Tar-Sands Project a Disaster

Rob Briggs, Pullman

Moscow-Pullman Daily News 9/19/11

There is an expectation among Daily News readers that op-ed pieces will meet minimum standards of civility and respect. We also expect some intent to enlighten and inform. Henry Johnston’s piece on megaload protesters (His View, August 30) met neither expectation. When Doyle McClure wrote to complain (Letters, September 3-4), Michael O’Neal weighed in with charges of censorship (His View, September 7).

O’Neal claims to be a mind-reader. He states, ” what McClure really wants is for people like Johnston to shut up.” Ironically, the only person who told anyone to shut up was Johnston. O’Neal, like Johnston, finds no space for substantive information on the underlying issue – tar-sands development – but instead indulges in childish name-calling.

I like what Bill Clinton had to say about such divisiveness back in 1992 at the Democratic Convention.

“Tonight every one of you knows deep in your heart that we are too divided. It is time to heal America. For too long we’ve been told that what’s really wrong with America is them. But this is America. There is no them. There is only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. That is our Pledge of Allegiance ”

Among those protesting tar-sands development is our nation’s most prominent climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen. He was arrested at the White House on August 31. In June, he wrote that if tar-sands development proceeds, it will be “implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.”

Interested in understanding the issues behind tar-sands protests? Read Hansen’s words (www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TwentyYearsLater_20080623.pdf) delivered on the 20th anniversary of his landmark 1988 testimony to Congress. Then ask yourself, whose words – Hansen’s, Johnston’s or O’Neal’s – best embody the aspirational goals for citizenship we hope to impart to our children as they pledge allegiance to the flag?

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