A Spiritual Crisis; A Political Opportunity

A reader writes:

You wrote, "[One has] to be emotionally and spiritually dead not to watch this and not feel some deep qualms about what our civilization is doing to its environment and to itself."

That is the note I hope President Obama could use to address the nation, instead of treating it as a management crisis. He started to do this in the press conference two weeks ago when he talked about the ocean being sacred in Hawaii where he grew up.  I'm not a believer in religion but I accept that there is spirituality in our DNA and I value the natural world the way you write so beautifully about your beliefs.  We should be leaving the earth the way we found it as much as possible.  It makes no sense that we are exploiting all the planet's resources in a few short generations, as if there will be no needs for our children after we are gone.

I am in a state of grief for the world for spiritual reasons as much as for the huge environmental and economic consequences of this disaster. Please continue to get these ideas out there.

My view is that the role of the president in this should not be psychiatrist-in-chief but strategist-in-chief. He should use this example as a reason why government is necessary for certain core things, especially regulating things like deep-sea drilling. And he should argue that this catastrophe mandate a real effort to move off oil as fast and as thoroughly as we can. Which means a carbon tax - perhaps offset by a FICA cut.

I think this is the core lesson of this episode and one that is not merely a function of crisis-management. Obama loses when he looks as if he is trying not to look weak. He wins when he challenges us to confront the real and deep problems we face and offers an actual way forward. Get on the offensive, Mr President. Own this crisis as a political call to arms.