The final push to drill the Arctic Refuge has a curious resemblance to America's politics of 100 years ago, only in reverse.
Under President Theodore Roosevelt, America was coming out of the Gilded Age. Given its name by Mark Twain, the Gilded Age was the opulent, corrupt era of the late 19th century in which corporate moguls ruled the country.
The trust-busting Roosevelt inaugurated a progressive era.
He created our national forest system and designated national monuments in the Grand Canyon and Olympic Mountains. He protected the vast estuary of Alaska's Copper River Delta from exploitation by greedy coal barons.
America today is entering a new Gilded Age. The Arctic Refuge and the American public have this in common: Both are about to get drilled.
"The Arctic has a call that is compelling ... it is a call to adventure. This is not a place to possess like the plateaus of Wyoming or the valleys of Arizona. It is one to behold with wonderment.
"It is a domain for any restless soul who yearns to discover the startling beauties of creation in a place of quiet and solitude where life exists without molestation by man."
Given this administration's propensity for turning back the clock and returning to the heyday of the Robber Barons, I think the comparison is apt, and chilling. These people don't give a rat's ass for the majesty and grandeur of Alaska, much less the romantic symbolism of the Arctic or the future of its critters and environment. They just want to put it in their pocket.
There may not be all that much oil there anyway, and what they find will probably be exported to Asia anyway, because that's easier than getting it to the lower 48. So why are they doing it? There are lots better options, such as working to promote lessening our dependence on oil for motor fuel.
To show us pissants they can pass any law they want and the Hell with the rest of us, that's why. And also because they are so short-sighted that they think the only approach to a complex problem is a brute-force solution, just like Iraq.
Just like Iraq, they're dead wrong.