April 1, 2009

Ashamed of my Congressman again

I wish this was an April fools joke. John Shimkus' ignorant statements about global warming have been making the rounds online for a while but I just read about it today. I've long seen Shimkus as a corporate stooge who well represents his top supporters in the coal, utility, oil, and telecommunications industries, so I'm a little surprised that he used the Bible to justify his servitude to mammon.

Shimkus made the spectacularly Orwellian claim that taking man-made CO2 out of the atmosphere might harm the environment because it's "plant food." If Shimkus takes a break from giving presentations on behalf of the coal industry, he could read about air quality at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

He might learn that the coal plants he defends are the primary source of several pollutants that damage trees and other plant life in the park. He should also read this report about the effects global warming will have on plant life and ecosystems in National Parks.

If Shimkus wants a theological debate about global warming there are some things I'd like him to explain. It amazes me that he quotes the Bible to justify the reckless destruction of God's creation in search of short-term profits. If Shimkus believes that God created the earth for the benefit of mankind then he should also be concerned that, when judgment day comes, he may be asked whether he treated that creation with the reverence and respect it deserves.

Politically, he supports policies that allow the most destructive abuses of creation in ways that are harmful to human health and the natural environment. How can anyone believe that mountain top removal, to use one example, shows proper reverence for God's creation?

How can someone who believes the earth was created to benefit mankind support policies that make more parts of the planet unsuitable for supporting human life? Isn't that a blasphemous rejection of the Creator's gift?

The state legislators who drew the heavily Republican incumbent-protection district Shimkus occupies need to realize the damage they've done. Most Democrats I know stopped writing Shimkus long ago because they don't believe he listens. No matter how many times we're embarrassed by him (whether it's comparing the war in Iraq to a baseball game or hiding the Foley page scandal from ethics committee Democrats) it's nearly impossible for voters to be rid of this disgraced Congressman.

Please, members of the Illinois General Assembly, don't do this to us again! Draw a more balanced district where Democrats at least have a chance when the Republican Party forces an ideologically extreme, bitterly partisan zealot down our throats.