon and the Bushes. The point of my attack is that it is broad. Our problem is broad. And it needs broad solutions and broad thought. Not narrow knee-jerk reliance on the status quo industry.

  3. fumeagainst says:

    That’s right. I agree with Chair.

    Oil is an industry in its death throes.

    You better watch out, Face, or you’ll be out of a job in 20 or 30 years!!!!

    But seriously. Oil is in the best interests of big money people. The rest of us hardworkin’ folks’d be better off with new energies and policies of conservation.

    I only use energy on a 7 sq. meter apartment, and besides that, it’s all public transportation and bicycle. I recommend the same for everyone. Except I wish you a bigger apartment. But I love my bicycle. I just rode all around Paris this morning and it is a beautiful day and I didn’t use an ounce of gas or have any expense, and I toned my buttcheeks at the same time. How bout that!

  4. catfishvegas says:

    We do need oil. We should attack the industry. We should not drill in ANWR. We should conserve in every way possible, including NOT DRIVING FUCKING SUVs.
    And we should explore alternative sources of energy. For starters, I suggest Mr. Finnagain’s butt cheeks.

  5. Eats With Face says:

    That’s just not how the world works. While no doubt I envy the buttcheeks of Finn, not eveyone wants to live so minimally. And while I agree with Catfish that we should conserve, people don’t want to. They got money to spend on oil and they want to drive their SUVs 2 hours a day so they get to. They only way people will change their habits is if the gas prices go sky high, and then you will see new-efficient cars. But what I mean by saying Chair’s argument is obtuse is, the gas industry in Colorado for example produces natural gas to heat people’s homes. Do you really think that’s so bad. Gas and Oil has such a bad name that liberals are too willing to curse it at every turn. Finally, Oil and gas is not running out any time soon, and as to Finn saying I’ll be out of a job in twenty or thirty years — well that’s the whole fucking point. I want a house in the mountains and one near the sea, and blow me out of a cannon when I die. Go Broncos!

  6. fumeagainst says:

    Yes, that’s how the world works, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Weren’t we taught and don’t we believe that we can make the world a better place? And shouldn’t we start with the man in the mirror?

    I just cited the lamest pop songs, but I do believe that it’s true.

    How come you support a thing just because people want to do it? It’s the destruction of the planet. Men sometimes instinctually desire mating with women whether the woman wants to or not, but we decided that this is not right, and so we call it rape, and we imprison people we catch doing it and we teach our children not to do such things.

    I am against rape and I am against the destruction of the planet and if that means that we must live without certain extravagances, like living in a two story home in the suburbs and commuting 2 gas-burning hours a day, then I’m totally for it. We must be against wasteful use of pollution-causing forms of energy.

    How can you ignore that the energy you use will result in destruction of the planet?

    I don’t mean that to say that you’re directly responsible for the destruction of the planet, of course, but how can you dare to support free, unrestricted use of oil when you know that it is a detriment to all.

    How many polluted rivers for Face’s house by the sea? How many wars for Face’s house in the mountains?

  7. Eats With Face says:

    7 polluted rivers and 2 wars, please. Oh get off it. Colorado produces natural gas. It burns relatively clean and no one is saying we should stop producing it. Environmentalists — the people out there actually doing something to make a difference — are just trying to compromise with the industry for spacing requirements, wildlife protections and efforts to mitigate eyesores. The destruction of the planet? Come on. Blame me for a war but not the entire demise of the planet. I think people should burn as much gas as they want because otherwise the gov’t would be regulating consumption. Fuck that! Where’s the freedom there? Or are you willing to give up freedom for restricted gas purchases? If I want to drive across the country and burn a gallon of gas every 15 miles then that’s my perogative. (I think I just trumped your lame pop song citing.) The Constitution guarantees our freedom of movement. Would you really require Chair to apply for some kind of variance for his upcoming drive across the county? Hell no. He can go whenever he wants as long as he can pay for the gas. He loves his freedom. He might take it for granted sometimes but he loves the product that oil company’s provide. Capitalism is what it is. It’s not perfect and it changes with the market. Catfish is right that we should conserve. But he knows that individuals don’t have to, and I doubt he would try and force them to. Change people’s mind through logic and good sense, not doomsday accusations.

  8. Eats With Face says:

    I find it a little amusing that Finn observes his living conditions and then in some sense justifies them as some noble political act. Are you living in a small apartment because you think it’s the right thing to do or because you can’t afford anything else? If you really want to make a difference I suggest hitting the streets with Chair and knocking on doors. Or is that also not in line with your “values.”

  9. fumeagain says:

    yes, it is amusing. but you have the order wrong.

    As a political/economic act, I refused to do any work that I find demeaning or unsalubrious to human advancement. I’m willing to stretch my tenets a bit to help with my survival, sure. In theory, I would be burdened with a slightly meaningless job teaching English, but in practice, I was refused a work permit by the french bureaucracy and lost that job eight months ago and still don’t have the right to work.

    I do refuse to work bullshit office jobs that tear down your soul. And I would never work a big money job whose aims were not in line with my own. Because our time on earth is not primarily for making money. Our time on earth is to enjoy life and do what good we can. And I value that more highly than money and I am learning that money is not the only way to enjoy life, so I am learning to enjoy life without it. As a result of that, I am left in small apartments belonging to other people, and without income.

    I don’t justify my living conditions as a political act. I live what some may call a political act, but which I call holding steadfast to values despite opposition, resistance, and hardship. And that has resulted in these living conditions, which are just another test of my determination to live as I deem right.

    Logic. Good sense.

  10. finn says:

    I think you have a conception that striving for money and material wealth are people’s primary motivations. It’s not always so.

  11. Eats With Face says:

    You’re not willing to work bullshit jobs but you’re willing to take handouts from people that do. Wow, I’m glad we have you out there looking out for human advancement. Finn, I am only harsh because I care. I think you’re full of shit on this subject. I think you don’t want to work because you don’t like it. Not for one second do I think you are living a political act. Enjoy yourself. I’m so glad you finally found your calling.

  12. finn says:

    That’s cool. I’m harsh because I care, too. So listen to the harsh truth.

    I don’t know how a 26 year old gets the financial wherewithal to afford his own house, pay for 3 years of private law school and maintain a car when he’s only been working a handful of meager-paying jobs off and on for a few years.

    I’m sure you’ve taken some loans in there that will be paid off in the future, but I can promise you that you would not have been able to foot the bill for the life you’re living if you weren’t taking handouts from someone up the line. I think you know which hard-working government employee I’m talking about.

    I don’t mean you any ill will as to this fact, but when you accuse me of living off handouts, remember you’d be somewhere like where I am if you didn’t have substantially bigger handouts than I get. I am grateful for my friends that have made a few meals for me and who have let me stay at their apartments for discounted rents. My parents are paying my monthly minimum on credit cards for the moment and my grandmother gives me a few hundred a year. That’s the handouts I get.

    My family’s offered me 5K if I move back to Phildelphia, but I’m not doing it.

    I’m not taking a bullshit stance, my friend. I also work harder than almost anyone I know. In the past year alone, I’ve written 2 screenplays, acted in 15 short films, acted in one feature film, directed three short films, written three other short films for other people and had another play produced in San Francsico. Plus, I was teaching English for four months of this past year until my work visa was refused. And the year before, I was working a regular salaried position in a public school. I’m working, man. I just don’t get PAID for what I do, because my work doesn’t support big oil and nice companies like that. But I’m trying and struggling. And putting up with people like you who like to put the blame for my situation on me.

    Admit that you just feel guilty that you’ve been given all the breaks and have never had to prove your own merit against all odds. And so you try to justify the gifts you’ve been given as some kind of moral rectitude. And that those who have less fortune than you are in that position because they deserved it. You’ve convinced yourself that this is how it is, because it makes you feel justified and clears your conscience.

    I think you should remember where you get your bread buttered and leave me alone if you see me asking friends for bread sometimes.

    If you want to take this argument further, you better brush up on your lawyerin’ tactics, but remember, I got a higher LSAT score than you on my first try, without studying.

    You think I’m full of shit talking about my own life. I think you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  13. Eats With Face says:

    Wow.

  14. finn says:

    I apologize if I crossed the line. But I’m quite frustrated with people so self-righteously telling me that how I live my life is wrong.

  15. fin says:

    I apologize if I crossed the line. But I’m quite frustrated with people so self-righteously telling me that how I live my life is wrong.

  16. Eats With Face says:

    Let’s move this argument off of Chair’s blog. In fact, let’s make a new blog titled “Finn and Face: two dear friends who have grown to see life differently.”

  17. Mr. Chair says:

    I think both of you guys are douchebags.

  18. finterclaus says:

    I’m glad we’re still friends and I want it to stay that way, but we do clearly see some things differently. I fretted all night about this dispute. I had to drink 5 superstrong 8% beers and watch the movie Wall Street just to get my mind off it. But then Wall Street turned out to be all about the battle being doing what’s right and doing for money, but the beers did the trick and I was able to sleep.

    by the way, chair, you better watch out or you’re next!!!! just kidding.

    love to all

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