Making things right.
Over the past seven months or so this has become the new slogan, British Petroleum’s brand new bumper sticker they wish to slap on every American’s forehead who is paying attention to the Gulf. The CEO says it. The underlings say it. The television throws it at you every chance it gets. But what does that even mean? And who gets to define the terms? Is British Petroleum trying to make things right for residents of the Gulf Coast or for the bottom line of public perception?
If I were chosen to define such a phrase, it would mean to make things as they were before you dumped 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, and admittedly this would be impossible. Can’t be done. Some things you can’t take back and by that I would include the eleven men who died on the oil platform, the men and women so overwhelmed with losses from this spill they committed suicide, those we know about and those we don’t. You’d have to include all the dead wildlife, the whales, sea turtles, the pelicans and all other birds who succumbed and the millions of fish of all species, all dead. For these examples, you can’t make things right, not entirely. I don’t care how much money you throw at those left behind. You can’t reunite dissolved families who succumbed to the pressure of this spill. You can’t fix the marriages, reverse physical illnesses or newly discovered mental health diagnosis. You can throw some money at it, but these things can’t be made to be as they were before.
Okay, so if British Petroleum is sincere about what they say, if this promise isn’t simple PR posturing, then what can they make right?
The amount of homes foreclosed on as a result of lost wages – none.
The amount of bankruptcies filed by people and businesses – none.
How many people should have lost income as a result – none.
How much money should be contributed by taxpayers to recoup lost wetlands, coated with oil – none.
How much lost revenue should the five states of the Gulf Coast have to contend with as a result of lost tourism, lost taxes on failed businesses, lower state taxes due to reduced incomes – none.
How many Gulf Coast residents should have their electricity shut off – none.
How many people should have to worry about their car being repo’d – none.
All the people getting sick, how many of them should pay a dime for any medical expenses – none.
How many people should want for mental health services, down to the dollar for any co-pay for any prescription – none.
How many people should have to delay retirement as a result of their finances getting screwed – none.
How many people should have to worry about their own hunger and/or their children – none.
To me, fixing all this would be a good start to making things right.
To me, if this isn’t what British Petroleum is trying to do then that PR slogan of theirs is simply that, another hollow, empty slogan meant to put the country at ease and distract them from the reality of what is really going on in the Gulf of Mexico and with its people in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Making things right.
So far, that phrase is merely a set of horse blinders put on the 45 other states, the same states British Petroleum is assembling into a horse team, reigned in and pulling some media relations consultant’s empty car down the road to the closest BP gas station.
Have a nice day.