Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Not mad at anybody." Well, there are exceptions...

Over twenty years ago my coworker, Roy, told me he had dreamed he was dead, attending his own funeral. He told the clergyman conducting the service, "I want everyone here to know that I'm not mad at anybody. Not a single person."

I've often thought of Roy's dream as an ideal to live up to. To put anger behind me, be at peace with everyone. For the most part I thought I thought I'd achieved it until a few days ago. When I watched Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, giving his non-answers to U.S. Congress committee questions, I got mad.

Apparently a lot of people got mad at Hayward. Apparently Congress got mad. Tony Hayward was recalled to Great Britain by his company and taken out of the sight of mad Americans.

I also got mad at Congressman Joe Barton, who apologized for the actions of the president in securing a $20 billion guarantee that BP would compensate the people of the Gulf Coast who are affected by BP's environmental disaster. He called it a "shake-down." Many Republicans had been calling it a shake-down, but Barton went one step further by giving his apology. The Republican leadership realized, too late, that the guy was going to bring down the wrath of the public, who weren't in any mood to apologize to Hayward or anyone else at BP. They took Barton in for a little chat. Barton came out and apologized for his apology, then retracted it. The damage by then had been done.

Republicans hate Obama so much they will sacrifice a whole area of the country to a multinational corporation in order to show it. Barton said what Republicans think, but wouldn't say because it would be political death.

Let's personalize it. Your neighbor comes over to your house and pours toxic chemicals onto your property. He can't stop. Every day he pours more and more deadly garbage into your yard. He causes the deaths of neighborhood animals, your plants and vegetation. The mayor of the town negotiates a payment from the neighbor for you to compensate you for the damage. But a city councilman, in a public meeting, apologizes to the toxin-spewing neighbor for the "shake-down." He has effectively taken the side of the violator who has wronged you, a fact clear to everyone but the councilman, who thinks it is OK for someone to dump poison on you and not have to pay for it.

If I'm going to achieve that dream of not being mad at anyone, then I'm going to have to forgive some people in power whose actions are pro-violator and anti-victim. Were I to die at this moment I would go out angry.


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