“Drill Baby Drill” Isn’t that what you said? I remember the chill that ran up my spine the first time I heard it. Then came the chanting. Louder…Louder…Frightening. I couldn’t imagine that anything more painful would ever fall on my ears. I was wrong.
Today I would give anything to hear your battle cry because your ear-splitting directive has been muffled to an inaudible hum by something far louder, far more painful to hear. Today the chants from your chorus of oil-hungry followers has been replaced a thousand times over by the cries and sobs of my neighbors in mourning. Sobbing. Weeping. Gasping for breath. The sounds of hearts breaking, of lives shattering. Deafening.
I was sitting in a hotel room on a business trip when I heard the first cry. A faint hint at what was to come. A passing news story, or so I thought. An explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf. 11 dead. How terrible. Those poor people. Their poor families.
In the days and weeks to follow the cries got louder and more desperate with each passing day, with each update, with each revelation, with each failed attempt at controlling the hemorrhaging. And today I sit weeping with my neighbors. Inconsolable.
We all see the stories and I can’t imagine anyone denying this to be a terrible tragedy, but let me tell you what it feels like. As a Gulf Coast native, it’s like standing in the street in front of your childhood home and helplessly watching it burn to the ground. All of your favorite memories diminished to ashes.
Only it’s not just my home that’s burning. It’s my family’s home, my friend’s homes. My co-workers and neighbors. It’s the homes of every person I ever went to school with, or went to church with, or stood behind in line at the grocery store, or sat next to at a traffic light on my way to work…or on my way to the beach.
All these people stand with me, hand-in-hand, stretched from our sugar-white shores of Florida, to the wildlife-rich marshes of Louisiana, and beyond. Our weeping has long-since drowned out your chanting. And you’re still chanting. Despite our pleading and praying, you are still chanting.
We are the ones you have referred to as “Extreme Greenies” in your self-righteous postings and sound bites. Well, forgive us for knowing a bad thing when we saw it. Forgive us for not believing you in 2008 when you condescendingly told Joe Biden that off-shore drilling was safe and “environmentally friendly.” Forgive us for getting a little angry when still today we hear you defend and promote the very thing that has stripped us of our homes, our livelihoods, our beautiful,
defenseless wildlife. Forgive us if we don’t enjoy watching Mother Earth being raped…and then spit on as she writhes in pain. Forgive us if we never want to see this happen again. Not in our backyard. Not in anyone’s backyard. Not even in yours.
Do you remember the sense of pride that came over you as the convention center roared with the voices of thousands chanting? Drill, Drill, Drill. Do you remember the smiles and the fists pumping? Drill, Drill, Drill. Do you remember the ringing in your ears and the chanting so loud you could feel it in your chest? I’m sure you remember it like it was yesterday. I know I do. My neighbors do too.
I remembered it when my niece sadly returned from the beach last week. I remembered your chant, because at 3 years old she knew that was her last trip to the beach before the oil hit. No 3-year-old should understand that. I remember it with every gust of wind that stings my nose. I remember it with every news story. Every picture of our dead and dying fish. Our suffocating pelicans. Every second of live footage from the Gulf floor of our Earth bleeding.
Don’t chant to me. Don’t chant to my neighbors. We’re busy trying to heal the brokenness inside of us. We’re busy starting over, cleaning up the mess and picking up the pieces. Don’t you dare chant to us.