I believe a vast majority of Americans are against ANWR drilling, or other environmentally questionable stances, because the vast majority of Americans are principally concerned with a decent quality of life for themselves and their community. And most of us consider environmental protection, even when it comes with a moderate economic cost, to be a critical quality of life issue for ourselves and our posterity and we are ready to make the sacrifices that are necessary.
However, there's a fringe element, a loud and well-moneyed media pundit and thinktank elite (those folks telling us what to do for our own good!) which have framed this as if there's much debate among most "Americans" regarding the importance of the environment. They suggest that "Americans" would never accept even slightly higher mileage requirements on their cars as an alternative to ANWR, as if "Americans" would never accept a technological shift with short term economic pains for a long term benefit, as if "Americans" would take to the streets in bloody revolt if their vehicles were required to get better mileage to counteract rising gas prices. I think this image of greedy insatiable Americans is a complete myth (ex: note how quickly and easily Californians practiced conservation measures when they needed to, or how those Texans organized a grassroots resistance when their water reservoir was about to be privatized; most of us recycle without worry, because we only needed to be educated before we did what we instinctively know to be "right") and this myth stems from an underlying contempt for "Americans" held by this generally rightward pundit elite, but that's beside the point. Personally, I believe that most of America generally is left-leaning on the environment, but the lack of outcry isn't because there's a "I can't stand higher gas prices!" demographic but more a "of course we're apathetic- as this latest vote suggests, there really isn't much we can do about things" resignation.posted by hincandenza at 2:24 AM on August 2, 2001
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