My aunt, a former “Raging Granny,” turns 100 on September 11. The Raging Grannies, a Canadian group, have raged – in songs and floral hats – for 21 years against nuclear weapons, for peace and about a host of other issues. I think it is likely that “rage” is what has kept my aunt Lorna going this long. Heeding the words of Dylan Thomas, she is indeed raging against the dying of the light.
An acquaintance, on hearing about this significant personal milestone, suggested that the Canadian prime minister should pay Lorna a birthday visit. I thrilled at the thought of the reception Stephen Harper would get if he dared to show up. He would be sent packing, loudly and in no uncertain terms.
Perhaps that is what some - likely most – of our political leaders need, and lack; a stern verbal spanking from a 100-year old angry granny. Rage would be good for them, just as it has been good for my aunt.
This might lead one to conclude that the embarrassment of the McCain-Palin ticket is good for one’s health. It’s hard to think of much that can inspire more rage than the prospect of these two lesser mortals taking the reins (or should that be reigns?) of this country. I just spent two weeks creeping around France pretending not to be an American – although the French I met sought equal anonymity given that “Napoleon Sarko” is their anointed leader currently. But a McCain-Palin administration could make W look, dare one say it, reasonable? Well, maybe not. But we have to rage now, or in 2009 we may not be able to hold our heads up in Europe at all. Of course flying to Europe may have become so prohibitively expensive by 2009 that it won’t matter which administration we get.
It would be nice to say that Obama is bad for our health because he give us nothing to rage against. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Whenever the Democratic candidate insists on “harnessing nuclear energy safely,” “clean coal” and other oxymorons, those of us with chronically low blood pressure start to feel alive and the raging begins all over again. Is this really it? The change we have been waiting for? Say it ain’t so, O.
Both candidates profess to be committed to dealing with our climate crisis – although you kinda wonder how serious McCain really is now that he’s picked a climate denier to take his place at the helm should be become temporarily or permanently “indisposed.” Actually, it’s kinda obvious that McCain’s only interest in climate change is to line the pockets of his corporate friends – he has a lot of “friends” as every speech he makes reminds us. Plus, given that the population explosion is arguably as important a factor to address as greenhouse gas emissions, choosing a right-to-lifer running mate further undermines his climate credibility.
Either way, neither candidate has advanced a coherent energy policy that makes any sense. You cannot be for renewable energy and then castrate any meaningful chance it has to make a contribution to saving the planet by including coal, nuclear, oil and gas, as Obama has. Constructing 45-100 new nuclear reactors in the U.S. as McCain advocates is such financial pie-in-the-sky that it would be laughable – until the Palin pick, which left every other McCain decision in the dust in the Laughability Stakes.
So here we are, less than two months shy of the Big Decision and there’s little to do but get angry at the almost indistinguishable campaigns we’re forced to pick between. But then again, anger is good for our health, and our longevity.
Happy birthday, Lorna!
Note: This column, as always, is written in my personal capacity only.