Conservatives Afraid of the Dark?
June 26, 2001
by Carol Schiffler
article was originally published on the Citizens For Legitimate
Government website (http://www.legitgov.org),
and was reprinted here with their permission.
The June 21st Voluntary Rolling Blackout protest apparently
struck a real sore spot with our conservative brethren. For
reasons that are totally beyond me, the simple act of turning
off a light switch seemed to awaken some primal emotion, buried
deep in the hypothalamus, and resulting in some of the least
lucid hate mail we have seen to date. The most common right-wing
"Oh yeah? Well I am going to turn my lights on and fire
up all my appliances and drive around in my big, gas-guzzling
There are so many things wrong with that picture that it
is hard to know where to begin. Set aside, for a moment, the
puerile, penis-waving nature of this "threat." Set
that aside for a moment, although it is hard to ignore, and
ask yourself, "What kind of a whack job would spend three
hours on a sultry summer evening racing maniacally about the
house toasting bread, agitating clothes, and pureeing carrots
for the sole purpose of driving up their OWN electric bill?
Imagine living next door to this person. Imagine standing
in your driveway watching Bob, who always seemed so normal,
unloading an SUV full of bread.
"Er... that's a lot of bread, Bob."
"Yesiree, Tom. The wife and I are making toast tonight."
"What are you going to do with 4500 pieces of toast,
"I'm going to throw it away."
"Throw it away?"
"Well, duh! You don't think I can eat it all myself,
do you? Only a crazy person would eat 4500 pieces of toast!"
Now if I were Tom, I'd be going in the house to make a few
phone calls right about now - and the first one would be to
my realtor. But the bad craziness does not end there, folks.
Not by a long shot. The toys in the attic are just getting
warmed up. Compounding bizarre behavior with tortured logic,
the brethren feel compelled to explain that the reason they
are engaging in this peculiar solstice ritual is, "Because
I am a rich Republican and I can afford it."
I don't know about you, but when I have a little extra cash
to spend, I usually use it for something fun. I might take
the family to dinner, or go away for the weekend, or buy a
new widget for the house. But I am pretty sure that my husband
and I have never had a discussion about what to do with our
discretionary income that went like this:
"Hey honey, you know that bonus check I got last week?"
"Well, I was looking at last month's water bill and
it was only $75.00."
"Good God, sweetie pie! How did that happen? We must
turn on all our spigots at once! Junior, get in that bathroom
and start flushing! Daddy's got his bonus check!"
Yes, there are people out there who would beat their own
testicles with a rock before turning off a single light switch,
and it is really difficult to compose a rational response
to someone who informs you that, while you are sitting around
the campfire with your friends, s/he will be heating up an
empty oven and standing in the front yard with a running chain
saw in one hand and an electric-powered Weed Whacker in the
other. (Who needs friends when you have Black and Decker -
go figure.) And it is damn near impossible to explain renewable
energy sources to someone who states that, "All energy
sources are renewable. If you burn down trees, they grow back,
I don't expect the concept of geologic time means much to
a person like that, (a gut-feeling that was later reinforced
by this particular writer's offer to prove this to us "after
we annex Canada," by napalming a small section of Canadian
woodlands with an F-4 phantom jet).
At least half the mail advised us to stop blaming Bush for
the energy crisis, and to start blaming Clinton instead. These
are probably the same people who believe we should continue
trying to impeach someone who is no longer in office. Besides,
I do not recall anyone in the Clinton administration asserting,
as Dick Cheney did, that Americans should not be asked to
conserve energy as it infringed upon their lifestyle.
No, the Rolling Blackout was not an action looking for a
scapegoat. But how do you explain that to a group of people
who have made scape-goating a way of life for the last eight
years? It would be absurd to go back in time looking for the
guy who caused the energy crisis. How long have people been
polluting? How long have they been wasting the earth's natural
resources and when did they first start stripping the earth
for profits? How long have alternative technologies been ignored
by people who had the power to implement them? When was the
first missed opportunity to set things right and who was the
first person to miss it? Who knows?
What we DO know, and what should be blatantly obvious based
solely upon Cheney's view of conservation, is that this administration
will not favor any solution that does not, in turn, favor
Big Oil. After all, if we as a nation decide to conserve energy,
Dick's boys lose money. Every dime you save on your power
bill is a dime you have and they don't. And developing new
technology costs money.
Could Dick and Dubya promote legislation to offer tax incentives
to corporations for implementation of solar power plants and
wind farms? Yes. Will they do it? No. Why? Because they plan
on cutting corporate taxes anyway. If their cronies are able
to stick with the old technology, they stand to profit more
than if they have to spend some of their windfall on developing
The energy crisis is most certainly more complex than you
or I, as outsiders, know. However the Bush administration's
blind refusal to discuss renewable energy sources and conservation
reflects an unacceptably short-sighted attitude toward a long-term
problem that will affect generations yet to come. This was
the message contained in our Voluntary Rolling Blackout. Unfortunately,
our new conservative pen friends - just what exactly is it
that they conserve anyway? - were too busy turning on light
switches and writing hate mail to think about the challenges
their children and their grandchildren might face when the
oil well runs dry.
As for the mail itself, the winner of the Psychotic Drivel
of the Week award goes to K.H., who hails from parts unknown.
"DEAR SIRS, YOU ARE SICK PEOPLE! I WOULD BE SORRY FOR
YOU IF YOU WEREN'T SO FRIGHTENING. BE SURE, WE WILL BE WATCHING
YOU, TO KEEP YOU FROM INFECTING OTHERS."
I am holding a flashlight under my chin as I respond:
"Dear K.H., How ever will you see us when we turn out