A House Divided

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson tells us that we will adapt to the climate change that results from the combustion of his product. We'll relocate the farms. We'll abandon the ocean shores. We will “manage” the consequences of burning oil, coal, and natural gas. But there's one thing we won't do, if ExxonMobil can help it. And that is stop burning oil, coal, and natural gas. Indeed, the convenience, power, and cheap plenty of fossil fuels has a terrible grip on our daily operation. As one commentator put it, burning the Big Three is like “holding a wolf by its ears: you don't like it, but you don't dare let go.”

Except, the commentator in this case was Thomas Jefferson, and the powerhouse he was referring to was human slavery. We must remember that, in the 19th century, Americans were addicted to this other destructive form of energy – the labor of an imprisoned people – and without that dynamo their way of life seemed impossible, especially in the south.

We're not hearing talk yet of oily Texas planning to secede, nor Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and the coal states. But, Republicans are upping the tension, insisting that people who want to save the environment are making “War on Coal.” If that's the case mark this well: 75% of people in the U.S.A. are sincerely concerned about the moral issues implicit in burning away our children's future on the back of the fossil fuel industry. That's greater than the percentage of Americans who were bothered by the immorality of slavery at the start of the Civil War.

We all know that we are in a depraved situation. We have begun to realize that we have invited colossal death as surely as if we lassoed a comet and hauled it toward Earth. When industry suggests that humanity will just “adapt” to droughts four times as severe as the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, or floods which sweep our houses away, or adjust to the extinction of half our compatriot species on this globe, we understand that this is the last Faustian bargain we'll ever get a chance to make.

At the same time, Abraham Lincoln's words hold true now as they did in 1863. The only way we will solve this emergency, is in our collective power to uphold our Government of the People as the fittest vehicle to express the ultimate truth: we are equally made in the Creator's image. In this late day, we can at last begin to understand that this congruence with divinity is not limited to us. In its infinite intricacy, the Earth is an implicit whole. The very feedback loops that will do us in illustrate with deadly elegance the attention of the planet to balance. There is no waste space on the land, in the sea, or in the sky, where we can unload the bitter by-products of our self-absorbed lives. What a myth, the idea that we could pursue greed and consumption under the banner of liberty, enslave the Earth to our artificial quality of life, and expect that sensitive Creation wouldn't respond with an exclamation of catastrophe. Climate change will find you in the fortress of your little home, and turn you out under a strange sky, on the shore of a terrible sea, on land shoved into ruin.

We can consecrate this relationship between all things on Earth, before it is too late. We can “hallow this ground,” our home for which there is no substitution. But, it can't happen just through words. A powerful sector of society is seceding from decency, from reason, and ultimately, from life. They are dividing our house, and the roof is falling on our heads. There is a time to fight for our government, our home, our Creation. It may be the last, best way we can consecrate this Earth, before ExxonMobil signs for the devil in blood. Our Gettysburg is coming soon.

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