BP Oil Spill: The Nightmare Becomes Reality
A friend walked out on
He e-mailed the picture to me with a note that said it all: "Sickening."
In a calamity lasting so long and unfolding so inexorably, emotions swing from anger to sadness to grim acceptance. There's simply nothing to do except struggle to clean up the mess -- as Pensacolans quickly did -- and pray for the day when it's over.
The polls say most Americans, although not all, are outraged by the oil spill. Those untouched by the disaster may, if they choose, keep a distance.
Along the Gulf shores, workers are scooping up dead dolphins and trucking them off for necropsies. The pictures aren't easy to stomach, and the impulse is to look away.
It might be difficult for someone who was born and raised far from a beach or a bayou to visualize a place they cherish being poisoned and defaced on such a massive scale.
Or maybe not so difficult. Imagine if 120 million gallons of crude oil were flushed into the
Now you begin to get the picture -- the heartbreak, the helplessness.
Barton is a Republican congressman whose district in
Talk about misplaced sympathy.
Being clueless is one thing. To showcase such an obscene insensitivity to suffering is something else.
With the encroaching oil slick comes a mugging for all whose livelihood depends on the robust health of the Gulf. Hotels stand nearly empty, shop and restaurant workers are being laid off, and fishing boats sit idle at the docks.
The folks staring out at a befouled horizon have mortgages, car payments, medical bills and kids who need clothes for school. Their lives are upended, and might never be the same.
Marine experts say it will take many years for the gulf waters to heal, long after the tar balls and glop are cleaned off the beaches. A spill so deep and so torrential has no precedent, so no model exists to tell us what happens next.
For the millions of Americans who live on or near the ocean, from Kennebunkport to
Interestingly, those who denounce Obama's "shakedown" of BP use no such criminal terms for what the oil company has done to the coastal communities of
Assault would be the word for it. Negligence would be the cause.
Once the oil arrives and the nightmare becomes reality, those who must deal with the stink and the slop are moving past the questions that preoccupy cable news and radio talk shows.
No deep, dark mystery remains.
The rig blew up because somebody made a terrible mistake, period. The well is still gushing and will keep gushing until August, at the earliest.
Exactly how many barrels a day is now an academic debate; the volume remains so immense that it's virtually impossible to comprehend, a number that fluctuates from one press release to another.
Just get the damn leak plugged. That's what matters.
Meanwhile, the tropics are heating up. Who knows how many storms will rip across the Gulf, or how far they'll spread the oil.
Sickening is a better word.
You shouldn't have to be there to feel it.
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BP Oil Spill: The Nightmare Becomes Reality | Politics
(c) 2010 Carl Hiaasen