Where are all the “Save the Gulf” concerts? Where are the TV benefits with celebrities and musicians giving heartfelt speeches on the poor fisherman, wildlife, beaches, loss of income and sabotaged gulf economy? Why hasn’t Kanye West made an excited utterance claiming that President Obama doesn’t care about the gulf people? I find it rather strange that these people, sans Larry King, and our own government are quick to help Haiti and other countries, but sit on their butts for this one.
What’s that you say? “More than 200,000 people were killed, over 300,000 injured and 1.5 million are still homeless in Haiti. Yes, the oil spill is terrible, but comparing it to a disaster where human life was lost is disrespectful of the dead and suffering.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely sensitive to loss of life and know that pain intimately. However, the bottom line is that our duty as American citizens is to help Americans who are living and who are less fortunate. The BP oil spill’s effect on our environment has an immediate impact on the lives of the living. U.S. resources must be deployed in a way that not only sustains life, but also revives the environment and its people in a way that is consistent with the general American expectations of prosperity – the right to pursue it.
It is appalling that many of us are compelled to do nothing and, furthermore, there are some who remain clueless that an oil spill even exists. A catastrophe of this magnitude on American soil will have not only economic effects, but also sociological and ecological effects that are so far reaching, they cannot yet be quantified! A lackluster response from our government is to arguably deny citizens their right to pursue life and liberty.
To put this into context, as a country, we believe that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. SOUND FAMILIAR? These phrases are derived from the Declaration of Independence. Furthermore, the fundamental belief to American life was incorporated into the Bill of Rights via the 5th Amendment – no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Basically, the less than adequate responses from both the federal and state governments are synonymous with denying our AMERICAN citizens their basic constitutional rights! Whether the crisis is an outcome of BP’s carelessness or an act of God like Hurricane Katrina, the government has a responsibility to its citizens.
Bradford Anderson, a law lecturer for Graduate Business Programs at the Orfalea College of Business at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, describes the situation best: “In the end, I envision that BP and the other entities responsible in the Gulf oil spill will pay for some of the cleanup costs and human damages. Meanwhile, natural habitats and harmed animals will recover little, because our legal system fails to adequately address long-term environmental injury. And all the money in the world cannot recreate a lost animal species.”
It’s sad that more of our citizens don’t see this issue as large as a natural disaster when the spill affects Americans on American soil and the effects will be much more devastating in the long run. Charity begins at home.