Sleepy Susan Sarandon And What It Means To Be “Awake”

Last night, Susan Sarandon, a leftist actress who infamously helped get Tr-mp elected, appeared on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.” I wish Hayes had been tougher on her (especially after she asked him, “You consider yourself a journalist, right?”), but that’s not really his style. He did, though, manage to get her to say a couple of things that I want to address, mostly because I’m still pissed at so many people on the left who, because they hated Hillary Clinton so much, didn’t give a damn about the pain and suffering many people will have to endure under Tr-mpism. Some of those Hillary-hating leftists weren’t too worried about any pain and suffering because they are financially or culturally insulated from it, which makes what they did all the more reprehensible.susan sarandon.jpg

First, Sarandon had something to say to people like me, people who have attacked her for stupid statements like cavalierly suggesting Tr-mp would bring on a much-needed “revolution” and who still blame her and others for curbing the enthusiasm for Hillary among so many young voters. Sarandon asked, “Really? That’s where we want to spend our time and energy?” Well, yes. At least a small amount of time and energy.

Most of the substantive talk last night kept coming back to the Dakota Access Pipeline and fracking. Okay. Those are important issues. And they seem to be the pet issues of people like Sarandon. But guess what? To people of color in danger of being further disenfranchised, to poor and working people in need of assistance, to sick people in need of health care, to women worried about their reproductive freedoms, to undocumented immigrants being rounded up like cattle, to those who depend on Social Security and Medicare to survive, the issues of fracking and pipelines are way down their list of things to worry about, especially since Sarandon helped get a man elected who doesn’t give a damn about the environment, who, as Hayes asserted, wants to “frack the entire country.”

As for me, in a time when our democratic institutions are under assault by a deranged Agent Orange in the White’s House, the construction of another pipeline just doesn’t seem like a reason to set what’s left of my hair on fire. And as dangerous as fracking is in some places, it appears to me that the existential crisis our Republic faces needs to be the first priority for all of us who care about how this frightening drama ends.

In the context of making a choice last November, Chris Hayes asked Sarandon, “Do you feel like you properly appreciated what a Donald Trump presidency would be?” Here is her reply:

I think that I absolutely feel that talking about blaming people for what happened is really wasting your time and energy. Because what we have now is a populous that is awake.

Well, some of us were never asleep. Some of us warned the intellectually sleepy Sarandons of the world about the dangers of the game they were playing. And some people who are awake now are awake because their lives are in jeopardy due to the actions of people like Susan Sarandon. So, no, it is not a complete waste of time and energy to talk about “blaming people for what happened.” Figuring out how we got in this mess is part of what it means to be “awake.”

And make no mistake about it: Susan Sarandon and Russia-backed Jill Stein and other un-awake people on the left helped get us into this mess by playing with fire, by helping elect a dangerous, delusional man who, if we are lucky, will be booted out of office before he really does frack us all.

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Greed, Evangelicals, And The Environment

You see we have a president, on the energy sector of our economy, who is doing everything possible—everything possible—to crush energy production in this country.”

Rick Santorum in Oklahoma City, February 9, 2012

From a report on Rick Santorum’s visit to Oklahoma City recently:

Santorum found a receptive crowd of nearly 1,000 people in an Oklahoma City hotel Thursday by giving an unflinching endorsement to hydraulic fracturing. That’s the controversial method for extracting natural gas using pressurized chemicals to break open gas-bearing rock.

Santorum says environmental concerns are unfounded. He called them “the new boogeyman” meant to scare the public.

Here is what led up to the boogeyman comments:

The left is always looking for a way to control you. They’re always trying to make you feel guilty so you’ll give them power so they can lord it over you…and they try to distort the truth…Now, they’re trying to do it again: hydrofracking.  Something like 800,000 wells have been hydrofracked in this country. And all of sudden since now we’ve seen natural gas prices go from thirteen bucks to two dollars and fifty cents, well now this is a problem.

And we have to have all sorts of government regulations now because of the threats of hydro—it’s the new bogeyman. It’s the new way to try to scare you…They’re preying on the northeast, saying, “Look what’s gonna happen, oooh, all this bad stuff’s gonna happen, we don’t know all these chemicals and all this stuff, what’s gonna happen.” Let me tell you what’s gonna happen: nothing’s gonna happen (loud cheers).

But they will use this to raise money for radical environmental groups who then go out and continue to try to pervade their reign of environmental terror on the United States of America.  We will stand up for the truth. We will stand up for making sure that we drill and that we keep those energy prices low…

I quoted all that because it is important to keep in mind just how reactionary Santorum’s (as well as the rest of the Republican presidential field) views are on the environment, and because it reminded me of a book I read many years ago, while still an evangelical Christian.

The book, written by the late evangelical guru of the Religious Right, Francis Schaeffer (and he remains a guru as far as his stance on abortion is concerned), was titled, Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology.

Oddly, or maybe not so oddly given what evangelical Christianity has become, I never heard one sermon or one Sunday school lesson in my long evangelical life based on Schaeffer’s environmental views,
but I did hear a lot of talk about his anti-abortion views. And for good reason: his views on the environment would not pass orthodox muster in the man-has-dominion-over-the-earth, pro-business Republican, evangelical church today, as you will soon see.

But he did state the problem very concisely:

The simple fact is that if man is not able to solve his ecological problems, then man’s resources are going to die.

Schaeffer’s solution to those ecological problems began with what he considered a proper view of man’s status:

Man was given dominion over creation. This is true…but as a fallen creature he has used that dominion wrongly. Because he is fallen, he exploits created things as though they were nothing in themselves, and as though he has an autonomous right to them.

What has brought about the ugly destruction of the environment?” asks Schaeffer. “There is one reason: man’s greed.”  He continues:

It is always true that if you treat the land properly, you have to make two choices. The first is in the area of economics. It costs more money, at least at first, to treat the land well…

The second choice that is involved is that it usually takes longer to treat the land properly. These are the two factors that lead to the destruction of our environment: money and time — or to say it another way, greed and haste. The question is, or seems to be, are we going to have an immediate profit and an immediate saving of time, or are we going to do what we really should do as God’s children?

Now, it is impossible to imagine hearing Rick Santorum or any other contemporary conservative Republican talking like that. Nor is it possible to imagine them saying anything like the following, as Schaeffer pressed his point:

What we, the Christian community, have to do is to refuse men the right to ravish our land, just as we refuse them the right to ravish our women; to insist that somebody accepts a little less profit by not exploiting nature.

Compare that to what Santorum—the hope of evangelical America—said in Oklahoma City ten days or so ago:

We will stand up for the truth. We will stand up for making sure that we drill and that we keep those energy prices low…

Victim of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the surf at East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana.

[Photo taken by Charlie Riedel of the Associated Press]
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