Friday, December 02, 2011

The Truth Is Liberal

"Everything is the opposite of what it seems."

If I go into a room of a hundred people and ask how many of them can give me an objective answer to a question, ninety-nine of those people will raise their hand. In other words, only one person answers me objectively. It's the people who claim objectivity who don't have it and the people who don't claim it who do. For there's no man so unreasonable as a man who decides himself always reasonable. The truth can never be found without an open mind.

Ideology - like politics - is religion by any other name. It's a belief about reality that is not bound to reality. That's why I call it idiotology - and we're knee deep in it here in Texas, especially in the rich, cloistered town of Southlake (named by Forbes in 2008 as the most affluent neighborhood in the country). Rednecks and money, a lethal combination.

But what happens if you stop drinking the kool-aid? What happens if you question the cult? Southlake resident Kim Davis found the answer to that when she decided to dig deeper into the city's plan to allow "frac drilling" for gas wells into the Barnett Shale deposit underneath their million dollar enclaves. At first she thought nothing of it, having already signed up herself.

It's a common tactic the drillers use to get homeowners to sign. "We're going to drill whether you sign or not so you might as well get some cash out of it." I've seen this happen first hand and it's about as cheesy and obvious as it sounds. Lucky for them they are dealing with unsophisticated rednecks. Money is rarely a sign of intelligence. Along with Tommy Lee Jones billboards exhorting everyone to "get behind" the Barnett Shale, the drillers run roughshod over most resistance.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the derrick, Kim and her husband came across the documentary Gasland which detailed the hazards of drilling, including the ability to set one's tap water on fire with a cigarette lighter. At first, this died-in-the-wool Republican refused to believe her lying eyes. "I thought it had to have some sort of liberal agenda," she claimed. Brainwashed much?

Then reality called - literally. Kim was informed that 1,200 feet from her house a 3 acre pad site was planned for 21 wellheads. Suddenly, her idiotology didn't mean so much to her since the part of her still connected to reality realized she could be blown sky high along with some serious health hazards to her air and water.

Who wouldn't want this 1,200 feet from their home?

"I read about Dish, Texas," she says, referring to the heavily drilled North Texas town that renamed itself for free satellite TV. The town's mayor fled because of health concerns he blamed on natural gas drilling. "And in Flower Mound [just north of Southlake] they have a cancer cluster, but no one could prove it was because of the gas companies. I read about kids, and they had drilling sites next to schools, and the kids were having nosebleeds when they practiced outside for band."

She also read a study commissioned by the City of Southlake to evaluate the potential danger posed by a battery of ethanol, gasoline and diesel tanks just a few hundred feet from the proposed pad site, where land would be graded and a layer of gravel would be laid down. Her heart sank when she saw a satellite photo of the proposed site: Her home was within one of the concentric rings of a dispersion model predicting the spread of combustible gas in the event of a blowout.

Soon, she was a part of the liberal agenda - the truth! As the justice of the universe dictates she became victim of her own vice. The shoe is on the other foot!

Now she was losing sleep, though it seemed for a time like she was the only one. She phoned a friend and wept. It was like nobody in Southlake knew what was going on, and if they did, they didn't seem to care. Or worse, she thought, they wanted the drilling.

"You find out that there are people whose kids your kids go to school with, and they're for it. There's just not enough information out there to decide if it's safe or not safe, so why would you take a chance with my family?" she says. "Whose child has to get sick?"

Mrs. Davis got a taste of being driven into the wilderness, of what it's like to be libeled "unreasonable" when being the voice of reason, and of direct threats to her well-being. Welcome to Liberal World, Kim! You're supposed to drink the kool-aid, not question what's in it! Only the truth can win, but we live in a world where the truth - and those who speak it - are demonized. Go ask Alice what that's like.

After writing an email detailing her concerns was forwarded around the community, "missives in support of drilling began piling up in her inbox." Later she received a phone call telling her she would "regret" her efforts to stop drilling. But she refused to deny her motherly instincts and lobbied the city council that children + gas wells is a bad combination and due restrictions need to be implemented.

In a backwards mirror reflection of Kim Davis we have Zena Rucker, a self-described environmentally conscious person. She recycles, she composts, has a solar array capable of powering her home, was a flower child protester during Vietnam and was Tarrant County Democratic chair for years. So which side is this octogenarian on? Why naturally she's for the drilling!

You cannot question me!

By sheer coincidence, Rucker is one of the largest landowners with 75 acres in very pricey Southlake. She has a lot to gain (in her mind) by drilling. But what does she end up saying? Garbage like, "[The companies] are making drilling as safe as they can make it," (Want to bet your life on it? Because you are!), and "They're very self-obsessed people [in Southlake]." (Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!)

See what happens when you close your eyes and declare yourself Jesus?

In the end, the city council placed such onerous restrictions on drilling that the drillers packed up their rigs and left in a huff, sending out a Machiavellian letter detailing their cruel victimization as they try to "lead the path toward U.S. energy independence." Such noble heroes! An endeavor so noble they won't even disclose the chemicals used in the fracking process.

So what do we have in the end? Everything the opposite of what it is! A mother campaigning against environmental disaster but not because she's (God forbid) an environmentalist. And a flower child fighting for the system. And a highly Republican city doing the environmentally correct thing - but only because they have the money to be able to. Such a confusing world!

But for her freedom fighting efforts, Kim Davis did come out ahead, realizing her true best interest is opening her mind:

"I used to get really angry when I'd listen to politics and I'd be like 'These liberals!'" she says. "And I always went into whatever it was from a political standpoint, whether it was the budget or tax cuts. I really looked at it in black and white, and now I'm looking at it all differently. I'm not so quick to judge something. I want to take time to research it."


Max Silver said...

Very nice post! And a wonderful story, as well.

Harry Homeless said...

Thanks, Max. The real answer to our problems is always going to be an open mind.

Tao1776 said...

Rick Perry. Now, there's an open mind!