[Vision2020] My Column / Megaloads & Hippies

Art Deco deco at moscow.com
Thu Jun 9 08:40:56 PDT 2011

Henry Johnson writes:

"Because what happens at the end of the line cannot and should not be regulated by people who are not directly impacted by the results of what happens at the end of the line. "

The is obviously one of the major roots of disagreement between those espousing the pro--megaloads and the anti-megaloads positions.

This is basically a question of values, when and how to act in accordance with those values, and the strategy to use to try to achieve promoting a world consistent with those values.

I will not repeat past posts on this issues except to say that the oil sand projects, still basically very little yet developed, have caused a 2000% increase in cancer rates among First Nations peoples downstream, have already significantly polluted water and air resources, are being promoted by China, our greatest and most unfair global competitor, who directly or indirectly hold the controlling interests in the oil sands projects, and the expansion of the oil sands projects is likely to be the greatest environmental disaster in the history of North America.

What should one do if one is walking through a strange neighborhood on a windy day and sees a three year old in a dry grassy field with a can of gasoline it is about to pour out, and holding some matches?  

Go over and remove the child from danger and save the neighborhood from the danger of a raging field fire or say "It is not my business, I don't live here" and do nothing?

The Henry Johnsons and people of similar ilk who say of the oil sands projects "It is not my business, I don't live there" and do nothing are not much different from those who would ignore a child with gasoline and matches.  Due to the blasé ignorance and arrogance of the pro-megaloaders, the eminent danger of  the oil sands projects is not so temporally and visibly near as a field fire, but in the long run the oil sands projects are much more likely to have long range, wide spread, extremely adverse impacts than a child dying and a neighborhood being destroyed in a field fire.

The "It is not my business, I don't live there" proponents are the same ones that ignore genocide in other parts of the world, including Mexico, because it does not appear to them that such actions will affect them.  I think they are wrong about genocide and a host of other similar things because [1] sooner or later such things will affect them, and when it lands on their doorstep they will blame others, not themselves, for that, and [2] such an attitude shows almost unconscionable selfishness and disregard for humankind, and such an attitude is likely to be contagious and will eventually be to the extreme detriment of almost all humankind.  Think John Donne's:

"If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

One of the present consequences of the oil sands projects is the undeniable genocide of First Nations peoples that has already occurred and has been carefully documented.  

I understand that the government of China and other big investors don't care about First Nations people or the environment -- they are far removed from seeing or being immediately affected by such things, but I would hope most of the rest of us would care enough about others and ourselves to do whatever is within our practical range to try to stop this ill-conceived project.  It is not the "It is not my business, I don't live there" proponents who would have made earth a better place to live, but their opposition.

If big investors want a good return on their money, let them invest in clean, renewable energy resources -- energy production that does not kill many people and does not do great, irreparable environmental damage.

We all are residents of this planet.  Those of us who do not believe "It is not my business, I don't live there" think we should act to make it as habitable at least cost in human suffering to live here.  The "It is not my business, I don't live there" people obviously do not.  That is the root of this dispute.

Wayne A. Fox
1009 Karen Lane
PO Box 9421
Moscow, ID  83843

waf at moscow.com
208 882-7975

----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Henry D. "Hank" Johnston 
  To: vision2020 at moscow.com 
  Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 7:29 PM
  Subject: [Vision2020] My Column / Megaloads & Hippies

  Viz Peeps -

  First with an apology of sorts - I wasn't trying to be defensive in my original email - its just that the last time people started asking about where I lived and where I worked in regards to a column my workplace was incorporated into it and it didn't end well. Despite what I may had written for my closing column last time, I was basically told to give up my column or quit my job.  Since writing for the Daily News pays beer money and my job at RadioShack paid career money, I think its obvious why I had to choose.  Which is why I must stress that my column and the opinions expressed therein are separate from my job duties at my present employer.  I am able to keep my private/opinion self separate from my work self.

  I'm also glad to know that there won't be an angry mob outside my home or workplace with pitchforks and patchouli oil.

  Second, I think you really need to know me as a person to get my style of humor.  It seems that the crux of everyone's hatred of me is the "hippie" comment.  I'm not going to apologize for it because its humor.  Moscow has hippies - anyone who denies it either lives under a rock or is one and can't admit it.  I think its groovy and its why I've stayed in Moscow long after my stay at the UI was over.  It is what makes Moscow unique and, sometimes to my chagrin, flavors the political climate much different than the rest of the state.  

  And seriously folks, does a gay guy really have a finger to point at a hippie? No.  

  Please, just shrug off that particular paragraph and laugh a little.  I don't dislike hippies anymore than I dislike my mother-in-law. :-)

  The DNews has a 650 word limit and trying to put enough background information for readers who might not know the issue you're speaking of and interjecting your own opinion/positions to form a cohesive column that is readable is tough.  I would encourage you to try it sometime and see if you could fit everything you wanted to say within the word limit without sounding like a poorly edited radio commercial.  I do the best I can with the space given and sometimes am forced to oversimplify things, sometimes with a kick of humor, in an effort to conserve space.

  I'm not certain what Roger Falen meant when he called me a maverick.  I've seen the term used both ways to portray Sarah Palin as either good or bad so I'm still scratching my head at that.  I guess the only way I can confirm what he said is yes, I left the Republican party after it was decimated in the primary by the Gresham Bouma/Ike Young Tea Partiers.  The party took a severe swing to the right and pushed out moderates like myself and the Schroeders.  Perhaps it was a good thing because it caused me to give up my party label (other than independent) but as I've grown I've learned to look at every issue independently and form my opinions based on the information I take in.

  Now, to the core of the issue at hand. 

  Sunil had asked if I felt that the environmental impacts of the Kearl Oil Sands were the same as a single earth burial.  No, I don't.  But my personal opinions on the Kearl Oil Sands are irrelevant to the megaload issue.


  Because what happens at the end of the line cannot and should not be regulated by people who are not directly impacted by the results of what happens at the end of the line.  If anyone paid attention to my column I said that I was sympathetic to the issues surrounding the oil sands - who can't be - the whole thing is disgraceful.  But the fact remains that Highway 95 is just that - a state/federal highway - regulated by the Idaho Transportation Department under whatever permitting process is established for larger loads.  

  If you don't like the permitting process then work to change the law - not stop the loads. 

  As far as the action of the council goes - it is what it is.  Walter made a political statement more than anything and the council agreed with him.  It wasn't a resolution - if you watch the video the language was changed to make it a positional statement.  And does anyone really think that public input would have changed anyone's mind on the dais?  I doubt it and would suggest that anyone who thinks it would is just as delusional as thinking the right amount of pro-Wal Mart public input would cause Aaron Ament to become a fan of Big Blue.

  Overall I don't think that the folks on this forum discussing this topic are too far apart from me.  If you want to get to know me I'm more than game - I love making friends and a good debate.  I'll buy the coffee if you ask (when I have spare time from work, of course).

  Take Care -


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