On our last trip to the beach, I began contemplating a question posed to me by one of my friends. She asked why so many people believe what is said on FOX News and other Right wing supported stations despite contradictory facts. With my eyes on my children and my stress slowly slipping away, I discovered the answer: It is because they offer a warm place in the sand for people to relax and simply forget the troubles of the day.
You see, the Right offers the American population a perspective that is deeply rooted in security and Sweet Tea. They claim there is no global warming, no climate change. They offer us solutions to multi-racial stress by proposing a simple wall. They condemn our President for wanting change based on the idea that he is not an American and doesn't truly appreciate "Our" way. They dismiss the destructive nature of corporate waste and tell us the life that we have all become comfortable in will remain as is. Further, they tell us the oil is gone, the food supply is safe and we have nothing to worry about other than a Marxist, Muslim, Non-American we call the President. Many in this Country who are facing the fears of the economic downturn, Muslim extremists threatening the world or recognition that we are doing irreparable damage to the environment can turn it on and tune out. Reality is much different than what is portrayed by FOX, however. Case in point: The Gulf Oil Hemorrhage of 2010.
While Millions of gallons of crude oil were venting from a ruptured reservoir pierced in an effort to lay claim to a black gold mine, the Right began to blame "extreme greenies" for making BP drill that far out at sea. The argument was based on restrictions for drilling in protected marshes and other wildlife areas put in place due to pressure from environmental groups. What FOX has not reported is the number of tax incentives and subsidies given to the oil companies to drill deep water.
In 2003, the Bush Administration offered incentives to Oil Companies to explore deep water reserves in an effort to increase our stockpiles to prepare for the impending oil peak outcome. The M.M.S. released a report on the subject calling for deep water drilling to be enhanced. In a 2004report -- titled Deep Water: Where the Energy Is -- the MMS stated that "our best source of new domestic energy resources lies in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and other frontier areas." MMS reported that due to "declining production" in "near-shore, shallow waters" in the Gulf of Mexico, "energy companies have focused their attention on oil and gas resources in water depths of 1,000 feet and beyond." MMS estimated that "the deep water regions of the Gulf of Mexico may contain 56 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or enough to meet U.S. demand for 7-1/2 years at current rates."
The U. S. Energy Bill of 2002 had allocated significant resources to fund innovative industry, academic, and national laboratory research initiatives to develop the new technologies necessary to explore and produce these new ultra-deepwater reserves economically.
The Oil issue has been complemented and even enhanced by the non-global warming deceit fore fronted by FOX. The American people eat this stuff up because they don't want to know they are adding to the devastation. They don't want to give up the SUV, the big house, the gluttony. FOX allows them feel there is no threat. The bad news about the environment is attributed to the Extremists and quickly discounted. "There is no global warming so please, continue to live your life as usual", is the message here.
Ron Paul summarizes the Right's direction on the matter: "While the human right to produce and use energy does not extend to activities that actually endanger the climate of the Earth upon which we all depend, bogus claims about climate dangers should not be used as a justification to further limit the American people's freedom." (Campaign for Liberty; June 5, 2009)
I find this bipolar approach to current events quite disturbing. On one side we have the facts while on the other we have FOX and their agenda. I understand there are times when the kids, the job, the bills, economic insecurity and personal trials can become overwhelming but ignoring the problem does not make it go away. Piling our negative contribution to environmental damage onto the pressures of an already stressful life can easily become the straw that breaks the mental camel's back. Occasionally we all have to take a break from these things so as not to overload.
Many people in this society are already at a breaking point. The added knowledge of global damage and the implications of lifestyle changes to correct it can push them off the edge. Self-preservation is an interesting phenomenon where facts are easily dismissed when given the option of believing a dream and surviving. An escape to the beach is good from time to time but, eventually, you have to go home.
Sometimes, as I sit in the sand experiencing my own personal warm place, I see the world reflected in the water and feel that there is too much going on that is bad in it. I have developed my own defense mechanisms to combat the reality of it all but it doesn't involve self-imposed delusion propagated by an irresponsible media source. It involves action and activism as well as contributions that could make a difference.
The secret, as I have found it, to the success of FOX news is their ability to give some a particular type of defense mechanism. It involves a cozy little place where facts are fiction and fantasy is just what the doctor ordered. Stations like FOX and other republican conservative, tea party delusionists offer all a nice warm place in the sand to forget the day. Unfortunately, it is one where the head is completely covered.