7.01.2009

This Political Cartoon Annoys Me


This political cartoon annoys me. If you can't see the image, it's an ostrich with Capitol Hill for its body and its head in the sand, in a desert with a sweltering sun, and the caption, "212 Congressmen Actually Voted Against Taking Action on Global Warming."

Again, for most politicians, the logic goes something like this: "We must do something. This plan is something. Therefore, we must do this plan." And the corollary: "This plan is about Issue X. You are against this plan. Therefore, you are against Issue X."

But what if the plan doesn't get you further ahead on Issue X? What if, within reason, there's a better plan to get you further ahead on Issue X? (I say "within reason" because sometimes it is better to do something rather than wait to find something better.) What if the plan actually gets you further behind on Issue X?

I have stated my particular skepticisms about the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Bill (here's a nice post on the bill's flaws)‎. My beef today isn't about that bill or this topic; it's about the presumption that if you're not for a particular piece of legislation, you must be a dinosaur (or, in Tony Auth's case, an ostrich with its head in the sand).

Whatever happened to due diligence, making sure you're not unleashing disastrous unintended consequences, and civilly debating your way to a better policy? It was wrong earlier this decade to say that if you're not for President Bush's policies, you're anti-American; and it is wrong now to say that if you're not for President Obama's policies, you're anti-environment. That's not the sort of public discourse and freedom of speech/thought/opinion we want to encourage.
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